Masterful Maeda manhandles D-backs

The Associated Press

Los Angeles starter Kenta Maeda delivers in the first inning of Saturday’s game against Arizona.

The Associated PressLOS ANGELES (AP) — Kenta Maeda’s confidence was waning after going more than two months without a win and he knew he had to make some changes. The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher made his adjustments between starts and, for at least one night, appeared dominant.

The Japanese right-hander allowed only three hits over seven innings and struck out six as the Dodgers defeated Arizona 4-0 Saturday.

“Tonight, to give us seven strong innings, was really, really good,” manager Dave Roberts said. “More importantly, it was good for our ballclub and our confidence.”

Maeda admitted his mechanics were off the last two months as he went 0-6 in his previous 11 starts. The last three were his worst of the season, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) in 11 innings.

Maeda (8-8) made two big adjustments going into Saturday’s start — he adjusted his arm slot so that it was higher and he was more aggressive with his fastball early.

He retired the side in order his first time through the lineup before Jarrod Dyson led off the fourth with a single. Ketel Marte was the only Arizona player to reach scoring position when he singled to left, stole second with two outs and advanced to third on a wild pitch. The shortstop failed to score as Maeda struck out David Peralta to end the frame.

“By getting the win tonight I was able to bring myself up and feel more confident,” said Maeda, who pitched seven or more scoreless innings in a start for the fifth time in his career. “I was able to mix in everything tonight. The fastball conviction was there and I was able to execute my game plan.”

Said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo of Maeda: “He just was throwing balls off the edge of the plate, crowding us when he needed to at the right time, and just really didn’t give us a chance to get some extension and do the things that we do best.”

Ohtani throws bullpen session

BOSTON (AP) — The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and said his velocity is improving.

“Before I get into the breaking balls, I need to hit my velocity, but I think we’re getting close,” Ohtani said through an interpreter.

He reached as high as 132 kph and joked that put him at “probably about 82 percent” of his goal. Angels manager Brad Ausmus is pleased at the progress.

“He was good. No complaints, so that was good,” he said. “There were some positives, but obviously at the end we need results as a team.”Speech

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