The Dodgers picked up right where they left off, hitting five more home runs to finish off a third consecutive sweep of the Padres with an 8-3 win on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. But the Dodgers will enter Friday still two games back in the National League West, since the Giants swept the Diamondbacks, including a 5-4, walk-off win on Thursday.
“We’re wired to keep going, and try to win as many games as we can,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Before the game, Roberts was asked if comebacks like Wednesday’s six-homer, 11-9 triumph are statement wins.
“They are if you capitalize on it, and they they’re not if you don’t,” he said.
The Dodgers took advantage right away, with back-to-back home runs by Mookie Betts and Corey Seager to start the game. In the fourth inning, Justin Turner and AJ Pollock went back-to-back as well.
Corey Seager added a double in the third then another solo shot in the seventh, finishing off his stellar September by hitting .366/.455/.699 with eight home runs and 19 RBI.
“He looks very similar to the bubble Corey Seager that we saw last year in the postseason,” said Justin Turner.
Pollock’s home run was his 20th of the season, giving the Dodgers six players with 20 home runs on the year, something they also did in 2017. The club record for players with 20 home runs in one year is seven, set in 2018. Seager is the next-closest with 15, and suddenly five homers in three games doesn’t sound so insurmountable.
All five home runs were solo shots, but the Dodgers still found time to tack on. They rallied in the sixth inning with four singles and a sacrifice fly, creating some distance for their 103rd win of the season.
“Tonight was a clinic,” Roberts said. “It’s being aggressive to our zone, looking to slug it when an opportunity to beat the shift like Justin starting an inning, and Will Smith with a two-strike hit the other way, the first-to-third from Will, Justin taking second base on a throw. There was a sac fly in there from AJ. We really checked all the boxes.
“Really fun baseball game to watch.”
Couple with the 11-run outburst on Wednesday, this marked the first time the Dodgers scored more than five runs in consecutive games since July 31-August 1.
“It’s been a while since we clicked,” said Betts. “It’s good to know that we can do it.”
Tony Gonsolin made his final start of the season, and was serviceable, striking out five in 4⅔ innings. He could have escaped with only one run allowed, but Fernando Tatis Jr. had other ideas, joining a pantheon of legends by hitting a ball over the pavilion in left field for a two-run shot.
Statcast says the home run went 467 feet, but it seemed more like 467 yards. He is just the fifth player to hit a homer out of Dodger Stadium, joining a who’s who of sluggers — Willie Stargell (twice), Mike Piazza, Mark McGwire, and Giancarlo Stanton.
The 42nd home run of the season for Tatis was also his seventh at Dodger Stadium, tying Todd Helton (2001) for the most home runs by a visiting player in one year at Chavez Ravine.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (23), Corey Seager 2 (15), Justin Turner (26), AJ Pollock (20); Ha-seong Kim (8), Fernando Tatis Jr. (42)
WP — Corey Knebel (4-0): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP — Vince Velasquez (3-9): 4⅔ IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
The Dodgers have one more home series left, facing the NL Central champion Brewers. Clayton Kershaw starts on Friday night (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network). Milwaukee counters with left-hander Eric Lauer, who is 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight career starts against Los Angeles.