Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger got the Dodgers off to an early start, and provided enough cushion to overcome an unprecedented home run barrage against Clayton Kershaw, in beating the Mets 10-6 on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers opened things with five straight hits against Zach Wheeler, including a three-run home run by Bellinger to cap the scoring in a four-run inning.
Turner added a two-run shot in the second inning, followed by a solo blast from Bellinger, putting the latter into the history books as the fastest in MLB history to 21 career home runs. Bellinger is also the first Dodgers rookie to hit 10 home runs in a month.
That gave the Dodgers a 7-0 lead, seemingly insurmountable with Kershaw on the mound.
Kershaw had the type of stuff that might normally suggest those seven runs were overkill. After all, he struck out 10 and walked one in 6⅓ innings.
But he allowed solo home runs to Jose Reyes in the third inning and Jay Bruce in the fourth, enough to notice that Kershaw has allowed more home runs than normal this season. Gavin Cecchini then hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning for his first major league home run, pulling the Mets to within 7-4.
Turner answered with an RBI double in the sixth inning, his third hit of the game, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 8-4. He later added a single in the ninth, and also walked, reaching base five times.
Turner has a 14-game hitting streak, and on the season is hitting an absurd .399/.478/.549, just 18 plate appearance shy of qualifying for the leaderboards. During his 14-game hitting streak, Turner has 10 multi-hit games and is hitting .510 (26-for-51).
Bellinger and Turner each drove in four runs on Monday, the first pair of Dodgers teammates to do so since Adrian Gonzalez (eight RBI) and Andrew Toles (four) on Aug. 22, 2016 in Cincinnati.
Kershaw was allowed to bat in the sixth, even though he was at 100 pitches and allowed three home runs to that point. He got one out in the seventh, but then Reyes took him deep again to cut the Dodgers’ lead to just 8-6, ending Kershaw’s night unceremoniously.
Kershaw allowed four home runs in a game for the first time in his career, and has allowed 17 home runs in a season for the first time as well.
The six runs allowed by Kershaw were the most this season, and the most given up by Kershaw since Apr. 11, 2015 against Arizona.
It has been a weird season for Kershaw because, despite the 17 home runs, he still owns a 2.61 ERA, roughly a 160 ERA+. There have only been eight seasons in major league history of a pitcher allowing 25 or more home runs with an ERA+ of 160 or better. The best ERA+ of the group was 195, by Randy Johnson in 2002, when he allowed 26 home runs.
The Dodgers gave themselves some breathing room in the seventh inning with two more runs, including a solo home run by Chris Taylor.
That gave both teams four home runs on the night. There have only been three games in the history of Dodger Stadium that saw both teams hitting four or more home runs. Two of those games have been the Dodgers’ last two home games — the end of the last homestand, on June 11 against Cincinnati; and Monday night.
The other game came in 2003 against the Cardinals. The Dodgers hit five home runs in that game — two by Jeromy Burnitz, and one each from the eclectic trio of David Ross, Adrian Beltre, and Rickey Henderson.
With a four-run lead, the Dodgers in the eighth turned to Chris Hatcher, who was cascaded with boos by loading the bases with two walks and a single, and that doesn’t count the screaming out to the left field warning track. But with Reyes at the plate representing the tying run, Hatcher got out of his own jam with a strikeout, then finished out the game as well.
The Dodgers scored double-digit runs for the ninth time in 2017. They have won all nine games. The club scored 10 or more runs 13 total times in 2016.
The Dodgers go for a fifth win in a row on Tuesday night, with Brandon McCarthy starting a 7:10 p.m. PT game. Robert Gsellman starts for the Mets, and the ESPN broadcast will not be blacked out in Los Angeles.
In another pitching rotation shuffle, the Dodgers made a switch on Monday. Hyun-jin Ryu will now start the series finale against the Mets on Thursday, with Alex Wood moved to Friday night in the opener of a divisional showdown series against the Rockies.
Home runs: Cody Bellinger 2 (21), Justin Turner (4), Chris Taylor (9); Jose Reyes 2 (6), Jay Bruce (19), Gavin Cecchini (1)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (10-2): 6⅓ IP, 6 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
LP - Zach Wheeler (3-5): 2 IP, 8 hits, 7 runs, 2 strikeouts