The Dodgers continued to use brute force to win a fourth straight game on Tuesday night. They hit three home runs and four doubles to beat the Phillies 9-3 in the middle game of their three-game series at Dodgers Stadium, and are now tied for first place in the National League West.
When Clayton Kershaw last started on June 26, the Dodgers lost to fall a season-worst eight games back of the Giants in the NL West. But since then, with Kershaw not throwing a single pitch, the club has the best record in the majors at 23-13, and are now tied for first place in the division, with 49 games remaining.
The main driver of the club’s success has been a resurgent offense that has scored 5.08 runs per game since Kershaw went down, and the usual suspects were at play on Tuesday night.
The club hit three more home runs on Tuesday night, after homering three times on Sunday and four times on Monday. It marked the first time the Dodgers have hit three home runs in three straight games since May 7-10, 2006.
Howie Kendrick hit a two-run home run on is bobblehead night, a straightaway shot off the top of the wall in center field that keyed a four-run rally in the second inning. He also doubled in a run in the fifth.
Since that last Kershaw start, Kendrick is hitting .297/.366/.471 with 16 extra-base hits in 36 games.
Yasmani Grandal added a towering two-run home run to right field in the third inning, his second home run in as many nights to continue his blazing hot six weeks.
Since June 27, Grandal is hitting .330/.452/.755 with 12 home runs and 23 RBI in 28 games. His 18 home runs on the season are tied with Wilson Ramos of the Nationals for most home runs by a catcher in baseball.
Not to be outdone, Justin Turner hit a two-run shot of his own to left field in the fourth inning, his 21st of the season to match Corey Seager for the team lead. Turner since Kershaw’s last start is hitting .319/.363/.625 with 14 doubles, 10 home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games.
Kenta Maeda allowed two home runs himself and had some rough spots, but despite a high pitch count found a way to last through five innings to pick up his 11th win of the season. He even doubled at the plate, adding the Dodgers’ power display.
Maeda reached 130⅔ innings on the season, earning another $250,000 for passing 130 innings. To date in 2016, counting his $1 million signing bonus and $3 million base salary, Maeda has earned $7.4 million of a possible $14.15 million.
Adrian Gonzalez doubled in the second inning to start a four-run rally, and his line drive into the right field corner was his 20th double of the season. It marked the 11th consecutive season for Gonzalez with at least 20 doubles, one of seven active players with an active streak at least that long.
The quintet of Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Nick Markakis were also joined earlier Tuesday Adrian Beltre. Kendrick has 18 doubles on the season, two shy of joining the 11-straight club.
Gonzalez, who also doubled in the third inning, has 395 doubles since the start of the 2006 season, third in the majors behind only Cano (439) and Cabrera (419).
Gonzalez also has four straight multi-hit games, 10-for-16 (.625) during that span.
Grant Dayton had a fantastic year between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, putting up a 2.42 ERA in the minors while striking out a whopping 91 of his 198 batters faced (46 percent).
In his third major league appearance on Tuesday, Dayton struck out two more in a perfect inning. So far in MLB the 28-year-old left-hander has five scoreless innings, allowing only a walk and a hit by pitch, and has struck out eight of his 17 batters faced (47.1 percent).
The Dodgers go for the sweep on Wednesday afternoon, a 12:10 p.m. PT start, with Scott Kazmir on the mound. Jeremy Hellickson starts for the Phillies. One of the won Rookie of the Year with the Rays.
Home runs: Howie Kendrick (7), Yasmani Grandal (18), Justin Turner (21); Aaron Altherr (3), Freddy Galvis (10)
WP - Kenta Maeda (11-7): 5 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Vince Velasquez (8-4): 4⅔ IP, 11 hits, 9 runs, 2 walk, 6 strikeouts