Gavin Lux hits 3-run homer to lift Dodgers to win over Mariners

Gavin Lux hits 3 run homer to lift Dodgers to win
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Dave Roberts indicated in early March that Gavin Lux would be his starting second baseman this season, the Dodgers’ manager saying he could see the Baseball America 2019 minor league player of the year “getting a good runway, playing regularly.”

But with Lux entering Tuesday night’s game against Seattle with a .209 batting average, .515 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, no homers, one double and eight RBIs in 25 games, it was fair to ask Roberts how long that runway is.

“I don’t think you can really define what it is,” Roberts said. “For me, the defense has been very consistent. I see the at-bat quality getting better each day. … I don’t really think there’s a game or a stat line that I’m looking at.”

Though his job appeared safe, Lux helped himself by producing a stat line worth looking at Tuesday night, hitting a key single in a two-run seventh inning and crushing a three-run homer to right-center in the eighth to lift the Dodgers to a 6-4 come-from-behind win over the Mariners before 15,570 at Dodger Stadium. It was the Dodgers’ first win of the season when trailing after seven innings.

With the Dodgers trailing 4-3 with two outs in the eighth, Chris Taylor lined a single to right off Seattle reliever Rafael Montero and pinch-hitter Matt Beaty was hit by a pitch.

Lux then drove a 97-mph fastball from Montero 413feet into the right-field pavilion for his first homer of the season to give the Dodgers, who had lost 15 of their last 20, a 6-4 lead. Closer Kenley Jansen struck out two of three batters in the ninth for his sixth save.

Taylor and Lux also sparked the seventh-inning rally. Trailing 4-1, Taylor led off with a single, Sheldon Neuse struck out and the left-handed-hitting Lux, with the infield shifted, fisted a grounder to third for an infield single off Seattle starter Yusei Kikuchi.

Mariners manager Scott Servais pulled Kikuchi for another left-hander, Anthony Misiewicz, who walked pinch-hitter AJ Pollock to load the bases with one out.

Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen delivers during the ninth inning of a 6-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Up stepped Mookie Betts, who fought his way back from an 0-and-2 count to 3-and-2, but on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, umpire Greg Gibson rung him up on a cut-fastball that looked inside.

Corey Seager followed with a two-run single to right to trim the deficit to 4-3 and advance pinch-runner DJ Peters to third, but Montero struck out Justin Turner to end the inning.

Kikuchi, a graduate of the same rural high school in Japan that produced Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, outpitched Dodgers starter Walker Buehler, giving up three runs and six hits and striking out 11 in 61/3 innings.

Buehler gave up four runs and four hits, including a pair of solo home runs to Mitch Haniger in the first and sixth innings and a two-run shot to Kyle Seager in the fourth, but Lux took the right-hander, and the Dodgers, off the hook for what could have been another demoralizing defeat.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us, there’s no sugar-coating it,” Buehler said. “But a big win like this can turn the tide.”

The Dodgers managed only one run in the first six innings, Max Muncy hitting a 433-foot solo homer to right-center in the fourth. Left-hander Garrett Cleavinger relieved Buehler and struck out two in a scoreless eighth.

Injury updates

Pollock (mild left-hamstring strain) did not start for a third straight game, but Roberts expects the outfielder to start Wednesday against Seattle or Friday against Miami.

David Price, out since April26 because of a right-hamstring strain, threw off the Dodger Stadium mound and ran to cover first Tuesday, Roberts saying the left-hander “looked really good.” Price will face hitters this week.

Center fielder Cody Bellinger, out since April6 because of a hairline fracture of his left fibula, posted a social media video of himself running in Arizona, but Roberts said the slugger is still running at only 60%, so he’s not quite ready to begin a rehab stint.

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