LOS ANGELES (AP) — Yasmani Grandal had an emotional and satisfying return to Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
The Milwaukee catcher, who was with Los Angeles for four seasons, went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs in his first game back at Chavez Ravine as he led the Brewers to an 8-5 victory over the Dodgers.
Grandal received his National League championship ring in the clubhouse before the game and got some nice applause from the 43,643 fans on hand before his first at-bat. The Dodgers also showed a video highlighting his time with the Dodgers.
“For me, it was surprising and emotional for the same time,” Grandal said about the first at-bat. “I really wasn’t really expecting it. I’ve seen countless guys who have played here for a long time and not get that reception. I’m very thankful for the fans to do that.”
Those same fans weren’t happy with him in the fifth after he put a changeup from Julio Urias (0-1) over the wall in left field to put Milwaukee on top for good.
Grandal said before the game that he figured his time with the Dodgers was up last year due to their young catching prospects already in the system. He ended up signing a one-year $18.25-million deal with Milwaukee that includes a mutual option for 2020.
The Dodgers might be rethinking that two weeks into the season. Grandal is batting .536 in April (15 for 28) with four home runs and seven RBIs.
Grandal’s homer was one of five in the game, which was a rematch of last year’s NL Championship Series, and all but one produced a lead change.
“It’s going to be a good series,” Grandal said. “It’s going to depend on which team can get hot. It seems like both of us are searching to figure things out.”
Hernan Perez also homered for the Brewers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Matt Albers (1-0), the second of six Milwaukee pitchers, got the win as the bullpen held the Dodgers scoreless over 4 2/3 innings. Corbin Burnes started and allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
“Ultimately, we got some big efforts by our bullpen,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It ended up we kind of outlasted them and those late runs gave us some breathing room.”
The Dodgers clubbed three homers, but have dropped five straight. Cody Bellinger had a two-run shot to right in the third for his NL-leading eighth, and Corey Seager and Joc Pederson also went deep.
Urias went five innings and gave up six runs, including five earned, and six hits.
“Grandal is swinging the bat well, but we didn’t make pitches,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “What hitters do is they take advantage of mistakes and that’s what he did.”
Milwaukee took a 2-0 lead in the first on RBI singles by Ryan Braun and Grandal. Los Angeles got on the board in the bottom half of the inning on a solo blast by Seager to left-center.
The teams then traded two-run homers for 2½ innings. The Dodgers went up on Bellinger’s blast in the third before Milwaukee answered in the fourth when Perez connected on a curveball by Urias to left-center to go back on top 4-3. The Dodgers responded with Pederson’s shot over the wall in right-center that gave them their last lead at 5-4.
After Grandal’s homer in the fifth, Jose Aguilar provided a pair of insurance runs. He had an RBI double in the seventh and a sacrifice fly in the ninth which plated Christian Yelich.
Los Angeles had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth when Josh Hader struck out Justin Turner.
Yelich and Lorenzo Cain became the first teammates to score their 500th career run in the same game. The last time a “milestone run” of 500 or higher was accomplished in the same game was on Aug. 22, 2015, when Atlanta’s Nick Markakis and Nick Swisher both scored their 800th career run.
Brewers: 3B Travis Shaw (right hand) took batting practice, but was not in the starting lineup. Shaw was hit by a pitch during the second inning Wednesday against the Angels and left the game.
Dodgers: Pitcher Rich Hill threw a 46-pitch, three-inning simulated game and then had another 15 pitches in the bullpen. Roberts said the left-hander will throw a bullpen session Sunday and a likely rehab start late next week.
Umpires: Home-plate umpire Brian Knight is in concussion protocol after a foul ball by Pederson knocked his mask off during the first inning. Pat Hoberg, who was at second base to start the game, called balls and strikes after Knight left the game.