LOS ANGELES (AP) — Max Muncy got on base four times and scored three runs. Nearly a month after returning from an elbow problem, he’s finding his groove just as the Los Angeles Dodgers lose another All-Star to injury.
Muncy and Mookie Betts hit first-pitch home runs in a 5-2 win over the last-place Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. The victory pushed the Dodgers’ NL West lead to 5 1/2 games over San Diego, their largest of the season.
But outfielder Chris Taylor is headed to the injured list Wednesday after a CT scan revealed a fracture in his left foot. He got hurt last weekend and left Monday’s game when it swelled.
”He’s a grinder for us,” Muncy said. ”He’s been great for us this year.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is hoping Taylor will be back in a couple of weeks.
In addition to his homer, Muncy doubled and walked twice.
”I felt more like myself. The at-bat quality has been a lot better,” he said. ”Keeping a healthy head and a healthy elbow as well. I feel like I’m really hitting the ball really, really hard.”
The Dodgers got a boost from rookie right-hander Ryan Pepiot (1-0), who started in place of Mitch White after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day. Pepiot had known since Sunday that he’d be starting.
”He had his nerves under control and that’s a progression for a young pitcher,” Roberts said. ”He pounded the strike zone. When he’s good he can command that glove side.”
The 24-year-old Pepiot allowed one run and four hits over five innings in his fourth big league start. He struck out a career-high six and walked one.
”Definitely exciting, but I know I have a job to do,” Pepiot said. ”Today I kind of put the pieces together.”
Brusdar Graterol pitched the ninth to earn his second major league save, both in the past week.
Colorado’s Kris Bryant went deep for the first time since last September, ending a career-worst homerless streak of 38 games. His solo shot off Phil Bickford in the sixth eluded the glove of a leaping Cody Bellinger at the wall in center. Bryant has gone 10 for 29 in seven games since coming off the injured list a week ago.
”I think there’s more coming. Obviously, his track record tells us that,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”Probably a relief for Kris.”
After Will Smith drew a leadoff walk, Muncy connected for a two-run shot off German Marquez (4-7) in the second inning, putting the Dodgers ahead 2-1.
”It was his best game to date,” Roberts said about Muncy. ”Sometimes the best pitch you’re going to get is the first one.”
Betts added a solo shot – his 18th – in the third.
”Muncy ambushed him twice, two first-pitch (hits),” Black said of Marquez. ”A hanging slider to Betts came back to haunt him. But overall, he battled. I thought his stuff was fine.”
The Dodgers extended their lead to 4-1 on Justin Turner’s RBI single that scored Muncy, who doubled leading off the fourth.
”They outhit us in certain situations and they outpitched us,” Black said.
Trayce Thompson’s RBI single gave the Dodgers an insurance run with two outs in the eighth. He hit a three-run homer in their 5-3 win on Monday.
Marquez gave up four runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven, tying a season high, and walked three.
Dodgers: Gavin Lux, Thompson and Jake Lamb will platoon in left field during Taylor’s absence. … Craig Kimbrel’s CT scan came back clean and the closer will be available Wednesday. He took a line drive off his back last week. … LHP Andrew Heaney (left shoulder inflammation) threw a 30-pitch bullpen. ”He’s still a ways down the road,” Roberts said. … RHP Blake Treinen (right shoulder) played catch a day after throwing 30 pitches off a mound. He’s not expected back before August. ”We have one bullet to get him back and do it right,” Roberts said. … RHP Dustin May, still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, has been throwing to hitters, but there’s no timetable for him to begin a rehab assignment.
Rockies: RHP Jose Urena (0-0, 3.52 ERA) makes his Colorado debut after being signed to a minor league deal in mid-May. He last started on June 29 against Triple-A Sugar Land, allowing three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Dodgers: White (0-1, 3.93) is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA and eight strikeouts in three games against the Rockies.