LOS ANGELES — With the Dodgers acquiring Trea Turner and Billy McKinney over the last month and a pair of other regulars returning from injuries, L.A. has had to make some tough decisions regarding playing time.
One of the players affected the most has been Matt Beaty. The infielder has been a key part of the bench all season, but he hasn’t gotten nearly as many starts as he did before the new arrivals.
Beaty got just his second start in August on Tuesday, and he took full advantage of it. He delivered the key two-run double in the fifth, helping the Dodgers edge the Pirates, 4-3, at Dodger Stadium. With 42 games left in the regular season, the Dodgers remain four games behind the Giants, who beat the Mets. Both clubs have won nine of their last 10 games.
“Matt has been a pro,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “All guys want more at-bats, but his role on this club is to play sporadically and get spot starts and take tough at-bats off the bench, and today he really fought and competed. I’m really happy for Matty.”
The Dodgers missed some opportunities early, leaving runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings. But in the third, they were able to break through. Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger got things started with a pair of doubles, and AJ Pollock drove both of them in with a two-run single to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.
But after the Pirates quickly responded with two runs in the fourth, the Dodgers had to punch back and did just that on the Beaty two-run, two-out double that got past a diving Yoshi Tsutsugo at first base in the fifth inning.
“He was throwing me a lot of offspeed pitches and I was hooking them into the dugout,” Beaty said. “Luckily, it wasn’t a huge adjustment, but luckily it was able to get past the first baseman and score some runs. I was just trying to put the ball in play.”
Despite not getting many starts, Beaty has taken advantage of the opportunities given to him. He went 2-for-3 with a run in his last start against the Phillies and matched that performance on Tuesday.
“I just go up there and not try to do too much,” Beaty said when asked how he handles his limited at-bats. “Just kind of stay within myself, put together good at-bats, put the ball in play and just keep it simple.”
With Beaty and Pollock leading the offense, the Dodgers’ pitching staff did just enough to quiet a subpar Pirates offense. David Price navigated some shaky defense behind him and allowed just two runs on three hits over 4 2/3 innings. While Price’s performance wasn’t dominant by any means, the veteran left-hander has given the Dodgers plenty of quality innings as they navigate through injuries.
“I can’t say enough about David,” Roberts said. “He was very good again tonight. He’s a strike thrower. I love the way he was throwing the curveball more tonight; that was fantastic. It just seems like when we’re out there, we don’t play our best defense. When he’s out there, we have to get better.”
After Price, Corey Knebel, Phil Bickford and Blake Treinen proceeded to throw 3 1/3 scoreless frames. In the ninth, Kenley Jansen made things interesting yet again, allowing one run, but the right-hander was able to strand the tying run at second base for the second night in a row.
It wasn’t all perfect, but the Dodgers have won nine of their last 10 games. They’ve also won a franchise-record 15 straight against the Pirates. They’ll look for the sweep on Wednesday with another bullpen game.