Dodgers look like old selves in doubleheader sweep of Mets

New York Mets pitcher Adam Ottavino loses control of a ball bunted by Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor as Teoscar Hernández scored on the play during the ninth inning in the first baseball game of a doubleheader Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Chris Taylor got down a bunt. Daniel Hudson hushed his lips. And, in a big sigh of relief for a team that finally delivered in a lot of little moments Tuesday, the Dodgers ended their five-game losing streak with a doubleheader sweep of the New York Mets.

“To get back to our winning ways was a good thing,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Now, we have a chance to get greedy.”

Over 19 innings of baseball, in a doubleheader necessitated by a Monday rainout in Queens, the Dodgers received plenty of help from their superstar core.

Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts combined for nine hits and, in a 5-2 extra-innings win in Game 1, four key RBIs that helped the team come back from a late two-run deficit.

Tyler Glasnow and Gavin Stone were stellar as starting pitchers, with Glasnow giving up two runs in seven innings in the opener, and Stone spinning seven scoreless innings with a career-high seven strikeouts in a 3-0 Game 2 win.

Will Smith and former top prospect Miguel Vargas also went deep in the nightcap, helping the Dodgers clinch a series win against a reeling Mets team.

Read more: Shohei Ohtani misses pitching, but is DH-only role boosting his plate production?

But to end a season-high five-game losing streak during a 7-9 slide overall, the Dodgers needed a string of well-timed (and even better-executed) contributions from others on the roster.

Taylor produced the first turning point in the ninth inning of Game 1.

With runners on the corners, one out and the Dodgers trailing 2-1 in a game their struggling offense again looked out of sync, the dugout called for Taylor — the super-utility man with a woeful .101 batting average entering play Tuesday — to put down a safety squeeze.

"Just trying to find something that can potentially put the pressure on," Roberts said of the decision. "Trying to be a little bit proactive and make something happen.”

The bunt was far from perfect, hit in the air and almost back to the pitcher’s mound. But Mets right-hander Adam Ottovino — serving as the closer in New York’s balky bullpen — couldn’t catch it on the fly, nor snag the ball on its first hop.

Taylor reached first base safely and the Dodgers tied the score at 2-2 when Teoscar Hernández crossed the plate. And in the 10th inning, their bats finally came alive, with Betts sneaking an RBI single through the infield and Freeman belting a two-run homer to put the game away.

“Obviously, we’ve been struggling lately,” Betts told SportsNet LA between games. “But we are resilient. We’re going to keep fighting whether we feel good or not. And it showed up today.”

Hudson was also pivotal in the Game 1 win.

Before the Dodgers pulled away in the 10th, the Mets had a chance to walk it off in the ninth, loading the bases with one out in Hudson's first outing in more than a week.

Teoscar Hernández, left, Andy Pages and Jason Heyward celebrate the sweep.

With the game on the line, Hudson then fell behind 3-and-0 to his next hitter, Tyrone Taylor, leaving virtually no margin for error between the Dodgers and a sixth straight defeat.

But in a momentum-shifting sequence, Hudson managed to escape trouble by inducing a pair of lazy pop-ups before hushing the crowd by putting a finger to his lips.

“We’ve been grinding, and then the boys battled back, [so just] had some adrenaline there in the ninth inning,” Hudson said.

As for the hush sign he flashed on his way back to the dugout?

“You know, it was getting loud, so just reminding them,” Hudson explained with a grin. “Just telling them, ‘Hey, we’re the Dodgers. We’re good.' "

Indeed, the rest of the day, the team never looked back.

Blake Trienen closed out Game 1, earning his first save since September 2021.

Smith homered in the first inning of Game 2, giving the Dodgers a lead that Miguel Rojas and Vargas would later extend with a second-inning RBI double and sixth-inning solo home run, respectively (the homer was Vargas’ first in the majors since last June).

And even without Shohei Ohtani in the lineup for Game 2 — he extended the eighth inning in Game 1 by beating out a double-play, but got the finale off as he continues to nurse a hamstring bruise — the team cruised the rest of the way to complete a badly needed, double-header sweep.

“A lot of good things happened [in Game 1] that carried over into the second game,” Freeman said. “CT’s bunt. Shohei beating out double plays. Huddy getting out of that jam. That’s what kind of builds excitement and momentum in the dugout, and that’s what we were able to do.”

Injury updates

Closer Evan Phillips is expected to rejoin the Dodgers on Friday, Roberts said. Phillips, who has been out since May 3 because of a hamstring strain, will make one more minor league rehabilitation appearance this week. ... Max Muncy remains on a “slow program” in his recovery from an oblique strain, Roberts said, with the slugger continuing to feel discomfort almost two weeks into his injured list stint. Muncy has stopped swinging for the time being, but Roberts is hopeful he will resume doing so “soon” … Bobby Miller has been out since mid-April because of a shoulder injury, but is scheduled to make his second minor-league rehab start either Friday or Saturday. Roberts said that outing is expected to be four innings. After that, the team will decide the right-hander’s next step.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.