Home runs by Will Smith and Chris Taylor power Dodgers past Phillies

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Chase Utley was in attendance at Dodger Stadium on Monday night, and the fans rewarded him with a nice cheer when he was shown on the video board.

Frank Vogel, the Lakers’ coach, was at the game too. When he was shown, the fans barely stirred. As Utley and the Dodgers of the 2010s know all too well, Los Angeles is not impressed with a team that exits the playoffs after one round.

Can the 2021 Dodgers repeat as World Series champions, or might they be excused from the playoffs after one round too?

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You could find reasons to support either proposition in Monday’s 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Dodgers posted their sixth win in seven games. They joined the San Francisco Giants as the only National League teams with 40 victories.

The Dodgers (40-26) still trail San Francisco by one game, but they have opened a three-game lead on third-place San Diego. The Dodgers and Padres play three games next week at Petco Park, and whatever urgency there might be in June will not be on the Dodgers’ side.

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Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers’ formerly beleaguered closer, earned the save and lowered his earned-run average to 1.63. He has pitched 27-2/3 innings this season and given up nine hits.

Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin lasted just 3-2/3 innings in a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night. He threw 81 pitches.

(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

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Will Smith hit a home run, and so did Chris Taylor. The Dodgers won a game in which Mookie Betts, Gavin Lux and Justin Turner were hitless and Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Corey Seager were out with injuries.

“I think it speaks to the depth we have as a team, as an organization,” Smith said.

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Other than the home runs, though, the Dodgers were one-hit. The Dodgers had two chances with runners in scoring position; they went 0 for 2.

Zach McKinstry, manning right field because Betts is needed in center to replace the injured Bellinger, turned the wrong way on one fly ball and had another glance off his glove as he dived for it. Neither one of those plays counted for an error, but Taylor bobbled a ground ball and was charged with an error.

The most pressing concern was Tony Gonsolin, who has made two starts this season and struggled mightily with his control in both.

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In his first start, Gonsolin faced 12 batters, walking five and getting five outs. On Monday, he faced 18 batters, walking three and getting 11 outs.

Progress, to be sure, but throwing 81 pitches and failing to survive the fourth inning is problematic.

“I’ve got to stop walking guys and throw more competitive pitches,” Gonsolin said.

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Said manager Dave Roberts: “When he takes the mound next time, I’m not expecting it to be a bullpen game.”

Gonsolin’s return was supposed to replace “bullpen game” in the fifth spot in the rotation, essentially vacant since Dustin May’s season-ending elbow injury.

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.

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However, in his first game, the Dodgers needed five relievers to cover 7-1/3 innings. On Monday, they needed six relievers to cover 5-1/3 innings. In neither case did the relievers give up a run.

“The bullpen won the game for us,” Roberts said.

The Dodgers won. The concerns linger, but this is still a wounded team with a .606 winning percentage and the second-best record in the NL.

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Reopening day

Dodger Stadium returns to full capacity Tuesday, and the team plans to celebrate by wearing the gold-trimmed championship uniforms it donned when it opened the season April 1 before an announced crowd of 20,570.

It is uncertain how close the Dodgers might come to a sellout Tuesday. As of Monday night, tickets on the field, loge and reserve levels were available on the team website, as were tickets in the top deck.

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