KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If Tony Gonsolin is heading into uncharted waters, his sails still seem quite full.
Gonsolin took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Friday night, exiting with his 14th victory as the Dodgers extended their winning streak to 11 games with an 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
It was the eighth time this season a Dodgers starting pitcher had taken a no-hitter through at least five innings. Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, Mitch White and Gonsolin have each done it twice.
According to Stats Inc., they are the only MLB team in the last 40 years to have four different starters with multiple no-hit bids of at least five innings in the same season.
The Dodgers are now 18-3 since the All-Star break with 33 wins in their past 38 games.
If another win is familiar territory for the Dodgers, Gonsolin is going where he’s never really gone before.
His 6⅔ innings against the Royals pushed his season total to 116⅓ – more than double his previous high in the major leagues (55⅔ last year) and closing in on his professional high (128 between Double-A Tulsa and Class-A Rancho Cucamonga in 2018).
“I mean, it’s whatever. The body feels pretty good,” Gonsolin said.
“I just try to go out there and compete when it’s my time to go.”
In his last three starts of July, Gonsolin allowed 12 runs in 16 innings, perhaps a red flag for anyone prone to look for them. But he hasn’t allowed a run in his past two starts.
“Tony has the blinders on right now,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He knows where he’s at. He knows this is uncharted territory. But he’s doing everything he can to stay strong and healthy. … I want him to go as hard as he can as long as he can.”
That might not be the best strategy to get this version of Gonsolin in October, but Roberts thinks that is possible.
“I think so. I don’t see why not,” he said. “I’m sure he’s not the only guy in postseason history that’s surpassed their previous innings totals. I know there’s going to be adrenaline built in. He’s in the prime of his career. He’s taking care of himself. So I don’t see why we can’t keep this going.”
Gonsolin fairly breezed through the first five innings of his latest effort against a Royals lineup that started six rookies (five of whom made their big-league debuts this season).
He needed just 45 pitches to retire the first 15 Royals batters in order. He went as far as a three-ball count just once in that time – before getting Salvador Perez to pop out for the third out of the first inning.
“Man, he got ahead of everybody,” shortstop Trea Turner said. “I felt like he was getting strike one with multiple pitches whether it was the heater, the curveball or the splitter.”
Gonsolin walked two in the sixth inning to end his perfect run but took his no-hitter into the seventh, retiring Perez before giving up a single to Vinnie Pasquantino. Two batters later, Michael A. Taylor doubled in the Royals’ only run off Gonsolin, whose ERA, after a brief rise around the All-Star break, is back down to 2.24.
“I knew the numbers were good. But I knew the volume was … fairly limited because he’s still fairly new in his career,” Turner said of his impressions of Gonsolin when he joined the Dodgers last season. “But the stats were good and it was just a matter of him continuing to work and do his thing and he’s done that. He works really hard in between starts, whether it’s in the weight room or on the mound in his bullpen sessions. And he’s a really smart guy. When you’ve got all that going for you, I think it’s pretty easy seeing why he’s having success.”
The Dodgers didn’t break through offensively until the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with no outs on an error, a double by Trayce Thompson and a walk of Mookie Betts.
But Turner popped out. Freddie Freeman struck out on an elevated fastball and Will Smith flew out to center field, leaving the Dodgers empty-handed.
If at first, you don’t succeed – load them up again.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs again in the seventh. This time, they scored five times.
Turner singled through the left side to drive in the first two. A Freeman double to left-center drove in another run. A wild pitch scored another and Justin Turner’s sacrifice fly made it the 15th time this season the Dodgers have scored five (or more) runs in a single inning.
“We create those opportunities … by being disciplined and obviously we have some good hitters as well. So there’s always traffic out there,” Trea Turner said. “That’s why – that first situation, it stinks. But you’ve got to keep your head up because you know you’re probably going to come up there shortly – whether it’s the next inning or two or the next day there’s probably going to be traffic out there.”
Thompson put it away with a three-run home run in the eighth inning, his third hit of the game. Acquired to hit against left-handed pitching, Thompson has instead been doing his damage against right-handers. Since joining the Dodgers, he is 21 for 57 (.358) with four of his five home runs and 15 of his 20 RBIs against righties.
Trayce tank. 💪 pic.twitter.com/It2DqcC2et
— MLB (@MLB) August 13, 2022
Trea and Freddie! pic.twitter.com/qbIG0qAFar
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 13, 2022
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) August 13, 2022