Dodgers lose Noah Syndergaard to finger injury but beat Brewers

MILWAUKEE — It took a village.

Seven relievers combined on eight innings of four-hit relief after starter Noah Syndergaard left the game with an injury – a bucket-brigade emergency response team as the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-2, Tuesday night.

Syndergaard was pitching for the first time after eight days off. Skipped in the rotation last week, the break was billed as an opportunity for the struggling right-hander to work on his mechanics and allow the Dodgers to line up their rotation for last weekend’s series in San Diego.

It was as obvious as the blood on Syndergaard’s finger that other things were in play.

Syndergaard had to leave the field during his warmups for the first inning with his right index finger bleeding. Officially explained as a “cut,” anyone who remembers the Rich Hill era in Los Angeles recognized it as looking more like a blister that had broken open and peeled away a chunk of skin.

Syndergaard received treatment in the dugout and returned to the mound – for one inning. He left the game after 20 pitches in a scoreless first.

If Syndergaard’s finger injury lands him on the injured list, right-hander Gavin Stone would be available to take his turn on Monday. Stone made his MLB debut for the Dodgers last week and started for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. He threw 91 pitches over 5-1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits and four walks.

The Dodgers’ bullpen went to work early with Phil Bickford following Syndergaard and allowing one hit in the third inning. Justin Bruihl, Yency Almonte and Victor Gonzalez kept the relief relay going and the group retired 13 consecutive Brewers until Shelby Miller allowed home runs to Rowdy Tellez and Victor Caratini in the seventh inning.

That only slightly dented a lead the Dodgers began building even before Syndergaard took the mound for his brief appearance.

Mookie Betts led off the game with a home run off Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer. Freddie Freeman followed with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pickoff throw by Lauer and scored on a sacrifice fly by Will Smith.

Smith added a solo home run off Lauer. James Outman doubled and scored a run on Miguel Rojas’ RBI single.

It was an abundance of riches for a Dodgers team that has struggled against left-handed pitching this year – and Lauer for years. The former Padre came into the game with a 7-1 record and 2.37 ERA in 11 previous starts against the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have been one of MLB’s worst at hitting left-handers this season. Even after chasing Lauer in the fourth inning Tuesday, they are hitting a collective .197 off left-handed pitchers this season.

Miguel Vargas added a two-run home run off right-handed reliever Bryse Wilson. It was Vargas’ third home run and eighth extra-base hit in his past 10 games.

More to come on this story.

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