LOS ANGELES ― Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians started earlier than usual, just after 4:15 p.m. local time. That did not leave enough time for Mookie Betts to return to the starting lineup. It did leave enough time for the rest of the Dodgers’ bats to wake up.
The Dodgers torched the Guardians for 11 hits en route to a 7-1 victory, using one afternoon to match their scoring output from their previous four games combined. Trea Turner hit his ninth home run of the season, one of four extra-base hits before an announced crowd of 50,078 at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers (40-24) have won three of four games to begin a five-game homestand. They can take two of three in their interleague series against Cleveland (33-28) with a win Sunday.
The lineup hardly resembled the one that has been scuffling of late. Every starting position player reached base.
“I think everyone’s different, and I think every situation’s different,” Turner said. “Maybe one day you try a little too hard and the next day maybe that’s not necessarily the case. I think it’s that momentum thing ― building confidence, seeing the guys in front of you get the job done, then you come up in those situations, tack it on, and hand it off to the next guy rather than trying to do it all yourself.”
The Guardians’ only run was unearned. They capitalized on a ground ball between Max Muncy’s legs in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
A single by Cody Bellinger, a double by Chris Taylor, and a sacrifice fly by Austin Barnes tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the second. Barnes’ sacrifice fly RBI was the first by a Dodgers hitter since May 28.
“We’ve got to bear down in those situations a little bit,” Barnes said. “I think we all believe we’re a really, really good team. When we’re doing stuff like that, I think everything kind of falls in place.”
After Barnes’ timely flyout came the big blow: a two-run home run by Turner against Cal Quantrill (4-4). That put the Dodgers in the lead for good at 3-1.
Justin Turner, who struck out with two runners on base to end Friday night’s loss ― and did so again to end the first inning Saturday ― made amends in his second plate appearance Saturday. His double to the left-center field gap scored Muncy. Turner then scored when Gavin Lux lined a triple into the right-field corner, padding the Dodgers’ lead at 5-1.
Justin Turner also drew a bases-loaded walk for his second RBI of the game. Cody Bellinger followed his two-hit night Friday with another, finishing 2 for 5. Freddie Freeman went 3 for 5 with a double.
Dodgers starter Julio Urías (4-6) was quietly effective, allowing one run over six innings for his first victory since May 20. A 20-game winner last season, Urías had not won a game at home since May 3. The left-hander walked two batters and struck out six.
Barnes praised Urías’ fastball, which notched its highest velocity reading of the year ― a 95.5 mph pitch in the fifth inning. Urías’ curveball was even more effective in generating swings and misses. The left-hander barely needed his changeup, despite facing most of the opposing hitters three times in the game.
Jose Ramirez, the Guardians’ star third baseman, sat out his first game of 2022 with a bruised right thumb.
The more notable injury absence was Betts, who was diagnosed with a cracked rib. He will be placed on the 15-day injured list Sunday and miss the series finale as well. Perhaps the momentum the Dodgers generated will be enough to overcome the absence of their superstar right fielder.
“Hitting is hard,” Barnes said. “It’s not easy. They’re big league pitchers and they have good stuff, obviously. Just bearing down in situations and trying to move the ball forward goes a long way. That gets the momentum on our side.”