The Oklahoma City Dodgers scored six runs with two outs and Justin Masterson delivered five scoreless innings in his first start of the season as the Dodgers won handily over the Nashville Sounds, 8-1, Thursday night at First Tennessee Park.
Making his first start of 2017, Masterson (1-0) limited Nashville to a pair of hits with two walks and five strikeouts. He got stronger as his outing progressed, retiring the final 10 batters he faced. Masterson also did not allow a runner to reach scoring position.
The Dodgers (4-4) tallied 10 hits and went 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Alex Verdugo had a game-high three hits and was one of three Dodgers with a multi-hit game. The 20-year-old outfielder is now 10-for-20 over his last five games.
OKC opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Rob Segedin and Verdugo started the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. Brett Eibner came up next and sent a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 1-0.
Cody Bellinger added to the lead in the third inning when he connected on his second home run of the season. Bellinger’s solo blast ended up in the picnic area in right-center field, doubling the OKC advantage.
The Dodgers further extended the lead in top of the fifth inning. OKC had a runner at first with two outs before Chris Taylor hit an infield single, with Nashville third baseman Renato Nunez also committing a throwing error on the play.
With first base open, the Sounds (3-5) intentionally walked Bellinger, loading the bases for O’Koyea Dickson. On the first pitch, Dickson hit a double to left field, plating a pair of runs and stretching the lead to 4-0.
OKC broke the game open with four more runs in the eighth inning. Willie Calhoun knocked a RBI single to push his current hitting streak to seven games. Later in the inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Taylor smoked a double into left field to plate two more runs. A wild pitch scored the fourth run of the frame to make it 8-0.
The Sounds got their offense going a bit in the bottom of the inning, starting off with three straight hits and capped with a RBI single by Franklin Barreto. The run ended a stretch of 16 consecutive scoreless innings by the OKC pitching staff.
After Barreto’s single, Dodgers reliever Jacob Rhame retired the next three batters to limit the damage. Brandon Morrow finished off the Sounds in the ninth by retiring the side in order, including two strikeouts.
The Dodgers pitching staff racked up 10 more strikeouts Thursday, and over the past two games the staff has 26 strikeouts against just two walks.
Nashville starting pitcher Zach Neal was tagged with the loss. Neal (0-1) allowed four runs and five hits over 4.2 innings. He walked struck and struck out one.
The Dodgers have now won four of five games and will look to go above .500 for the first time this season when they finish their series with the Sounds at 6:35 p.m. Friday at First Tennessee Park. Live coverage begins at 6:20 p.m. on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.