“We eked it out,” said pitcher Walker Buehler, who allowed no runs.
Max Muncy, who will start at designated hitter for the National League on Tuesday at Coors Field, doubled home fellow All-Stars Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor in the first to open the scoring.
Home runs later in the frame by former All-Stars Cody Bellinger (2017, 2019) and AJ Pollock (2015) gave the Dodgers a quick, 5-0 lead. Pollock would also homer later, part of a four-hit night. He has four home runs in his last three games.
All-Star Saturday night
|Buehler||6 IP, 0 R, 7 K|
|Turner||3-4, HR, R, 4 RBI|
|Betts||2-3, HR, 3 BB, 4 R, 4 RBI|
|Taylor||1-1, BB, 2 R|
|Muncy||1-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI|
|Batting||7-11, 2 HR, 8 R, 10 RBI|
|Pitching||6 IP, 0 R, 7 K|
But they followed that up with four more in the second, thanks to another All-Star.
In an offseason that didn’t see the Dodgers add any offense until February, re-signing Justin Turner was mandatory. Even at 36, he’s still the glue to the middle of a formidable batting order that — even though it doesn’t seem like it an alarming number of times — leads the National League in runs scored.
Turner, who found out about his second All-Star team berth before Friday’s series opener, leads the team with 79 starts this season. It’s his most durable season in years after an offseason Whole30 diet that, as Turner put it on Saturday, “allowed me to be available more, to be on the field more, recover better, not have as many aches and pains from going out and playing every day.”
The constancy of Turner in the lineup has been the safety net the Dodgers have sorely needed this year, so it’s only right that a net returned the favor.
After a single and two walks loaded the bases in the second inning against Diamondbacks left-hander Caleb Smith, Turner worked a full count, thanks in part to the second strike of the at-bat, a high foul pop up that was nearly catchable for first baseman Christian Walker, only to see the ball graze the protective netting on its way down and evade the pocket of Walker’s glove.
Given new life, Turner smashed a ball into the left field pavilion two pitches later:
A grand slam from All-Star Justin Turner. pic.twitter.com/w6fU4bjVYP— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 11, 2021
The first grand slam of Turner’s career came in his 81st plate appearance with the bases loaded.
The slam also ended Smith’s night on the mound, recording just three outs while allowing nine runs. Smith is the fourth pitcher this season to allow nine or more runs in a start against the Dodgers.
His mound counterpart found more success.
Buehler, officially named to his second All-Star team earlier Saturday, was the beneficiary of all that offense, but needed very little of it.
He struck out seven on Saturday, allowing only three hits and two walks in six scoreless innings, the 17th time in 18 starts he’s lasted at least six. Buehler lowered his ERA to a team-best 2.36 — good for sixth in the National League — including 1.67 in his last 11 starts.
“Any time our offense gets going, it can really get going,” Buehler said. “Tonight was one of those nights, and then my job turns into trying to be aggressive, trying to get us in and out, and let those guys keep hitting.”
Even bigger innings
The blowout secure, and with Taylor and Muncy already out of the game, Betts moved from right field to second base in the seventh inning, his 17th career game at the position, and second since joining the Dodgers.
In the bottom of the seventh, the bases were loaded again when Betts unloaded them, the second grand slam of the night and the Dodgers’ ninth of the season — by eight different batters —surpassing the Braves for the most grand slams in the majors.
Bases loaded? May the Betts man win. pic.twitter.com/fRpKpyJHZR— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 11, 2021
Ten is the Dodgers record for grand slams in a season, set in 2004.
The seventh also featured a two-run homer by Zach McKinstry and a solo shot by Albert Pujols — yes, off a left-hander.
That made for a seven-run seventh.
But they weren’t done yet! Gavin Lux, who leads the Dodgers with two grand slams this season, batted with the bases loaded in the eighth, and settled for a three-run triple. Pujols hit his second home run of the game — this one off position player Josh Reddick — making for a six-run frame.
Coupled with the five-run first and seven-run seventh, the Dodgers have 22 innings of five runs or more this season, by far the most in MLB. The next-highest teams — Arizona and the White Sox — each have 13 such innings, and the other 29 major league teams average just over eight innings scoring at least five times in 2021.
“It’s a byproduct of us always finding a way to get on base by way of hit or walk,” Roberts said. “When you can continue to stress the pitcher, then you get a double or a homer, those [innings] happens.”
Twenty-two runs is the most in a game in the majors this season, and the Dodgers’ eight home runs match Toronto (June 13 vs. Boston) for most in MLB in a game in 2021.
Eight home runs match a Dodgers franchise record, done two other times.
Home runs: Cody Bellinger (4), AJ Pollock 2 (12), Justin Turner (15), Mookie Betts (12), Zach McKinstry (7), Albert Pujols 2 (13); Andrew Young (5)
WP — Walker Buehler (9-1): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP — Caleb Smith (2-6): 1+ IP, 6 hits, 9 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers get to the much-desired All-Star break after one more game on Sunday afternoon (1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with Tony Gonsolin starting for Los Angeles against right-hander Merrill Kelly for Arizona.