Yoshinobu Yamamoto throws five scoreless innings, but Cards spoil his home debut

Paul Goldschmidt drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning with a groundout after Mookie Betts homered again to help Los Angeles tie it in the ninth, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Dodgers 6-5 on Saturday night after Shohei Ohtani popped up with the bases loaded for the final out.

The Cardinals turned a hit batter, a catcher’s interference and a balk into a five-run seventh inning and led 5-3 in the ninth. The Dodgers tied it against Ryan Helsley (1-0) on a one-out home run from Betts and a game-tying single from Max Muncy with two outs. Betts has a home run in four consecutive games.

Right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto went five scoreless innings for Los Angeles in his home debut, pitching on both sides of what was believed to be the first rain delay at Dodger Stadium since April 2017. The 25-year-old pitched on both sides of a 35-minute pause for rain.

He signed the richest contract for a pitcher in major league history in December, a $325 million, 12-year deal, then had an 8.38 spring-training ERA. Yamamoto got just three outs in his major league debut last week, allowing five runs, four hits and a walk in a 15-11 season-opening loss to San Diego at Seoul.

“Compared to the last one, I think I had my stuff back,” Yamamoto said through an interpreter. “Now I have to keep doing it, so I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Yamamoto threw 45 of 68 pitches for strikes, averaging 95.3 mph for 28 fastballs. He threw 20 splitters, 18 curveballs and two cutters.

Right-hander Lance Lynn pitched four scoreless innings in his first outing for St. Louis since 2017, then was pulled following the 35-minute rain delay. Lynn put the first three Dodgers he faced on base before wiggling out of the jam to keep the game close early.

“I loaded the bases up, you know, and waited to see if the old dog still had it,” the 36-year-old Lynn said of his first inning. “He still does, so it went all right. All in all, my stuff felt good. First start, you miss a little bit here and there, and I was able to correct and not give up a big inning.”

Dodgers right-hander Kyle Hurt (0-1) gave up a run in 2 2/3 innings. Helsley gave up two runs on four hits in the ninth before Giovanny Gallegos pitched the 10th for his first save, getting Ohtani to pop to shortstop on his last pitch.

Will Smith had a pair of RBI singles and Freddie Freeman added an RBI single for the Dodgers.

The game was scoreless when the delay began at the end of the fourth inning. Yamamoto returned with another scoreless innings before the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead on back-to-back RBI hits from Freeman and Smith.

The Cardinals went to work in the seventh, loading the bases on Nolan Gorman’s walk, while Nolan Arenado was hit by a pitch and Matt Carpenter loaded the bases on Smith’s catcher’s interference.

After Carpenter scored the go-ahead run following Joe Kelly’s balk with Victor Scott II at the plate, Brendan Donovan hit a two-run double to right for a 5-2 lead.

“We fit it all in one inning. It was a weird inning,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “I’m glad it worked out the way it did. Guys kept fighting. Especially in this environment, you get down against that group and then give it back up in the ninth, it’s tough. To continue to fight the way we did, that was awesome.”

Cardinals shortstop Brandon Crawford was playing in his 86th game at Dodger Stadium, with 85 of those as a member of the San Francisco Giants, and said he could not recall a game where it rained.

“It was much more San Francisco-like weather than L.A. for sure,” Crawford said. “I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it rain here, and then the cold breeze, it was definitely different for Dodger Stadium.”

Reporting by The Associated Press.


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