Machado mashes 2 of Dodgers' 5 HRs in rout
Buehler strikes out 8 over 6 strong innings in Seattle opener
SEATTLE -- Manager Dave Roberts spoke last weekend with Manny Machado and Justin Turner about switching spots in the batting order in hopes it would ignite the Dodgers' offense into something like Friday night.
Machado slugged two of the Dodgers' five home runs in a drama-free 11-1 blowout win over the Mariners, with rookie starter Walker Buehler striking out eight in six innings and the bullpen doing nothing wrong.
In addition to Machado's two shots, Matt Kemp launched his 200th home run as a Dodger and Yasmani Grandal and Player Page for Max Muncy homered as well. Relievers Dylan Floro and Zachary Rosscup mopped up the final three innings scoreless.
Machado, now batting third, said having a hitter like Turner batting second, working deep into counts and getting on base increases chances a pitcher will make a mistake to him. Turner, with two hits in this game, has an 11-game hitting streak during which he's hit .432.
"And if a pitcher makes a mistake, I'll do some damage," said Machado, who had only two Dodgers home runs and seven RBIs in the previous 26 games after his 24 first-half home runs made him the All-Star shortstop before the 5-for-1 trade from Baltimore.
"Since I got here I've told Doc, whatever you need me to do," Machado said. "Finally, I just locked myself in to what got me here. When you have J.T. hitting in front of you, he's a guy that's going to see pitches, get on base, drive the ball. It makes it a lot easier for me to go up there and do what I need."
While with Baltimore, mostly batting third, Machado hit .315 with a .963 OPS. With the Dodgers entering play Friday night, Machado was hitting .275 with a .774 OPS. This was the 20th multi-homer game of his career. In four games since moving to third in the order, Machado is 6-for-16 with two homers and a double.
With Machado leading the way, the Dodgers' offense battered Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc, and there's nothing unique about that. He is 1-8 against the Dodgers, even though he hadn't started against them since 2012. Roberts was the San Diego bench coach when LeBlanc pitched for the Padres, so the scouting report had that going for it.
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Grandal gave the Dodgers a first run by leading off the third inning with his 21st home run, only the second off a left-handed pitcher. Buehler pitched around second baseman James Dozier's two-base error on a dropped popup and a pair of walks in the bottom of the third.
Machado copied Grandal by leading off the fourth with his third home run as a Dodger and 27th of the season, and Muncy made it a 4-0 lead two outs later with a two-run homer, his 27th. The Dodgers chased LeBlanc in the fifth on hot-hitting Cody Bellinger's RBI single, and scored again when right fielder Mitch Haniger dropped Kemp's fly ball in the corner for a two-base error that also made possible Enrique Hernandez's sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers turned it into a rout in the seventh inning with two-run homers by Machado and Kemp, who was in a 5-for-67 slump but went 2-for-4.
Buehler (6-4) was almost as dominating as his previous start (seven scoreless innings in Colorado). The only run allowed was a fourth-inning homer by Ryon Healy, one of three hits. Buehler retired the next nine batters. The eight strikeouts tied a career high.
"He's good," said Robinson Cano, who went 0-for-3 with a walk in his third game back from his 80-game suspension. "They've got a good, young arm over there. He throws hard. You face some guys that throw 98, but you see it really good. But his fastball gets to you and everything is hard, the breaking ball, the slider or cutter. He's got a bright future ahead."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Dozier tried to catch Haniger's one-out popup on the run in the third inning and dropped it for a two-base error. Buehler then walked Cano and Nelson Cruz to load the bases. On a 2-0 pitch, Denard Span bounced to first baseman Muncy, whose throw home on a bounce was dug by Grandal to force out Haniger before Kyle Seager flied out to center to end the threat.
The Dodgers lead the National League with 171 home runs. They've hit at least five homers in six games this season and are the first team to hit five home runs at Seattle since the Angels on Sept. 3, 2016.
HE SAID IT
"It felt longer." -- Kemp, on his first homer since July 22.
Rich Hill opposes Erasmo Ramirez and the Mariners in Saturday's 7:10 p.m. start at Safeco Field. Hill has enjoyed nothing but success against Seattle, going 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 11 games (four starts), including eight scoreless innings the last time he faced the Mariners in 2016 while with Oakland.