The Dodgers smacked seven home runs on Monday, their most in a decade, including four in one inning, outscoring the Reds 18-9 to secure a series split in Cincinnati and a winning road trip.
The victory moved the Dodgers one game ahead of the Giants in the National League West, one day before those two clubs face off for three games at Dodger Stadium.
Three of those home runs were hit by Adrian Gonzalez, who has rediscovered his power stroke on the road trip. He hit a three-run home run in the first and seventh innings, and a solo shot in the fifth.
Gonzalez had a chance for a fourth home run in the eighth inning, but settled on an RBI ground out.
The eight RBI set a career high for Gonzalez, and the three home runs matched his mark on April 8, 2015 against San Diego. He hit five home runs and drove in 14 during the seven-game road trip.
After his third home run, Gonzalez was well within range of a SportsNet LA microphone, and could be heard saying, “I love this ballpark” as he approached the dugout.
In 32 career games at Great American Ballpark, Gonzalez has hit .328/.376/.702 with 12 home runs, 13 doubles and 31 RBI.
The Dodgers struck for four runs in the first, including the home run by Gonzalez, batting third on Monday with Justin Turner getting the day off. It was the fourth time in seven games on this road trip that there was a three-run home run within the first four batters of the game, twice in the Dodgers’ favor.
It was also the sixth career home run against Reds starter Homer Bailey for Gonzalez, who is 11-for-25 (.440) against the right-hander in his career. Though most of that production came earlier in their careers; Gonzalez was 2-for-8 with no extra-base hits against Bailey from 2013-2015.
Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 15 games, hitting .410 (24-for-61) during that span along with six home runs, seven doubles, 16 runs scored and 18 RBI.
The home run for Gonzalez in the fifth inning was the Dodgers’ fourth of the inning, the first time they have done that since the 4+1 Game on Sept. 18, 2006 against San Diego.
The first two of those home runs in the inning were hit by Andrew Toles and Rob Segedin on back-to-back pitches. It was the first major league home run for both.
Toles, a late addition to the lineup when Josh Reddick was scratched with a jammed right middle finger, also had a run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly, driving in four. Toles is the 11th different Dodger to drive in four runs in a game this season.
Segedin drove in two runs himself, giving him 11 RBI in 35 major league plate appearances.
The Wright stuff
Corey Seager hit the other home run in the fifth inning, one of his four hits on the day. His 22nd home run on the season matched Glenn Wright (1930) for the most home runs in a season by a Dodgers shortstop.
Seager, who scored three and drove in three on Monday, extended his own hitting streak to 13 games, hitting .491 (26-for-53) during the streak.
On the season, Seager is up to .321/.375/.540, on pace for 203 hits, 44 doubles and 29 home runs.
Another short start
Scott Kazmir was staked to leads of 4-0 and 6-1, and in fairness his first run allowed only scored when right fielder Andrew Toles had no idea where a would-be inning-ending fly ball was in the first inning, instead allowing the ball to drop for an RBI triple for Adam Duvall.
But even giving Kazmir the benefit of the doubt, his command was terrible on Monday, going to three balls on nine of his 17 batters faced, walking three with only one strikeout.
Kazmir allowed three runs in the third inning and was pulled with the tying runs on base and two outs, needing 78 pitches to record only eight outs.
Outside of the six scoreless innings by Julio Urias on Sunday, the other three Dodgers starting pitchers in Cincinnati — Bud Norris, Brett Anderson and Kazmir — combined to allow 16 runs on 22 hits in 9⅓ innings, with nine walks and five strikeouts.
Dodgers starting pitchers have a 6.45 ERA in August. The club is somehow 10-9 this month.
The 18 runs on Monday are a season high for the Dodgers, their most since plating 19 on Sept. 28, 2006 at Coors Field.
The seven home runs were one shy of the Dodgers’ franchise best, set on May 23, 2002 in Milwaukee, the game that saw Shawn Green hit four homers himself.
The Dodgers are 16-0 when hitting at least three home runs in a game this season.
Gonzalez is the third Dodger to hit three home runs in a game in 2016, joining Seager (June 3) and Yasmani Grandal (July 8). The only Dodgers season with more three-homer games was 1950, when Gil Hodges (four home runs), Roy Campanella, Duke Snider and Tommy Brown did so for Brooklyn.
Bud Norris, who started on Friday night, pitched in relief on Monday, starting the eighth inning, though he only retired two of his five batters faced and allowed a run to score.
Old friend Jumbo Diaz, making his 128th career relief appearance for the Reds, made his first major league plate appearance in the fifth inning. He grounded out.
Outfielder Tyler Holt pitched the ninth inning for the Reds. Naturally, he retired the Dodgers in order. Holt was the only one of six Reds pitchers on Monday not to allow any runs.
The Dodgers return home for a showdown series against the rival Giants in Los Angeles. Kenta Maeda starts the series opener on Tuesday night, a 7:10 p.m. PT start, with Madison Bumgarner getting the call for San Francisco.
Home runs: Adrian Gonzalez 3 (15), Andrew Toles (1), Rob Segedin (1), Corey Seager (22), Yasmani Grandal (21)
WP - Jesse Chavez (2-2): 1⅓ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 strikeout
LP - Homer Bailey (2-2): 2⅓ IP, 9 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk