All-Star Rookie Kodai Senga Struck Out Nine; Dodgers to a 5-1 Victory over the Sloppy Mets

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
New York Mets’ Kodai Senga pitches during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, July 15, 2023, in New York.

NEW YORK (AP) — Mookie Betts went 4 for 4 with a home run and the Los Angeles Dodgers took advantage of a high throw by first baseman Pete Alonso to beat the sloppy New York Mets 5-1 on Saturday night for their sixth straight victory.

Max Muncy scored the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning on David Peralta’s RBI grounder. Alonso, who moments earlier made his second diving play of the night, had a chance to start an inning-ending double play — but his throw to second base forced shortstop Francisco Lindor to make a leaping grab and then find the bag, giving Peralta enough time to beat the relay at first.

Los Angeles added three insurance runs in the ninth, the first scoring when rookie third baseman Brett Baty misplayed a high popup for an embarrassing error. To make matters worse, the ball bounced up and dinged Baty right in the face after he made a desperate, staggering dive.

J.D. Martinez and Peralta followed with RBI singles off Grant Hartwig.

Brandon Nimmo homered for the Mets, held to three hits one night after mustering just one — Nimmo’s leadoff double — in a 6-0 loss to the Dodgers. All-Star rookie Kodai Senga struck out nine in six innings of one-run ball, but New York (42-50) dropped its fourth in a row following a six-game winning streak.

Brusdar Graterol (3-2) worked a hitless seventh for the NL West leaders, who have won 14 of 19. New York put runners at the corners with none out in the eighth, but Caleb Ferguson retired pinch-hitter Mark Canha on a foul popup and then struck out Baty and Luis Guillorme on seven pitches.

Baty whiffed all three times up. Adam Ottavino (0-4) took the loss.

Tony Gonsolin limited the Mets to two hits through five innings on a season-low 54 pitches. With a string of left-handed hitters coming up, he was lifted by manager Dave Roberts for left-hander Alex Vesia.

It was the fewest pitches needed by a Dodgers starter to complete five innings since Greg Maddux threw 47 over six innings in the final game of his Hall of Fame career on Sept. 27, 2008.

With two outs in the third, Betts homered to the opposite field on a 97 mph, 2-2 fastball from Senga. The 344-foot drive bounced off the top of the fence in the right-field corner for his 27th homer and eighth in 13 games.

Nimmo answered by leading off the fourth with a 445-foot shot to center, the second-longest of his career. It was his 14th homer this season and 10th since June 8.

The start was delayed 46 minutes with rain in the area. Under a darkening sky, injured Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and three young kids played with a bucket of baseballs in foul territory, a few feet from the tarp covering the infield.