Baseball / MLB

Kenta Maeda tosses seven scoreless innings to earn first victory since May

AP

Kenta Maeda’s confidence was waning after going more than two months without a win and he knew he had to make some changes. The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher made his adjustments between starts and, for at least one night, appeared dominant.

The right-hander allowed only three hits over seven innings and struck out six as the Dodgers defeated Arizona 4-0 Saturday.

“Tonight, to give us seven strong innings, was really, really good,” manager Dave Roberts said. “More importantly, it was good for our ballclub and our confidence.”

Maeda admitted his mechanics were off the last two months as he went 0-6 in his previous 11 starts. The last three were his worst of the season, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) in 11 innings.

Maeda (8-8) made two big adjustments going into Saturday’s start — he adjusted his arm slot so that it was higher and he was more aggressive with his fastball early.

He retired the side in order his first time through the lineup before Jarrod Dyson led off the fourth with a single. Ketel Marte was the only Arizona player to reach scoring position when he singled to left, stole second with two outs and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The shortstop failed to score as Maeda struck out David Peralta to end the frame.

“By getting the win tonight I was able to bring myself up and feel more confident,” said Maeda, who pitched seven or more scoreless innings in a start for the fifth time in his career. “I was able to mix in everything tonight. The fastball conviction was there and I was able to execute my game plan.”

Maeda also helped his cause at the plate with a squeeze bunt in the fourth inning in which Corey Seager beat pitcher Alex Young’s throw to home plate, extending Los Angeles’ lead to 4-0.

Caleb Ferguson, Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen pitched the final two innings as the Dodgers recorded their major-league leading 13th shutout of the season and second of the homestand.

“He just was throwing balls off the edge of the plate, crowding us when he needed to at the right time, and just really didn’t give us a chance to get some extension and do the things that we do best,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of Maeda.

Angels 12, Red Sox 4

In Boston, Mike Trout hit the first home run of his career at Fenway and Los Angeles snapped an eight-game losing streak.

Shohei Ohtani had a multihit game for Los Angeles that included a two-run single in the seventh.

Trout, with his 428-foot (130-meter) drive over the Green Monster in the sixth inning, has now homered in every American League ballpark. He had played 21 games in Boston without connecting.

“I didn’t think about it,” Trout said. “I think I got reminded about it every time I’ve come here.”

After two at-bats against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello in which he struck out and grounded out, Trout came up again and Porcello missed on a fastball that went straight over the middle of the plate.

Trout made him pay for it.

“I hit it good,” Trout said. “He pitched me tough my first two at-bats. I was looking for a pitch to hit and I got one.”

The homer was Trout’s 39th this season, tying for the major league lead with Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich.

Trout was replaced in the seventh, having been hit in his shoulder by a pitcher earlier in the game. Trout was feeling fine.

Justin Upton added a three-run homer in the first inning.

The loss denied Boston its first three-game win streak since it won three straight games against the Yankees last month. It’s also yet another head-scratching setback for the defending World Series champions, who looked to be turning a corner following an eight-game losing streak last month.

“We’ll keep working, we’ll keep going,” manager Alex Cora said. “There were some positives, but obviously at the end we need results as a team.”

Astros 23, Orioles 2

In Baltimore, rookie Yordan Alvarez hit three of Houston’s six home runs and drove in a career-high seven runs to help the Astros to the highest scoring game in franchise history.

The win was the eighth straight for the Houston, which became the latest team to feast on the reeling Orioles. Baltimore has allowed a major league-leading 240 homers and lost five straight.

It was the second 20-run game in Astros history. Houston also beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 21-5 on Oct. 2, 2015. The 13 extra-base hits set a franchise record.

Alex Bregman, who went 3 for 3, and Alvarez set the tone with back-to-back homers in the first inning. Alvarez added the grand slam in the seventh and a two-run shot in the ninth.

In Other Games

Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4

Royals 7, Tigers 0

White Sox 3, Athletics 2

Twins 4, Indians 1

Rays 5, Mariners 4

Mets 4, Nationals 3

Giants 3, Phillies 1

Marlins 7, Braves 6 (10)

Cardinals 3, Pirates 1

Brewers 3, Rangers 2

Reds 10, Cubs 1

Padres 8, Rockies 5