LOS ANGELES -- If there’s ever any panic in Justin Turner, he doesn’t show it, even when it looks like he’s lost his power, which is the way it looks at the start of every season.
That included this year, when he was the only Dodgers position player without a home run until last week in San Francisco. Then on Tuesday night, he slugged three over the fence and drove in a career-high six runs in a 9-0 Dodgers win over the Braves.
“Just got some pitches over the plate and put good swings and didn’t miss them – finally,” joked Turner.
The Dodgers came into the game leading the National League in runs scored, victories and winning percentage. And that was accomplished relying on Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo and Max Muncy for most of their production. Now Turner is hot, going 4-for-5 on Tuesday to raise his average to .302.
With Corey Seager appearing rusty coming off elbow and hip operations and A.J. Pollock out indefinitely after elbow surgery, the Dodgers need Turner’s right-handed production, especially as opponents are parading left-handed starters to neutralize the Dodgers’ lefty-heavy lineup.
“Been feeling good at the plate, just not getting good results, and tonight I got good results,” said Turner. “I have felt better the last couple weeks, hitting balls hard and tonight got three up in the air. The timing’s felt good. Been missing a lot of good pitches to hit. Finding the barrel a lot more frequently lately.”
Turner missed the first six weeks of last season with a fractured wrist and finished the season with 14 home runs. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Turner a couple of weeks ago that he had only three home runs in his career before May.
“Not sure what that’s about, but definitely glad that month’s over,” said Turner.
This was Turner’s first career three-homer game and eighth multi-homer game. In his last 10 games, Turner is batting .414 with four homers and eight RBIs.
“I guess the calendar turned to May and J.T. started to get hot,” said manager Dave Roberts. “It was really good to see. The quality of at-bat, the fight, running pitches, driving up counts, taking the walk. He does all of that. The three homers gets him back on track.”
Turner got the scoring started with a solo homer in a three-run first inning off lefty Max Fried. He singled in a run in the second inning, homered leading off the fifth and capped a four-run eighth with a three-run homer.
Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who fired a four-hit shutout, credited the early run support for paving the way to his first complete game since 2013.
“Thanks to my teammates who gave me runs early in the game, I was able to attack the zone and be aggressive and get the shutout,” said Ryu.