Bobby Miller struggles, but Shohei Ohtani homers as Dodgers rally to victory

A homecoming king, Bobby Miller is not.

The Dodgers right-hander who grew up McHenry, Ill., about 60 miles northwest of Chicago, made his second start of the season in the Second City Tuesday night, with 30 to 35 family members and friends among the crowd of 23,662 in Guaranteed Rate Field, and it was every bit as bad as the first.

But just like they did in Miller’s rocky Wrigley Field start in early April, the Dodgers took Miller off the hook for a potential loss and rallied for a victory, this one a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox, who have the worst record (21-60) in baseball.

Shohei Ohtani hit his team-leading 24th home run and drove in the go-ahead run in the fourth, and six relievers — Michael Peterson, Yohan Ramirez, Anthony Banda, Blake Treinen, Daniel Hudson and Evan Phillips — combined for seven scoreless innings, as the Dodgers reached the halfway point of the season with a 50-31 record.

Miller, in his second start after a two-month absence because of a shoulder injury, gave up three earned runs and four hits in two innings, striking out one and walking three, and he needed 60 pitches to record six outs.

In two starts in Chicago, the first a 9-7 Dodgers victory over the Cubs on April 6, Miller has given up eight runs and eight hits, including two home runs, in 3 ⅔ innings for a 19.63 ERA, with four strikeouts and five walks.

Miller seemed to regress from his first start back from injury, when his stuff was good but he gave up five runs and six hits, struck out two and walked three in 6 ⅓ innings of a 7-6 loss at Colorado last Wednesday.

The average velocity on his four-seam fastball (97.1 mph) Tuesday night was a tick down from his season average of 98.1 mph, and his overall command was not good.

But the Dodgers got some stout relief work from their bullpen and made the most out of eight hits to win the second game of the series.

Ohtani gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with a leadoff homer that right fielder Tommy Pham got a glove on but was not able to secure above the wall. Ohtani was halfway to second when he realized he might have missed first base, so he returned to touch the bag before continuing his trot.

It was the ninth straight game with an RBI for Ohtani, which tied a franchise record held by five players and was last achieved by Roy Campanella in 1955.

Miller threw two strikes to Pham to open the bottom of the first, but the inning quickly unraveled. Miller threw four consecutive balls to walk Pham and piped a 97-mph first-pitch fastball to Andrew Benintendi, who crushed a two-run homer to right field for a 2-1 lead.

Luis Robert Jr. reached on an infield single, and Eloy Jimenez smoked an RBI double to left for a 3-1 lead. Gavin Sheets flied out to center for the first out on Miller’s 21st pitch.

Miller won an 11-pitch battle against Paul DeJong, striking out the White Sox shortstop with a 98-mph fastball, and he got Korey Lee to pop out, but he needed 38 pitches to complete the inning.

Miller gave up a single in the second to Nicky Lopez, who was then out on Lenyn Sosa’s double-play grounder, but he walked Pham and Benintendi before getting Robert to ground out. His pitch count at 60, Miller was pulled in favor of Peterson to start the third.

The Dodgers tied the score 3-3 in the third when Ohtani walked and Freddie Freeman drove an opposite-field two-run homer to left off Chicago starter Chris Flexen.

Gavin Lux walked with one out in the fourth, took third on a Miguel Vargas single to left, giving the reserve outfielder hits in each of his last nine starts, and scored on Ohtani’s RBI single to right for a 4-3 lead.

Teo is back

Teoscar Hernández returned to the team Tuesday afternoon after traveling to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of his 94-year-old grandfather, Pedro Perez, who died on Sunday morning. The outfielder was not in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game but was available to pinch-hit.

“I was close with him for my whole life, and he just loved, loved, loved baseball,” Hernández said of his grandfather, who was in failing health. “He was a really big fan. But he was getting sicker and sicker, so at some point, we were waiting for it. But I think now he’s in a better place. More peace.”

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