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Dodgers home run trio beats Braves

Andre Ethier hit the first of three home runs in the eighth inning for the Dodgers.
Andre Ethier hit the first of three home runs in the eighth inning for the Dodgers.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers ended nearly nine games worth of pent-up offensive frustration with three home runs in the eighth inning off Nick Masset to give the Dodgers a 6-3 win over the Braves in the opener of a three-game series on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Andre Ethier hit a solo shot, Alex Guerrero hit a two-run shot, and Jimmy Rollins hit a solo shot off Masset for a four-run inning, more runs that the Dodgers scored in any of their previous eight games.

The Dodgers continue to lead the National League in home runs, and their 60 long balls is the fourth-most by a Dodgers team through 44 games of the season, trailing only 2000 (71), 1955 (67) and 1961 (61). Manager Don Mattingly thinks ultimately the home runs will go down but the offense will still be productive.

Not that the home runs weren't welcome.

"I don't think that's the kind of club we'll necessarily end up being, but I don't mind it," Mattingly said.

The Dodgers needed those home runs on Monday night, giving them six runs for the 14th time in 26 home games this season. After scoring nine runs in the last eight games combined, the runs were a welcome sight, and one Mattingly has maintained for a couple of days was coming.

"You have guys with track records, guys that can hit. Guys who are giving you professional at-bats," Mattingly said. "Even in San Francisco, we had good at-bats there. I thought the middle game was not great, but other than that the at-bats were good, and the attitude was good. I knew it was going to change."

"This happens two or three times per year, to every team."

Ethier, who drove in the Dodgers' first run with a bases-loaded walk in the first inning, was 2-for-3 on Monday and is hitting a robust .313/.407/.548 on the season.

Guerrero's home run was his third as a pinch-hitter this season.

Rollins' home run was his fifth of the season, and helped overcome a night that saw him bunt into two outs at third base.

Through seven innings the Dodgers put 16 runners on bases - eight hits, seven walks and a hit batsman - including loading the bases three times, but they only scored twice, on a walk and a little dribbler that traveled maybe 70 feet.

The dribbler came from Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, hit just soft enough to ensure pitcher Luis Avilan had only one play. It snapped an eight-game skid for Gonzalez without a run driven in, and was the 999th RBI of his career.

Brett Anderson pitched a season-high seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks. He induced 12 ground ball outs to just one fly out on the night.

Adam Liberatore pitched a perfect eighth inning for his first major league win.

With a four-run lead, Chris Hatcher allowed two batters to reach to open the ninth inning, but Kenley Jansen came in to record the final three outs for his fourth save of the season.

Jansen has faced 16 batters this season, and has nine strikeouts

Taming the wild

Williams Perez struggled early, allowing eight runners to reach base in the first three innings, throwing only 31 of his first 60 pitches for strikes. But only one or those runners scored.

The main culprits for the failure to capitalize early were a bunt attempt by Rollins (his decision, not a call from the bench to sacrifice) in the first inning that erased Joc Pederson at third base after a leadoff double; and two bases loaded at-bats by Scott Van Slyke, who popped out to short right field on a 3-1 count to end the first, then grounded into a double play on a 3-0 green light to red light the third inning.

Perez really settled down after the third inning. Beginning with the Van Slyke double play, Perez retired 10 of his final 11 batters faced, including five by strikeout. He struck out seven in his six innings and left with a lead, but he like Anderson left with a no-decision.

Monday particulars

Home runs: Andre Ethier (6), Alex Guerrero (8), Jimmy Rollins (5)

WP - Adam Liberatore (1-1): 3 up, 3 down

LP - Nick Masset (0-1): 1 IP, 3 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Sv - Kenley Jansen (4): 1 IP, 1 strikeout