And it might not have even been the team’s most important development of the day.
Behind seven scoreless innings from Tyler Anderson and the offense’s second-highest scoring outburst of the season, the Dodgers improved to 66-32 and extended their lead in the National League West to 12 games over the idle San Diego Padres.
“Tonight was just an all-around good day to be a Dodger,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Including for a couple of injured pitchers now on the mend.
While the Dodgers dominated the Rockies (45-55), right-hander Dustin May completed his second rehabilitation start with triple-A Oklahoma City in his return from Tommy John surgery. And Thursday’s outing went much better than the first.
Unlike last week, when May struggled with his command during a two-inning appearance, the 24-year-old struck out six batters over three scoreless innings. He gave up only two hits. He touched 99.9 mph with his sinker. And he found the zone with 32 of his 46 pitches.
Before Thursday’s outing, Roberts said May would make at least one more rehab start next week. The team will then assess his progress, though it’s likely he will need another outing after that.
Either way, May remains on track to return to the major league roster sometime next month — which should give the Dodgers time to decide if he is ready to be part of their playoff starting rotation, or slot into a hybrid role that would be similar to his usage in previous postseasons.
Reliever Blake Treinen is on a similar track.
Roberts announced Thursday afternoon that Treinen, who stayed in Los Angeles, is scheduled to face live hitters Friday for the first time since injuring his shoulder in April — a key step in the reliever’s carefully managed recovery process.
The news came just two days after Roberts had initially said the right-hander was still a couple of weeks away from facing live hitting.
Since then, however, Treinen said he felt ready to take the next progression in his rehab, after several weeks of routine bullpen sessions.
“[He’s] getting closer,” Roberts said of when Treinen could return to the active roster. “I still don’t see Blake being back within the next three weeks. So end of August makes sense.”
For the Dodgers, the status of Treinen and May will not only be key come October but could help dictate how they approach Tuesday’s trade deadline.
If the team believes those two pitchers — as well as several other injured arms, including Walker Buehler, Brusdar Graterol, Tommy Kahnle, Danny Duffy and Victor González — will be able to contribute down the stretch, it could lessen their need to bolster the pitching staff.
Conversely, if those players fall behind schedule or suffer any setbacks, it might heighten the team’s urgency to acquire reinforcements on the mound — calculations that Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, said last week the team’s front office would have to make in the coming days.
“We don’t need anything,” Roberts said this week. “But any team can always get better on the margin. So if there’s something that makes sense, I have all the confidence in our guys that they’ll pull the trigger.”
In the meantime, the Dodgers’ current roster continued its roll through July on Thursday, moving to 19-4 this month by matching their most lopsided victory of the season.
Anderson keyed the team’s seventh shutout of the season — reliever Jake Reed and infielder Hanser Alberto also tossed scoreless innings — after shrugging off an early dispute, when Rockies manager Bud Black asked umpires at the start of the game to make the left-hander wipe a rosin spot on the brim of his cap.
“There was a little residue, residual stuff [from the] rosin on his hat,” Roberts said. “They just wanted to remove it.”
The Dodgers’ offense, meanwhile, got a three-hit, three-RBI performance from Trea Turner, three RBIs from Will Smith and three hits from Gavin Lux on a night everyone in the lineup reached safely at least once.
“We just put it on early,” Lux said, “and tried to play downhill from there.”
Ríos plays for Oklahoma City
Edwin Ríos began a rehab assignment Thursday at Oklahoma City, almost two months after the infielder went down because of a hamstring strain. Roberts said the team hasn’t decided how long Ríos would need in the minors. They want the slugger to get some consistent playing time after appearing in only 52 big league games the past two seasons.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.