Just in the previous four days the Dodgers were shut out in one game and were one strike away from getting no-hit in another. The 21 runs scored on Thursday night were three more than the Dodgers scored in their previous six games combined.
“You can’t take it for granted, man. You just saw the last couple games how hard it was to score runs,” said third baseman Justin Turner. “You just take as many as you can get, and try not to give many at-bats away. I thought we did a really good job of that today.”
Turner was activated from the disabled list after missing 10 games with a right groin strain. He scored three runs, walked once, was hit by a pitch, and hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning, one of seven home runs hit by the Dodgers on Thursday to match a season high, also done on June 24 at Citi Field.
Brian Dozier hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning, one of his two hits, and his second game with a home run. Along with his home run in his Dodgers debut on Wednesday, Dozier is believed to be the first player to homer in his first two games with the Dodgers since Jimmy Wynn did so in his first three games in 1974.
“Offensively, these are fun nights,” Dozier said. “I was talking to a couple guys in the dugout about how deep our lineup is. There’s no let down one through nine.”
Turner’s activation coupled with the addition of Dozier has the Dodgers’ offense at full strength, and gives manager Dave Roberts more options to mix and match his lineups.
“We have a deep bench and they’re not starting, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to contribute at some point in the game. That’s the message to anyone that’s sitting that particular day,” Roberts said. “They all want to be in there, and they all have in their own right a case to be in the lineup that night. But there are only eight positions in the lineup.”
Matt Kemp, the Dodgers’ All-Star representative on offensive this year, sat on Thursday, and didn’t play as a reserve. Kike Hernandez was 2-for-3 with two runs scored off the bench, and Chris Taylor doubled and walked in his two plate appearances despite not starting. Austin Barnes was 0-for-2 against position players pitching, but that’s another story.
Manny Machado was 1-for-3 with a run scored in his first game back at shortstop with Turner back at third base. All eight starting position players had at least one hit and one run scored, and 10 Dodgers did so in total, one shy of the franchise record reached set in 2002.
Machado was lifted in the top of the sixth with an eight-run lead, after playing 126 consecutive innings on defense since joining the team.
“It’s always nice to get your starters out of games,” Roberts said. “We’ve run Manny out there every single day, every inning, so to give him a little mental blow for four innings was great.”
Cody Bellinger entered Thursday in an 0-for-12 skid and just 4 for his last 32, but his grand slam in the third inning broke the game open. His reaction to the ball hitting off the right field foul pole was a perfect mixture of surprise and relief.
“I lost it in the air, so I didn’t really know where it was, then I saw it hit the pole. It felt pretty good,” Bellinger said. “I’ve been grinding it out and feeling good the last few days, so it was nice to see some results.”
In that 4-for-32 skid Bellinger also walked seven times.
“From my lens, to see a guy having good quality swings, swinging at strikes and taking balls — he’s talking walks — that’s the sign of good things to come,” Roberts said.
Thursday night produced a bevy of franchise records and other notable achievements, so much so that it took this long in the story to mention the two Dodgers who each hit two home runs in the series finale — Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig.
Dodgers slugfest facts & records
- The 21 runs scored by the Dodgers is a new Dodger Stadium record, beating the old mark of 19 by the Giants on Sept. 14, 2013. Some scoreboards had trouble making sense of it.
This old couple behind me just commented on “at least the Dodgers are losing”. I don’t have it in me to tell them that the scoreboard cannot put a 2 up there. pic.twitter.com/m9Pip2YLXl— Michele C (@mcheno) August 3, 2018
- Thursday was just the second time since moving to Los Angeles that the Dodgers scored 20 or more runs. The other was in Coors Field on July 21, 2001 in a 22-7 win over the Rockies.
- Four different Dodgers drove in at least four runs on Thursday — Pederson, Dozier, Puig, and Bellinger (5 RBI). This is the first time the Dodgers have had four players with 4+ RBI in at least the last 111 seasons (the Baseball-Reference Play Index only has full and searchable play-by-play data dating back to 1908).
- Bellinger started in center field, and joins Pederson and Puig as just the second trio of outfielders to all drive in four or more runs in the same game, per STATS LLC, joining the Milwaukee Braves trio of Hank Aaron, Rico Carty and Lee Maye on July 26, 1964.
- Nine runs in the seventh inning was the largest-scoring Dodgers inning since April 26, 2008, when they scored 10 runs in the first inning against the Rockies (in LA) to match the LA Dodgers record for runs in a single frame.
- Pederson led off the first inning with a home run on Thursday, one day after Yasmani Grandal hit a walk-off home run. It was the first time the Dodgers hit home runs in consecutive plate appearances over two games since May 3-4, 2015, when Grandal and Pederson played the exact same roles.
- Position players Hernan Perez and Erik Kratz both pitched for the Brewers on Thursday, just as they both did on July 22 against the Dodgers in Milwaukee. Since 1958 (when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles) the only other position players to pitch twice against LA in the same season were Brooks Kieschnick (2003 and 2004) and Christian Bethancourt (2017), though both were two-way experiments at the time.
- The Dodgers lead the National League with 154 home runs — 16 more than the Rockies, who have hit the second-most — on pace for 227. They set a franchise record with 221 long balls in 2017.
- The 16-run shellacking on Thursday gave the Dodgers a +109 run differential, now tops in the NL by nine runs over the Cubs. Only three American League teams are better, including the Red Sox (+184) and Yankees (+129). The major league leader in run differential is the Astros at +185. Houston is next up on the Dodgers’ schedule with a three-game weekend set rematching last year’s World Series.