LOS ANGELES -- For the most part, left-hander Blake Snell kept the Dodgers’ lineup quiet through 5 1/3 innings. Snell had thrown just 87 pitches and likely had more left in the tank. But with a couple of right-handed bats coming up in the order, Snell was taken out with his team leading by one run.
Once Snell was out of the game, the Dodgers were able to pounce on the bullpen, immediately scoring three runs. No, this isn’t a recap of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series. But maybe it’s the déjà vu Los Angeles needed, as the Dodgers’ offense finally came alive in a 5-4 win over the Padres on Saturday at Dodger Stadium despite another two-homer night by Fernando Tatis Jr.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, playfully. “But I did feel that getting somebody else in there might’ve changed the tide, and fortunately we got some runs and tied the game up [and] took the lead. Happy to see, because we needed every run tonight.”
Sheldon Neuse started the sixth-inning rally against Pierce Johnson with a bloop single into left field. Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty each followed with singles, the first two hits by Dodgers pinch-hitters this season. Mookie Betts drew a bases-loaded walk to tie the game.
Then it was up to Corey Seager, the star of the World Series run last October. And just as he did then, he came up big for the Dodgers, sending a tiebreaking two-run single into right field.
“We put some good swings at balls. We grinded tonight,” Seager said. “We’ve had some bad luck here in the last couple of days. Just to finally get some hits through, it was nice.”
The hits have certainly been tough to come by for the Dodgers lately. Before Saturday’s game, the Dodgers had scored just 11 runs over their last six games. The 23 hits during that span were tied for the fewest for the franchise since September 1909. That was way before they changed their name to the Dodgers, and decades before the franchise moved to Los Angeles. In their last three games, the Dodgers had a combined 12 hits. They matched that total on Saturday.
A slump of that magnitude is shocking for a team as talented as the Dodgers, but it was a matter of time before they broke out. It happened at a good time, as the Dodgers avoided a third consecutive loss to the rival Padres. The two teams have split the season series.
“There are a lot of professionals in this clubhouse. Everybody goes about their business and everybody knows how to get ready,” Seager said. “I think we’ve done that, but we’ve kind of been unlucky. We’ve had moments where we hit the ball hard. We just haven’t had that big hit in that moment to kind of pass the baton and keep things going. Tonight we did.”
The Dodgers got off to another slow start on Saturday against Snell. It continued into the third as Snell struck out DJ Peters and Trevor Bauer to start the frame. But then things began to click and the Dodgers showed off their lengthy lineup. Something they haven’t done much in the last week.
Betts, Seager and Justin Turner all recorded two-out singles, getting the Dodgers on the board. Will Smith, who had two hits on Saturday, also had a quality at-bat despite it ending in a strikeout on a pitch that appeared to be ball four.
“Just throughout the night, I thought we had some singles,” Roberts said. “We didn’t slug but I just really thought we kept the line moving which was really important … I think guys used the big part of the field today. We just got some big hits and they did find some holes. It was a lot of good offense tonight.”
The Dodgers hope the offense carries over to Sunday, as they wrap up a four-game series against the Padres. Through six games, the much-anticipated series between the two teams has lived up to the hype. And then some.