Gonsolin flirts with no-no, LA streak hits 11

Righty loses bid in 7th, but his 14th victory ties Atlanta's Kyle Wright for NL lead

August 13th, 2022

KANSAS CITY -- For the past month, Tony Gonsolin has not looked like the pitcher he was for the first half of the season. On Friday night, the right-hander flashed his dominant stuff for a second straight outing.

Gonsolin flirted with both a perfect game and a no-hitter, which was broken up with one out in the seventh inning, as he led the Dodgers to a season-high 11th straight win in an 8-3 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

“It was pretty solid and I felt like I was throwing a lot of strikes,” said Gonsolin (14-1), who matched Atlanta’s Kyle Wright with a National League-best 14th win. “They were swinging a lot which helped keep my pitch count down and made some good pitches early to get some soft contact.”

Gonsolin’s perfect game ended in the sixth inning after he walked Kyle Isbel, allowing the Royals' first baserunner of the game on a 3-2 splitter that was low in the zone. It was in the next inning with one out when Vinnie Pasquantino lined a single into right field for Kansas City's first hit.

Then came the lone blemish on Gonsolin’s line when Michael A. Taylor hit a double to score Pasquantino. Gonsolin exited with a 5-1 lead after walking the next batter.

Gonsolin went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and three walks to go with three strikeouts. It was his most efficient start in over a month -- throwing 85 pitches (56 strikes) as he didn’t allow a homer for a second straight start.

Manager Dave Roberts said he thought Gonsolin hit a wall and that’s why he was lifted in the seventh inning, but he felt good up to that point.

“Not really, I walked a guy and mechanically got a little off going into the stretch. But overall a little bit funky there and took me a second to get back into it,” Gonsolin said.

After yielding 15 runs across five starts in July, Gonsolin said he feels like he’s getting back to throwing his stuff again. In his past two starts, he’s allowed just one run over 11 2/3 innings.

“I put together two good outings in a row now,” he said. “I need to keep it going, one outing at a time, and today was pretty good.”

As Gonsolin was dealing, the Dodgers’ offense couldn’t get much going. But it’s hard to keep the hottest team in baseball down for too long.

With the bases loaded in the seventh, Trea Turner hit a two-run single, which was followed by Freddie Freeman’s double that scored Mookie Betts for a 3-0 lead. Two batters later, Turner scored on a wild pitch, and then Justin Turner plated Freeman on a sac fly.

“It was nice to come through with that hit and get the job done,” Trea Turner said. “I just tried to keep it simple and get a hit.”

Trayce Thompson blew the game open in the eighth with a three-run homer to dead center field for an 8-1 lead.

“Mentally just not trying to do too much and just get the ball squared up,” Thompson said. “Not trying to hit it too hard and trust that all the work before the game and offseason will be there.”

The win cemented a common trend during the winning streak -- blowout victories. The Dodgers have made it look somewhat easy, outscoring their opponents by 50 runs in this stretch.

Gonsolin’s outing got noticed by Royals backstop Salvador Perez, who went 0-for-3 against the All-Star pitcher, but later belted a two-run homer off reliever Reyes Moronta.

“He didn’t leave anything in the middle,” Perez said of Gonsolin. “Used the corner. Mixed pretty good. He was really good tonight. Curveball, changeup, split-finger. Both sides of the plate. Up, down. He was pretty good. Think he came in with 13 wins? So his 14th tonight. Really good.”

Los Angeles has a lot of season to go and Gonsolin has already passed his career high in innings pitched. Roberts said he doesn’t plan on using him any differently as the season continues.

“I think the workload is one part of it, but like tonight, we certainly could have tried to get past that seventh inning. But I wanted to guard against another stressful inning,” Roberts said. “I think that is something that adds up over a season. It’s more than he’s ever pitched, but if we can manage the stressful innings in a particular start, I think that’ll be helpful.”