LOS ANGELES — Well, that wasn’t even close after all. But few of them have been.
Chris Taylor and Joey Gallo hit home runs to turn a tie game into an 8-5 Dodgers victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night, completing a mini-sweep of their two-game interleague series.
The win was the Dodgers’ 10th in a row – their longest winning streak since an 11-game streak in July 2017 – and their 17th in 20 games since the All-Star break.
Only one of those games since the break has been decided by as little as one run (a 5-4 win at Colorado on July 29) Only three others were as close as two runs.
Other than that, the Dodgers have been overpowering the opposition. During the 10-game winning streak, they have outscored their opponents 70-25. Since the All-Star break, the scoring advantage has been 127-60.
Pull back even farther and the Dodgers have won 32 of their past 37 games by a margin of 221-110.
It is a run of domination that recalls their 42 wins in 50 games during the 2013 season or their 43-7 run during the summer of 2017, the best 50-game burst in the majors since the 1918 New York Giants.
They at least had to work a little harder than usual for this one.
Max Muncy gave them an early lead with a solo home run in the second inning, his fourth home run in seven games this month. Gavin Lux made it a 2-0 lead when he reached on a forceout, stole second, went to third on a wild throw and trotted home on Cody Bellinger’s sacrifice fly.
But the lead was in unsafe hands with rookie right-hander Ryan Pepiot on the mound.
The Twins had baserunners against Pepiot in each of his five innings. Pepiot was able to work around some of the traffic, but he made two costly mistakes.
In the third inning, he left a slider belt-high over the inner half of the strike zone and Jorge Polanco crushed it, sending it 405 feet into the seats down the right-field line for a three-run home run.
And in the fifth inning, Pepiot grooved a 1-and-0 fastball to Gary Sanchez. Sanchez deposited it in the right-field pavilion for a solo homer.
The Dodgers made that 4-2 deficit go away with a four-batter barrage in the bottom of the fifth. Mookie Betts started it with a double and scored on Trea Turner’s RBI single. After Freddie Freeman popped out, Will Smith tied the score with a two-out RBI double.
Since dragging a 1-for-25 slump through the All-Star break and out the other side, Smith has been the Dodgers’ hottest hitter. He is 19 for 48 (.396) with six doubles, two home runs and 15 RBIs over his past 12 games.
An inning later, Taylor put the Dodgers back on top at an unexpected moment – with two outs, no one on and down 0-and-2. He sent a curveball from Twins reliever Michael Fulmer that was about to nip the outside corner into the left-field pavilion instead.
In the seventh, Turner doubled and was still on second when the Twins opted to intentionally walk Smith with two outs. Dave Roberts sent Gallo up to pinch-hit and he hit a 2-and-1 fastball into the left-field pavilion for his first home run since joining the Dodgers at the trade deadline.
More to come on this story.