LOS ANGELES ― Zach McKinstry kept both of his feet in the batter’s box, barely taking a second to take his eyes off the pitcher’s mound. He had just seen his first major league pitch since April 24. His previous 119 plate appearances had been with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where a pitch clock is being strictly enforced for the first time.
A Triple-A hitter has seven seconds to settle in between pitches. An automatic strike (for hitters) awaits the laggards. Getting his first start as the Dodgers’ designated hitter on Friday, McKinstry wore the look of learned helplessness not on his face, but on his feet.
After Chris Bassitt’s next pitch, McKinstry relaxed a bit and took one foot out of the batter’s box. By the end of the Dodgers’ 6-1 victory over the New York Mets, he was finding time to tap the dirt off his cleats with his bat head. Along the way McKinstry did something far more exciting: he hit a home run.
Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor also homered for the Dodgers (35-17), who won their second straight game against the Mets (35-19) to start a four-game series between the teams with the best records in the National League.
The six runs were more than enough to support left-hander Tyler Anderson (7-0), whose streak of consecutive scoreless innings reached 26 before a sold-out throng of 52,505 at Dodger Stadium.
Anderson mowed down the Mets with nary a hint of drama for six innings. He allowed three hits, all singles, and did not walk a batter. He struck out five. He did not allow a runner to reach second base.
After showing the Mets little besides his four-seam fastball and changeup for two innings, Anderson sprinkled in his cutter, sinker and curveball more liberally, inducing plenty of weak contact along the way. Anderson threw 81 pitches, 57 of them for strikes.
New York got its only run when Yency Almonte relieved Anderson in the seventh inning and served up a solo homer to Pete Alonso on his first pitch.
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Bellinger’s two-run home run against Bassitt (4-3) got the Dodgers on the board in the second inning. McKinstry’s blast, also to right field, was his first major league home run since July of last year.
McKinstry was recalled from Triple-A on Thursday after veteran Kevin Pillar – who got called up ahead of McKinstry and hit poorly, with one hit in 12 at-bats – fractured a bone in his left shoulder. He started at designated hitter only when Edwin Rios suffered a torn hamstring Thursday night.
Taylor’s home run against Stephen Nogosek provided the final score.
Trea Turner went 2 for 4 with an RBI single, extending his hitting streak to 26 games. It is the second-longest in baseball this season; Turner also owns the longest streak; his 27-game run spanned two seasons and ended in April.
More to come on this story.