Justin Turner broke out of a power slump against one of the best pitchers in the National League, leading the Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the Padres on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.
The battle of the teams with the top two records in the National League West, meeting for somehow the first time in Los Angeles this season, starts by widening the Dodgers’ advantage in the division to 2½ games, with three games remaining this weekend.
Turner’s solo home run in the second inning tied the score at 1-1, and the game stayed that way through six and a half innings. Joe Musgrove, who entered Thursday third in the NL with a 2.12 ERA, needed only 73 pitches to get through six innings, having only allowed three hits to that point, two by Turner, including a fifth-inning single.
After a one-out walk to Max Muncy in the seventh, Turner broke the tie with a two-run shot to center field. Even with the outburst, Musgrove this season has only allowed nine home runs in 14 starts, and his 92 innings are sixth-most in the league.
Turner had his first multi-homer game of the season, and 13th of his career, 12 of which have come with the Dodgers. His two home runs gave Turner 149 home runs with the Dodgers, breaking his tie with Adrián Beltré for 15th place on the franchise home run list.
Turner home run in the second was his first since May 18. It snapped a string of 34 games and 147 plate appearances without a long ball for the veteran.
He also had an uncharacteristic lapse in the sixth inning. With one out and a runner on first base, catcher Austin Nola’s grounder to third base sure seemed like double-play fodder, only to have Turner throw to first base instead. That moved Nomar Mazara into scoring position in a tie game, but another Justin, Bruihl, induced a flyout by Trent Grisham to end the threat unscathed.
Bruihl, who was just called up before Thursday’s game with David Price placed on family medical emergency leave, also escaped a jam in the fifth. Mitch White struck out Manny Machado after Jurickson Profar doubled, but was pulled with two outs in the inning. No doubt the lefty-batting Jake Cronenworth’s 107-mph single in the third inning was fresh on Dave Roberts’ mind with the hook, and the moved paid off with a six-pitch strikeout by the southpaw Bruihl.
Thursday was Bruihl’s fourth outing of longer than one inning in the majors this season.
Evan Phillips followed Bruihl on the mound with an extended outing of his own, retiring all four batters he faced to earn the win. Phillips allowed an unearned run thanks to the free runner in extra inning on June 17, but has not allowed an earned run since May 26. In June, the right-hander had 12 strikeouts in 11 innings to go with his 0.00 ERA for the month.
White ran into some trouble in the second inning, loading the bases with only one out thanks to two soft singles and a walk. But the game remained tied thanks to Chris Taylor, who caught Jurickson Profar’s drive to right field, then uncorked a 96-mph throw home to nail Trent Grisham.
Grisham might think that play was special, but it’s all reused.
Back on August 5, 2020, Taylor ended a game in San Diego, throwing out potential tying-run Grisham at the plate for a walk-off assist.
The outfield assist was the second in nine days for Taylor, who has three assists on the season, tying Mookie Betts for the team lead.
Home runs: Justin Turner 2 (6)
WP — Evan Phillips (2-3): 1⅓ IP, 1 strikeout
LP — Joe Musgrove (8-2): 7 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Sv — Craig Kimbrel (14): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
Tony Gonsolin on Thursday fell off the leaderboard, but it just one inning shy and has an excellent chance to vault back into first place in ERA on Friday (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA). Ian Snell starts for the Padres.