Mookie Betts' hand injury overshadows Dodgers' series win over Royals

The good vibes derived from Tyler Glasnow’s dominant seven-inning start and Shohei Ohtani’s two-homer game were shattered in the seventh inning Sunday when a 98-mph fastball struck the left hand of Dodgers shortstop Mookie Betts, who writhed on the ground in pain for a few minutes before coming out of the game.

The Dodgers went on to defeat the Kansas City Royals, 3-0, in front of a sold-crowd of 52,789 in Chavez Ravine, but they may have lost their dynamic leadoff man in the process — and on the same day they put pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto on the 15-day injured list because of triceps tightness.

Betts, who is batting .304 with an .893 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 10 homers, 16 doubles, 40 RBIs and 50 runs, had a 1-and-2 count when he could not get out of the way of Royals reliever Dan Altavilla’s up-and-in heater. The ball appeared to hit Betts on the back of the left hand or wrist, which Betts clutched as he fell to the ground.

Betts, who was moved from right field to second base over the winter and from second base to shortstop because of Gavin Lux’s throwing woes in early March, was expected to undergo X-rays, the results of which were not immediately available.

If Betts goes on the injured list, the Dodgers would have an excellent defensive option at shortstop in Miguel Rojas, but Rojas is nowhere near the hitter Betts is, and he has been slowed this season by leg injuries and is unable to play every day. Utility man Kiké Hernández could also be used at shortstop.

The Betts injury put a damper on an otherwise successful afternoon for the Dodgers, Glasnow allowing three hits, striking out nine and walking one over seven scoreless innings and Ohtani and Freddie Freeman powering the offense with solo home runs.

Setup man Daniel Hudson struck out two of three batters in a scoreless eighth inning, and closer Evan Phillips threw a scoreless ninth for his 10th save.

Glasnow gave the Dodgers much-needed length after the team employed a “bullpen game” on Thursday night against the Texas Rangers and were forced into another bullpen game when Yamamoto left Saturday night’s start against the Royals after two innings because of injury.

Glasnow retired the side in order in the first two innings before giving up a leadoff single in the third to MJ Melendez, who was eventually wiped out on Kyle Isbel’s inning-ending double-play grounder.

He ran into trouble in the fourth when Bobby Witt Jr. reached on a one-out infield single and Vinnie Pasquantino walked, but he escaped the jam by striking out Salvador Perez with an 83-mph curve in the dirt and getting Adam Frazier to ground out to Betts, who ranged to the second-base side of the bag for Frazier’s grounder.

The Dodgers scored 10 runs behind Glasnow in an April 21 win over the New York Mets and a May 4 win over the Atlanta Braves, and then it was as if the spigot to the offense was turned off whenever the 6-foot-8 right-hander took the mound.

Glasnow went five straight starts from May 10 to June 4 in which his teammates scored no runs while he was pitching, a streak that was broken when they tallied three runs behind Glasnow in a 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees on June 9. In all, the Dodgers scored 12 runs in Glasnow’s previous six starts.

The run support for Glasnow wasn’t exactly robust on Sunday, but it was enough for him to improve to 7-5 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 starts on the season.

Ohtani gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead when he “used the big part of the field,” as manager Dave Roberts likes to say, crushing a 451-foot solo home run — his second-longest of the season — to left-center field off Royals right-hander Brady Singer in the third inning.

Ohtani had been “getting a little too rotational” in his swing over the past week, Roberts said, causing him to pull off pitches early and hit too many ground balls to the right side, but he stayed on Singer’s 93-mph sinker for his 18th homer of the season, a laser that left his bat at 114.3 mph.

Ohtani then crushed an 80-mph first-pitch slider from Singer over the right-field wall to lead off the sixth inning for his 19th homer of the season and 18th multiple-homer game of his career, this shot leaving his bat at 110.7 mph and traveling 400 feet.

Freeman followed with his 10th homer of the season, driving a 2-and-0 slider from Singer 401 feet to right-center field for a 3-0 Dodgers lead.

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