Tyler Glasnow dominates before making quick exit in Dodgers' sixth straight win

For the first time in his debut Dodgers season, there seemed to be a brief injury scare for starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow on Saturday.

After six stellar, suffocating, scoreless innings in a 4-2 Dodgers win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Glasnow returned to the mound in the seventh inning hoping to put the finishing touches on a second consecutive shutout performance.

Instead, he gave up a run, started flexing his throwing hand, and then left the game alongside a trainer. For a moment, it looked like a troubling sign for a veteran pitcher with a long list of past arm injuries.

But minutes after Glasnow left the mound, the team announced he was dealing only with cramping.

Any serious setback had seemingly been averted, and the good vibes that have surrounded the Dodgers (18-11) lately could continue.

“[There is] not any level of concern,” manager Dave Roberts said of Glasnow’s cramping, which the pitcher felt in both his right hand and right calf. “He’ll be fine.”

More than that, Roberts noted, his performance had been “fantastic.”

“When you acquire a guy like Tyler, you look at him as a frontline guy who can get the swing and mask and go deep in games and [help you] win baseball games when he pitches,” Roberts added of the club’s new ace, who is now 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA. “He’s done everything and more.”

With Saturday’s victory, the Dodgers have now won six straight games. In that span, they’ve outscored opponents 43-7. They haven’t trailed at any point since a one-run deficit early in Tuesday’s game.

And for the second time during the run, Glasnow was key to leading the Dodgers to victory.

Last Sunday, Glasnow spun eight scoreless innings in a win against the New York Mets that halted the Dodgers’ previous 3-7 slide.

His role Saturday in Toronto was even more important, protecting an early four-run lead with perhaps his most dominant stretch yet with the Dodgers.

Through the first six innings against a struggling Toronto offense, Glasnow’s execution was nearly flawless. He established his 96-mph fastball, which accounted for six of his nine total strikeouts and almost 70% of his 95 pitches.

He gradually layered in his breaking pitches, using his curveball for his other three strikeouts while limiting the Blue Jays (13-15) to one hit through six innings.

“Fastball was probably the best it’s been all year,” Glasnow said. “I was able to get a lot more swing and miss on it. It felt good. And the curveball was more there. Not spiking it a bunch.”

While Glasnow’s pitch count was up to 86 at the start of the seventh, Roberts didn’t hesitate to leave him in, confident the club’s key offseason trade acquisition and opening day ace — who had already eclipsed 100 pitches twice this season — hadn’t yet emptied the tank.

Instead, Glasnow walked the leadoff batter by missing badly with a fastball in a full count. Then, he was punished for a center-cut heater that Toronto outfielder Davis Schneider roped for an RBI double.

By that point, the Dodgers already had the bullpen active. And after allowing consecutive hitters to reach base, Glasnow’s day was nearing its end anyway, with Roberts planning to leave him for only another couple of hitters.

But as the ball landed in the gap, and Glasnow turned and growled in frustration, the 30-year-old also started to flex his throwing hand, prompting Roberts and a trainer to emerge from the dugout.

“It was my calf [at first],” Glasnow said of his cramping, “but a little bit at the end in my hand area.”

Like Roberts, though, Glasnow expressed no concern over his early exit, confident the cramps won’t derail a banner start to his debut Dodgers season.

“It’s happened before. I know what I have to do to get rid of it,” he said. “It was a little bit more humid than I thought today. I think I sweat so much … there’s stuff to mitigate it so I’m good to go.”

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