LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ross Stripling pitched as though he had somewhere else to be.
The former All-Star threw 88 pitches in a career-high eight innings to rescue an overworked bullpen, inducing soft contact rather than dazzling with high velocity, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 Sunday to snap a six-game skid.
Stripling joked about getting everyone home in time for dinner and the final season premiere of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
“It’s what I ordered,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Ross was really good. He mixed up his pitches really well, got ahead of hitters.”
Stripling became the first Dodgers starter to throw eight innings this season when the bullpen has been stressed in the first full month.
“In an ideal world they’d all go eight,” Roberts said. “Ross understood our situation and was efficient.”
The Dodgers’ rotation has been without Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill since the season began. Hyun-Jin Ryu got hurt earlier in the week when the team lost four straight in St. Louis, putting more pressure on the bullpen. Kershaw is due back Monday and Hill appears to be close behind.
“I don’t think any of us got more than five innings,” Stripling said of the St. Louis series. “To get through eight, definitely proud of that.”
Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo homered to help the Dodgers avoid back-to-back sweeps for the first time since 2017 when they last dropped seven games in a row.
Los Angeles leads the National League with 35 home runs and has homered in 15 of 17 games.
Stripling (1-1) earned his first win in his fourth start of the season. The right-hander didn’t record his first strikeout until the sixth inning and instead retired 14 of his first 17 batters on flyouts or grounders.
Stripling allowed one run and four hits, struck out three and walked one.
“When you have a pitcher who is hitting his spots and getting groundball outs, it makes it a little bit easier for the hitters,” Verdugo said. “He got us up and down quick.”
The Dodgers jumped on Jhoulys Chacin (2-2) in the first inning, taking a 2-0 lead on a two-out RBI single by Verdugo.
Pederson homered with two outs in the second, making it 3-0.
The Dodgers tacked on three runs in the third on Max Muncy’s RBI single and a two-run RBI single by Chris Taylor that chased Chacin.
Chacin gave up six runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings, struck out three and walked three. The right-hander’s six earned runs ended a streak of allowing three or fewer over his previous 14 starts since Aug. 8 against San Diego.
“I’m either really good against these guys or really bad,” Chacin said. “Walks hurt me today and with their lineup you can’t give them walks. I need to make better pitches and I didn’t do that.”
Verdugo homered leading off the fifth against Chase Anderson.
The Brewers managed just three hits — a double by Travis Shaw and singles from Chacin and Yasmani Grandal — through the first seven innings.
“Stripling had a great outing,” Grandal said of his former teammate. “He threw a lot of backdoor sliders especially to the lefties and he’s got four pitches that he throws well.”
Milwaukee’s lone run came on pinch-hitter Eric Thames’ sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Brewers: RHP Jeremy Jeffress (right shoulder) could be ready to return by Monday or Tuesday. … RHP Jimmy Nelson (right shoulder surgery) remains in Arizona rehabilitating and no date has been set for his return.
Dodgers: Hill (left knee strain) will make a minor league rehab start Wednesday at either Class A Rancho Cucamonga or Triple-A Oklahoma City. He’ll toss four innings and 60 pitches, followed by an inning in the bullpen. … LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left groin strain) will throw a 40-pitch bullpen session Monday. … C Russell Martin (low back inflammation) has yet to be cleared for baseball activities.
GRANDAL VS LA
Grandal hit safely in all three games against his old team in his return to LA. He was 6 for 11 with a homer and two RBI in the series. This month, he’s hitting .514 with four homers and seven RBIs.
BRING HIM UP
The Dodgers recalled RHP Josh Sborz from Triple-A Oklahoma City in his first major league promotion since being added to the 40-man roster in November. Sborz has made two appearances for OKC this season, tossing four scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and a walk. The 25-year-old was the 74th overall pick by the Dodgers in the 2015 draft out of Virginia.
The team optioned RHP Dennis Santana to OKC. In three games with the Dodgers this season, he went 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA with six strikeouts and four walks.
Milwaukee acquired catcher David Freitas from the Seattle Mariners for minor league RHP Sal Biasi.
Freitas appeared in one game with Seattle this season, going 0 for 2 with one run, one RBI and a walk on March 28 against Boston. After being optioned to Triple-A Tacoma the following day, Freitas hit .278 with four runs in six games with the Rainiers.
Biasi has made three relief appearances with Single-A Wisconsin this season. He is 1-0 and hasn’t allowed a run in four innings pitched, while striking out five and walking two.
Brewers: RHP Freddy Peralta (1-0, 6.91 ERA) starts Monday at home against St. Louis. He is 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Cardinals.
Dodgers: Kershaw makes his season debut against Cincinnati Monday after left shoulder inflammation limited him in spring training.