When the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado and Brian Dozier over the last two weeks, the forming of an offensive bully was taking shape. An already above-average lineup was adding two big bats in the middle.
The big question recently had been the power outage of Cody Bellinger, having just one home run in his last 30 games over 121 plate appearances, hitting just .208. That all changed on one mighty swing in the third inning Thursday night.
Already ahead 2-1, the 23-year-old came to the plate with the bases full of teammates. Bellinger’s bat met an 80-mph slider with a violent cut, sending the ball high into the air down the right field line. The ball would hit the foul pole before it landed for a grand slam, sending the Dodgers well on their way to a 21-5 win over the Brewers.
Bellinger would end his night having reached base three times, with two hits and a walk in five plate appearances. If Bellinger’s bat comes to life, watch out.
The Dodgers would go on to hit seven total home runs, piling on with a Dozier three-run shot in the fifth and a Justin Turner two-run blast in the sixth.
And then the game got really out of hand as the game moved into the seventh. By the time Joc Pederson launched a three-run shot of his own, his second homer of the night, Brewer manager Craig Counsell had seen enough. Counsell summoned infielder Hernan Perez from his bullpen to take over on the mound.
The Dodgers took full advantage, scoring five more times thanks to some lackadaisical defense and yet another homer — Puig’s second.
It was the fourth time in 2018 that the Dodgers combined for at least five home runs. Only three other teams in Dodger history have achieved that (1954, 2001, 2016), none of which did it five times.
They also made other history:
The @Dodgers have set a Dodger Stadium record with 21 runs so far tonight.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 3, 2018
All 3 starting #Dodgers outfielders (Pederson, Bellinger, Puig) have 4+ RBI. The only other OF trio to do that since RBI became official:
Milwaukee Braves on 7/26/1964:
Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, Lee Maye
Four different Dodgers drove in 4 runs tonight (Pederson, Dozier, and Puig; Bellinger 5) for the first time in at least the last 111 seasons— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) August 3, 2018
With plenty of support from his offense, Clayton Kershaw had little problem — outside of Christian Yelich — getting through six innings of work to pick up his fifth win of the season.
After giving up a one-out double to Yelich in the first inning, Kershaw threw a wild ball four to Jesus Aguilar, sending Yelich to third. Three pitches later, an errant slider got away from Yasmani Grandal, bringing in the first run of the game.
It would be Yelich again in the fifth, lining a ball over the right field wall for his 16th long ball of the year.
The Brewer outfielder has been trouble in the seven games between these two clubs this year. The 26-year-old finishes his regular season against the Dodgers, going 13-for-30 (.433) with seven extra-base-hits, including two home runs while driving in five and scoring seven runs.
As for the rest of the night for Kershaw, the lefty struck out seven, giving up the two runs on five hits and two walks. Since returning from the disabled list on June 23, Kershaw is 4-1 with a 2.33 ERA, striking out 45 against eight walks.
Home runs: Pederson 2 (16), Bellinger (18), Puig 2 (14), Dozier (18), Turner (6); Yelich (16)
WP - Clayton Kershaw (5-5): 6 IP, 5 hit, 2 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Jhoulys Chacin (10-4): 4 1⁄3 IP, 5 hits, 9 runs (8 earned), 4 walks, 3 strikeouts