Friday at Dodger Stadium was less of a game than it was a nine-inning test of wills, and one that saw Yasmani Grandal and the Dodgers come out on top 10-6 over the Padres in a tidy three hours, 45 minutes to snap a three-game losing streak.
Grandal had himself quite the night, hitting three home runs, driving in six runs, becoming the third Dodgers catcher with three home runs in a game, joining Roy Campanella (Aug. 26, 1950) and Mike Piazza (June 29, 1996) as the only Dodgers catchers to do so.
Grandal also added a bunt single to beat the shift, threw out a runner trying to steal, and all this on a night that saw him take a foul ball directly off his mask that seemed to affect his jaw. And he topped off his night with a 106-mph single for the first five-hit game of his career.
He is the first Dodger to hit three home runs in a game and also have a bunt single. Juan Uribe, Tommy Brown and Gil Hodges (in his four-homer game) all added infield singles to their three-homer contests, but none were of the bunt variety.
Grandal had four home runs in his previous 10 starts, but still entered Friday hitting .189/.301/.371 in 219 plate appearances. But after the game, he is hitting .204/.317/.435, a whopping 80-point increase in OPS.
All that offense was needed because both starting pitchers were terrible.
Scott Kazmir threw 85 pitches but lasted only three innings, allowing three runs, but he was by far the best starter in the game. Andrew Cashner allowed eight runs and recorded only eight outs, including four home runs, with Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick also going deep.
"Andrew Cashner usually calls his dad after every start," Vin Scully said on the SportsNet LA broadcast. "I'm not sure he's going to call Texas tonight."
Dodgers starting pitchers have lasted a total of 25 innings in their last six games, with the bullpen during that span tossing 34 innings. The bullpen savior on Friday for the Dodgers was Pedro Baez, one of five relief pitchers used by the team, throwing 2⅔ scoreless innings to earn the win.
Grandal also overshadowed Melvin Upton, who hit two home runs and stole a base in a four-hit night of his own for the Padres.
It was a weird contest, one that saw Adrian Gonzalez score from first on a double, one that saw an interference call cost the Padres a run in the first inning, a frame that saw Kazmir throw 34 pitches.
There was also the major league debut of Andrew Toles, who doubled in his first at-bat. He is the first Dodger to double on the first major league pitch he saw since Adrian Beltre on June 24, 1998.
Gonzalez and Turner each had two hits, including a double, and two walks, and Yasiel Puig singled, doubled and walked. But the night belonged to Grandal.
The Dodgers will send Brandon McCarthy to the hill on Saturday afternoon, a 4:15 p.m. PT start on Fox. The Padres will counter with right-hander Luis Perdomo.
Home runs: Justin Turner (13), Yasmani Grandal 3 (12), Howie Kendrick (4); Melvin Upton Jr. 2 (16)
WP - Pedro Baez (2-2): 2⅔ IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts
LP - Andrew Cashner (3-7): 2⅔ IP, 8 hits, 8 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts