The latest win for the major league-leading Los Angeles Dodgers was about as comfortable as they come.
Walker Buehler struck out 11 over seven innings and Los Angeles hit a trio of home runs to complete a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins with a 9-0 victory Sunday.
On an afternoon when slugger Cody Bellinger was rested, the Dodgers still were able to show off their power while getting yet another strong outing from one of three starters they sent to the All-Star Game.
Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock went deep as Los Angeles won for the sixth time in nine games since the All-Star break. Buehler recorded his third double-digit strikeout game this season during a decisive victory that took a tidy 2 hours, 41 minutes.
“It’s always good to have a game like that to get everything moving going into the off day and get everybody a chance to get a rest,” Muncy said. “We can feel good about things and get ready (for the Los Angeles Angels) on Tuesday.”
Miami rookie Jordan Yamamoto not only lost for the first time in seven major league starts, but the home runs by Muncy and Pederson were the first ones he’s allowed in his career. Yamamoto (4-1) had the third-longest winning streak to begin a career in Marlins history.
With little to no fastball command, Yamamoto unraveled early — but manager Don Mattingly was far from worried about his 23-year-old right-hander.
“Jordan is all right. He will be fine,” Mattingly said. “He’s a kid that is pretty good at self-evaluation, knowing that he just made mistakes with location. He’ll be fine. He’s a pretty unique kid with his demeanor and everything else.”
One day after the Dodgers’ bullpen blew a late 6-0 lead before the offense rallied, Buehler (9-1) took the heat off the relievers by giving up just five hits and no walks. Casey Sadler and Caleb Ferguson completed the shutout.
“He definitely has three, four elite pitches,” Pederson said of Buehler. “When you can throw really hard, have elite pitches and command, it’s a good recipe for success.”
Buehler cruised after being staked to an early lead, although he already gave a glimpse of what kind of day it would be before the Dodgers even came to the plate for the first time. Buehler struck out the side in each of the first two innings.
In between, Muncy gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the first on his 25th home run. Yamamoto had gone six starts without being taken deep, just the fourth pitcher in Marlins history to make at least six starts without giving up a homer.
Pederson tagged him again two innings later, giving the Dodgers a 4-0 lead with a shot into the Marlins’ bullpen in right field. It was Pederson’s 23rd of the season and second in two games. He has three home runs since participating in the Home Run Derby during All-Star festivities this month.
Yamamoto also gave up an RBI double to Kiké Hernández in the fourth as the Dodgers built their advantage to 5-0. The right-hander allowed five runs and four hits over four innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
“It was very frustrating and it just kind of (stinks) that I couldn’t give the team the best chance to win,” Yamamoto said. “Just going out there and letting home runs happen, it’s one of those things that I am just more (ticked) off at myself more than anything right now.”
There was no matching Buehler, whose strikeout pace did slow somewhat on a day when he had complete control with his fastball. He got his 10th strikeout in the seventh when Neil Walker was called out looking. It was the right-hander’s first game of at least 10 strikeouts since he fanned 16 Colorado Rockies on June 21.
“I think when you spin the fastball and can get some angle on it, it’s going to help you out,” Buehler said. “I think that is what I have been searching for and I found it a little today trying to drive the ball down and create that illusion where it stays up.”
Pollock added an RBI single in the fifth and a three-run homer in the seventh off Tayron Guerrero. It was Pollock’s sixth of the season.
Already one of the most versatile teams in baseball, the Dodgers experimented on defense even more in a lopsided game.
Veteran catcher Russell Martin played third base in the ninth inning, the first time he’s been there this season and the 51st time he’s played the position in more than 1,600 career games. Third baseman Justin Turner moved to second for one inning, the first time he’d played there in four years.
Pederson, who has added time at first base to his outfield resume this season, was asked if there was any other infield spot still on his wish list.
“If you asked me that before I started playing first base, I would have a lot of them,” the left-handed Pederson said with a smirk. “But now that I play infield, no, none of them.”
Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas was not in the lineup after leaving Saturday’s game with a right shoulder strain. The injury is not a long-term issue, according to Mattingly.
Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (3-11) opens a three-game series Monday at the Chicago White Sox. Richards has gone at least five innings in a career-best 12 consecutive games.
Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-6) returns to the rotation Tuesday in the opener of a two-game home series against the Angels. Maeda made a one-inning relief appearance Friday.
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