LOS ANGELES — Little brother always gets his way.
Before playing against his older brother, Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, in a regular-season game for the first time Monday, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said he would be rooting for big brother to get four hits — “and we still win.”
Kyle was on base four times, on three hits and a walk. And the Dodgers did win, though it took a five-run seventh-inning comeback to fulfill the younger Seager’s wish with an 11-9 victory over the Mariners.
The win extended the Dodgers’ streak to six consecutive (and the Mariners’ losing streak to the same).
“He only got three (hits). That’s his fault,” Corey Seager said. “We still got the win so I’ll take that for sure.”
Both Seager brothers hit home runs in the game, becoming the 10th pair of brothers to hit home runs for different teams in the same game, the first since Felipe and Cesar Crespo in 2001.
“For sure, it was a lot of fun. It was a special moment,” Corey Seager said after both he and Kyle were caught on camera suppressing grins as the other brother passed them rounding the bases. “It was one of those things where you can go home and think about it, soak it all in. You try to be in the moment as much as possible. You’re still trying to win a game. But when you get around him, it was hard to not see your brother in your opponent. It was a lot of fun for sure.”
Corey Seager’s homer was a three-run shot, the biggest hit in a five-run second inning that put the Dodgers up 6-2 against the sagging Mariners.
But every time Ross Stripling gets into the Dodgers’ starting rotation, he turns into the babysitter in an 1980s era horror movie. He hears steps. And they’re coming from inside the house.
Tabbed to replace David Price in the season-opening rotation, Stripling’s always-tenuous hold on a rotation spot has slipped in each of his past four starts. Monday was the worst of the bunch. He faced 17 batters in three innings, retired just nine of them and gave up eight hits including three home runs in a five-run third inning to surrender the Dodgers’ early lead.
“These guys are good fastball hitters so I felt I was going to get them out with offspeed through the night,” Stripling said. “But the fastballs that I threw were too much of a strike there. When I know I’m going to get them out with offspeed or at least try to get them out with offspeed, to give them fastballs to hit and do damage there is not the right call.
“Really, I felt like I threw the ball well. It’s just that the mistakes I made, they hammered them.”
In his first start of the season, Stripling was terrific, flashing a new changeup grip and allowing just one run on four hits in seven innings against the San Francisco Giants.
In four starts since then, however, he has allowed 20 runs (15 earned) on 24 hits, eight walks and a hit batter in 18 2/3 innings — a 7.23 ERA and 1.77 WHIP.
“Really at the end of the day, I feel like I’m throwing the ball well,” he said. “My velocity is up. If you are into analytics and all that stuff, my numbers are up. I’m throwing the ball maybe as good as I ever have. But the results aren’t necessarily on the mound. So it’s like how do we get those to transfer over to zeroes on the scoreboard?”
The Dodgers’ overstuffed starting rotation currently goes six deep with Tony Gonsolin sticking around for another turn Tuesday and Dustin May running to the front of the pack for this year’s National League Rookie of the Year award.
An off day Monday, Aug. 24 could bring changes. Alex Wood is also working back from a shoulder injury and could be ready to reclaim a spot in the rotation in another week or so.
“Certainly performance matters,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, unwilling to be drawn into a discussion of Stripling’s future in the rotation. “You still trust Ross — the work, the preparation, the ability with his pitch mix to continue to make pitches. It’s been a little bit of a rough few starts. But Ross is going to find his way out of it.”
The Dodgers were down 8-6 when Corey Seager led off the seventh inning with the family’s fifth hit of the night, a rocket off the glove of shortstop J.P. Crawford for a single. Another single and a walk loaded the bases for A.J. Pollock.
Pollock stroked an RBI single into left field and Max Muncy forced in the tying run with a bases-loaded walk. The go-ahead run scored on a double play then Kiké Hernandez cleared the bases with a two-run home run.
The five-run seventh gave the Dodgers 45 runs in the seventh inning or later this season to 12 for their opponents.
“We’re relentless. We’ve always been that way,” Corey Seager said. “We’ve never given at-bats away. We pass the baton, that next-man mentality. You can’t give them away even when it’s late. It’s almost more important to not give them away when it’s late. That’s a big thing we pride ourselves on and we’ve done that for a long time now.”