Max, six relievers combine to blank Phillies

August 11th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- The Dodgers’ bullpen probably didn’t expect to have a busy night with on the mound, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

A one-hour, 44-minute rain delay disrupted the pitchers’ duel that was developing between Scherzer and Aaron Nola, but the Dodgers’ bullpen did the job that the Phillies’ unit could not, leading Los Angeles to a 5-0 win Tuesday in the first of three games at Citizens Bank Park.

Scherzer and Nola were locked in a scoreless game in the fourth inning when the skies opened up. Neither starter returned after the delay, turning the night into a battle of the bullpens.

“Both teams had to deal with having a good starter come out early,” Trea Turner said. “They both were dealing and kind of having their way with the lineup.”

Scherzer allowed three hits and struck out six over 3 1/3 innings.

“I thought it was good while it lasted,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It was going to be a fun one as far as seeing what Max had, what he was bringing, what Nola was bringing. It was going to be a pitchers’ duel; the pace was good. After that rain delay, both managers, we felt that obviously you’re not going to run your starter back out there to put them in harm's way.”

A group of six Dodgers relievers -- including some fresh faces that even Roberts didn’t know much about -- combined to throw 5 2/3 scoreless innings, mowing down a Phillies team that had won eight straight games.

, , Justin Bruihl, , and held the Phillies to just three hits, backing up Scherzer after the delay. The Dodgers' staff registered 15 strikeouts, including nine from the bullpen.

Bruihl was making his second career big league appearance, while Greene was making his Dodgers debut after being claimed off waivers from the Orioles on Monday.

Even Roberts admitted that he wasn’t all that familiar with his entire bullpen, though he added, “The most important thing is I do know them now.”

“When a guy like Max or Walker [Buehler] or Clayton [Kershaw] or somebody like that -- or even their guy [Nola] -- takes the mound, you expect those guys to go deep,” Roberts said. “It’s almost like the front of the bullpen gets the night off. But obviously with the weather, guys were forced into duty and it was good to see them step up. A lot of these guys haven't had the repetitions at this high level -- the hot box of a pennant race. They're jumping in with both feet and they're responding really well.”

Even as the Dodgers got Knebel back from the injured list Tuesday, Joe Kelly landed on the IL with an undisclosed injury, continuing the bullpen merry-go-round.

“I'm still kind of learning these guys,” Roberts said. “I'm happy to have them; they've been great for us. … With what we're going through, it's just crazy. Talking about the guys that are on the injured list on our roster, it's crazy. But it creates opportunities for guys, and guys are stepping up.”

Corey Seager accounted for the game’s first run with a solo home run off JD Hammer to lead off the fifth. The Dodgers scored three times in the sixth, with two of those runs coming home on AJ Pollock’s single against Enyel De Los Santos, who had taken over for Matt Moore with runners at second and third and one out.

Max Muncy put the exclamation point on the win with his team-high 23rd home run of the season, a solo blast into the second deck in right field in the ninth.

“When we got to the bullpen, we just didn't miss our pitches. Corey got us going with that homer and we just kept rolling from there,” Turner said. “It came down to bullpen matchups and who can get some runs against the bullpen. We had good at-bats after the rain delay and that was the difference.”