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Dodgers romp to back Buehler to victory

Pederson, Utley tally four hits each; Taylor homers in doubleheader opener
MLB.com @kengurnick

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers scored early and often in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, pulling away from the Giants for a 15-6 rout and the first MLB victory as a starter for top prospect Walker Buehler.

"It was a great day offensively," said manager Dave Roberts. "Up and down the lineup you see the at-bats, using the big part of the field and taking walks."

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers scored early and often in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, pulling away from the Giants for a 15-6 rout and the first MLB victory as a starter for top prospect Walker Buehler.

"It was a great day offensively," said manager Dave Roberts. "Up and down the lineup you see the at-bats, using the big part of the field and taking walks."

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Buehler was added for the game as the 26th man allowed for a doubleheader. Roberts later said Buehler would be optioned back to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and not Triple-A Oklahoma City, meaning he'll be back in the big leagues sooner than later.

Dodgers batters gave Giants pitching a beating, scoring multiple runs in each of the first three innings. They finished with 20 hits, nine for extra bases. They took six walks and had three batters hit by pitches.

Chase Utley had three doubles and a single, Chris Taylor homered with two singles, Joc Pederson had his first four-hit game with four RBIs and Cody Bellinger had three hits and three RBIs. The first five batters in the order had multiple hits and multiple RBIs.

Video: LAD@SF: Pederson plates 4 in 1st MLB 4-hit game

One area of concern for the Dodgers, however, was the exit of outfielder Yasiel Puig with left hip soreness shortly after he made a spectacular catch and plowed into a wall in the right-field corner. Puig also fouled a pitch off his left ankle and suffered a contusion; X-rays were negative.

Matt Kemp wasn't in the starting lineup after experiencing left quad tightness Friday night, so starting first baseman Cody Bellinger played the last seven innings in right field. Kemp singled as a pinch-hitter.

Giants starting pitcher Chris Stratton walked the first two batters, four in a 45-pitch first inning and retired only four of the 14 batters he faced. Buehler, making his second start for the Dodgers, had his first-inning issues, too, allowing two runs and throwing 34 pitches.

Unlike Stratton, Buehler regrouped and got through five innings to qualify for the win, not allowing a runner past first base after the initial inning. He struck out six with one walk.

"That was a big five innings for us to eat up, considering the first inning," Roberts said.

Video: LAD@SF: Roberts on big offensive day, Puig's injury

Repeating a trend from his first start against Miami, Buehler's best velocity was recorded in the first inning, when he also lacked command. His peak speed in the 34-pitch first inning, when the Giants scored twice, was 97.7 mph. Peak velocity during four scoreless innings that followed was 95.9 mph.

"You start trying to beat guys with location instead of velocity," Buehler said. "You find your release point. The first inning I was kind of all over. After that I located better. I wasn't throwing a hundred but I wasn't throwing soft. You kind of teeter that line of putting it where you want and trying to get the most out of your arm."

Video: LAD@SF: Buehler strikes out 6 to notch first MLB win

Buehler came to bat (striking out) in the top of the first inning before he took the field to pitch the bottom of the first inning.

"This team, when we score, we score in bunches," he said. "Makes it a little easier."

And Buehler said he noticed the intensity of rivalry from Giants fans, even in a blowout.

"We're up seven and there's a 'Beat L.A.' chant going on, you know what I mean?" he said "It's a real thing. It's fun to be a part of."

SOUND SMART
The Dodgers had season highs in runs, hits and extra-base hits. They went 12-for-27 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13. Utley raised his average 50 points from .277 to .327 and Pederson went from .229 to .283.

Video: LAD@SF: Utley knocks in 2 in 4-hit game vs. Giants

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Despite the one-sided outcome, Puig's spectacular and painful running catch of Nick Hundley's foul drive in the corner to end the bottom of the first inning might have changed the game. The Giants had runners on the corners and it came on Buehler's 34th pitch with a 3-2 Dodgers lead.

Video: LAD@SF: Puig makes superb catch, crashes into wall

HE SAID IT
"Like Pablo, like the arm stroke. Good secondary. Sometimes it's amazing how certain people can make the game look so easy. It was a big inning for them. They needed him. It's a crazy game. I was thinking [Austin] Slater, but Pablo was the right choice. Touching 88." -- Roberts, on Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval's relief outing

Video: Must C Curious: Sandoval tosses perfect 9th inning

UP NEXT
In the second game of the doubleheader, Alex Wood seeks his first victory of the season, even though he has held opponents to a .204 batting average and has a 0.83 WHIP, fifth lowest in the league.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, Chase Utley