Buehler, Betts propel Dodgers to win over Rangers

Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts runs to first after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings of five-hit ball to remain unbeaten since 2019, and Mookie Betts homered and scored three runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers held off the Texas Rangers 5-3 on Sunday.

Down 5-0, Texas scored three times in the ninth inning and had the bases loaded with no outs before the rally fizzled.

Zach McKinstry had a two-run double while going 3 for 3 with a walk, and Gavin Lux added his own RBI double in the fifth victory in six games for the Dodgers (39-26), who pulled within one game of NL-leading San Francisco (40-25) atop the division.

After Buehler (6-0) survived a rough first inning and made it through his second straight scoreless start, the Dodgers' bullpen struggled in the ninth.

The first six Texas batters reached base, but Kenley Jansen got three straight outs to secure his 15th save and Los Angeles' series-clinching win after the clubs traded 12-1 victories in the first two games.

Dane Dunning (2-5) yielded four runs on seven hits and two walks in four tough innings for the Rangers, who have lost 14 of 17.

Jason Martin and Isiah Kiner-Falefa drove in runs in the ninth off reliever Phil Bickford, allowing the Rangers to avoid their eighth shutout loss of the season.

Jansen came on and gave up an RBI single to Willie Calhoun on his first pitch before Texas loaded the bases. The veteran closer then got two popups before Nick Solak grounded out to end a nine-pitch at-bat.

One night after Texas ended its franchise-record-tying 16-game road losing streak, the Rangers fell to an MLB-worst 8-25 in interleague play over the past two seasons.

Buehler wasn't dominant by his own lofty standards, but he lasted at least six innings for the 13th time in his 13 starts this season — a feat he also accomplished in his final two playoff starts last season. He hasn't lost a decision since September 2019, going 10-0 in 28 appearances.

After throwing seven scoreless innings at Pittsburgh last Tuesday, Buehler threw 33 pitches in the first inning against Texas. He walked the bases loaded, and the Rangers stole two bases before Buehler escaped without allowing a run.

The Dodgers took the lead two batters later when Betts walked and Lux drove him in with a double to the left-center gap.

Betts sliced his seventh homer into the short right field porch in the third, and McKinstry drove in two more runs with a two-out double later in the inning. The rookie also had two singles and a walk, ending his 2-for-23 slump since returning from his oblique muscle injury.

Matt Beaty drove in Betts with a single in the seventh.

BLUE KHRUSH

The Rangers placed veteran OF Khris Davis on unconditional release waivers, five days after designating him for assignment. The former Oakland slugger began the season on the injured list and then batted .157 in 61 plate appearances with his new team.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: C Jose Trevino didn't start for the second straight game. He has a sore hip, manager Chris Woodward said.

Dodgers: OF Cody Bellinger missed his second straight game with left hamstring tightness. He was available to pinch-hit, but didn't.

UP NEXT

Rangers: After a day off, right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) looks to continue his stellar season in a series opener at Houston. Gibson is among the AL leaders in ERA, opponents' batting average (.196) and WHIP (1.00).

Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 5.40 ERA) hopes to rebound from a rough 2021 debut when LA opens a three-game series against Philadelphia at Dodger Stadium. Gonsolin got just five outs in Pittsburgh last week after missing the first two months with a shoulder injury.

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