NEW YORK (AP) — Some of Ian Thomas’ teammates say he looks like Clayton Kershaw. While he may not have flirted with a perfect game like Dodgers ace the previous night, the Los Angeles rookie filled in admirably in an emergency start at Citi Field.
Thomas pitched five effective innings in his first major league start, Justin Turner homered and drove in three runs against his former club, and the Dodgers beat the New York Mets 7-2 on Friday night.
“I’ve been called Clayton a few times so far,” Thomas said. “I guess it’s the scruff and the hair a little bit, but far away from what he’s been doing. Trying to catch up to him is gonna be a long road.”
The Dodgers spoiled the major league debut of outfielder Michael Conforto, the Mets’ first-round draft pick last year who was promoted from Double-A Binghamton earlier in the day. Conforto drove in the Mets’ first run with an RBI groundout in the fifth inning, and finished 0-for-3.
“I thought he looked good,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “He’s got a nice approach, some patience at the plate, so I was very pleased with what I saw.”
Thomas (1-1) allowed one run and three hits over five innings. The left-hander, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma on Wednesday, pitched in place of All-Star Zack Greinke— who left the team Thursday morning for the birth of his first child.
“He’s a guy that’s kind of been versatile both ways,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s been pretty good out of the pen and obviously we see tonight that he’s got enough mix to be able to get into a game.”
The Dodgers scored early and often off Mets starter Jonathan Niese (5-9), who allowed six runs and eight hits — including home runs by Turner and Yasiel Puig — in three innings.
Jimmy Rollins also homered off Hansel Robles in the eighth for the Dodgers, giving the veteran shortstop 32 career home runs against the Mets.
Niese had quietly strung together eight consecutive quality starts before Friday’s outing. The left-hander’s availability was in question just a couple of hours before game time, with his wife expected to go into labor at any time.
Howie Kendrick started things off with a one-out single in the first inning, followed by a hard-hit RBI double by Turner to right-center.
Niese didn’t fare any better in the second, loading the bases with no outs after consecutive singles by Kike Hernandez and Jimmy Rollins, and a hit batter. Thomas then grounded into a run-scoring double play, followed by an RBI double to left by Joc Pederson to give Los Angeles a 3-0 lead.
Turner struck again in the third, crushing a 3-2 fastball into the seats in left-center field— a few rows behind the Party City Deck. Scott Van Slyke singled, followed by Puig’s homer on a 1-0 count, landing in almost the same spot as Turner’s and increasing the Dodgers’ lead to 6-0.
“I think for any player, if you ask them, it always feels good to get hits against your former team,” Turner said. “I don’t feel like I need to prove anything to them.”
Joel Peralta replaced Thomas to start the sixth, getting two quick outs before the Mets cut the deficit to 6-2 on an RBI single by Daniel Murphy, who drove in Ruben Tejada. Wilmer Flores followed with another single, chasing Peralta in place of Juan Nicasio— who struck out Lucas Duda to end the threat.
Dodgers: LF Alex Guerrero, originally slated to bat fifth Friday night, was a late scratch due to back stiffness. … 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who leads the team with 21 home runs, was given the night off. “He’s played both of the day games after the night games and I wanted to get him a day,” Mattingly said. … LHP Brett Anderson (irritated Achilles’ tendon) threw a bullpen and took part in agility drills before Friday’s game. He is a possibility to start on either Sunday against the Mets or Tuesday in Los Angeles against Oakland.
Mets: LF Michael Cuddyer was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Friday night’s game with inflammation in his left knee. The move was made retroactive to Wednesday.
Dodgers starting pitchers have not allowed more than four earned runs in 29 consecutive starts, the longest active streak in the majors.
Dodgers: Los Angeles has yet to announce a starter for Saturday’s matchup. Mattingly said after the game that Greinke would not make it to New York in time to start on Saturday. He is expected to start the series finale on Sunday afternoon, however.
Mets: RHP Matt Harvey (8-7, 3.19) takes the hill for the Mets on Saturday night, coming off a 7-2 loss in Washington on Monday in which he allowed five runs (four earned) over seven innings. Still working his way back from 2013 Tommy John surgery, the 26-year-old flamethrower has been uncharacteristically wild of late— walking 13 over his past three outings.
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