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    Dodgers hit 2 home runs, catch a few breaks to beat Cardinals
    • April 29, 2023

    LOS ANGELES — The Roman philosopher Seneca is said to have defined luck as “what happens what preparation meets opportunity.”

    Jason Heyward certainly had prepared to face St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty before Friday’s game at Dodger Stadium. The two had seen each other plenty, with Heyward collecting two hits in 18 at-bats. And in the third inning he had an opportunity, with Max Muncy on second base and a bat in his hands.

    Heyward didn’t get all of a two-strike curveball from Flaherty when he poked a dribbler inside the third base line, yet no fielders were close enough to stop it with a broom. The ball wound up in left field, Muncy scored easily from second base, and the Dodgers had the kind of lucky break that has eluded them so often in 2023.

    The Dodgers caught a few breaks en route to a 7-3 victory over the Cardinals before an announced crowd of 48,138 at Dodger Stadium. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and kicked off a six-game homestand by lifting the Dodgers (14-13) back above .500.

    Heyward also made a sliding catch in right field and finished 2 for 2 with two RBIs against Flaherty (2-3).

    “(The double) was one of those times that it worked out and got by (Nolan) Arenado somehow,” Heyward said. “That’s what it takes sometimes.”

    His billiard shot into left field was not even his most fortunate stroke Friday. In the fifth inning, Heyward flew out to deep right field for the apparent second out of the inning. But catcher Willson Contreras’ mitt impeded the trajectory of Heyward’s bat – a catcher’s interference error – and the bases were suddenly loaded for James Outman.

    Outman, who had struck out in seven consecutive at-bats, was hit in the foot with a curveball, driving in the Dodgers’ fifth run.

    The Dodgers scored in more traditional fashions too. Mookie Betts led off the game with a homer for the 38th time in his career, the 10th-most in major league history. Miguel Vargas hit a two-run home run, his first of the season, in the seventh inning.

    The offensive outburst was more than enough for Dodgers starter Dustin May. After enduring a 26-pitch first inning, May (3-1) emerged victorious for the second time in his last two starts.

    The Cardinals tallied two walks, a double, a stolen base, a sacrifice fly, and scored on a wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead before the Dodgers came to bat.

    “I was comfortable the whole night,” May said. “I just wasn’t locating anything (in the first inning), spraying everything around, then settled in.”

    Betts halved the Dodgers’ deficit with his fourth home run of the season. Later in the first inning, Heyward smoked an RBI single into right field to score another run, helped in part by an error by Lars Nootbaar.

    May’s four walks in five innings contributed to his bloated total of 104 pitches, a career high. The right-hander also allowed only three hits and struck out four.

    “I would definitely like to get more than five (innings) in a game, but at that point in time I had wasted a lot of throws, thrown a lot of balls,” May said. “It was good to get through five and help the guys out in the ’pen.”

    The Dodgers needed five relievers – Caleb Ferguson, Victor Gonzalez, Brusdar Graterol, Shelby Miller and Alex Vesia – to navigate umpire Nate Tomlinson’s stingy strike zone. They combined to issue three walks over the final four innings, but they did not allow a run until St. Louis rallied for one against Vesia in the bottom of the ninth.

    After spending the last two weeks on the injured list with a concussion, Will Smith was activated before the game and went 1 for 5 as the Dodgers’ designated hitter.

    In his return from paternity leave, Muncy went 1 for 2 with two walks and an RBI double – the key hit in the Dodgers’ third-inning rally that gave them the lead for good.

    Graterol, also back from the paternity list, got Paul Goldschmidt to pop out to end the seventh inning on the only pitch he threw.

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    ​ Orange County Register