LOS ANGELES -- Whether it was the Hollywood party vibe of Clayton Kershaw's (Kersh) fundraiser on the Thursday night off or the comic relief of Rich Hill's (D. Mountain) racy Players' Weekend nickname, the Dodgers on Friday night looked like a team that had hit the reset button after being
LOS ANGELES -- Whether it was the Hollywood party vibe of Clayton Kershaw's (Kersh) fundraiser on the Thursday night off or the comic relief of Rich Hill's (D. Mountain) racy Players' Weekend nickname, the Dodgers on Friday night looked like a team that had hit the reset button after being swept by St. Louis.
Hill (6-4) spun a two-hitter for six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and even singled in a run, while the professional hitters scored early and often against Clayton Richard (Clay Clay) in an 11-1 win over the Padres, ending a three-game losing streak and leaving the Dodgers 3 1/2 games out of first place.
Justin Turner (RedTurn2), Chris Taylor (CT3) and Player Page for Max Muncy (Munce) homered in a 13-hit attack that saw the Dodgers go 5-for-13 with runners in scoring position after going 3-for-23 against the Cardinals and totaling six runs in three games. The Dodgers walked six times, three by Yasmani Grandal (Yazmanian Devil), with five of the walks scoring.
"A lot has been said about hitting with runners in scoring position, so it was good to get that off our back early and hopefully we can settle down and relax and continue to take good at-bats in those situations," said Turner, who is hitting .392 this month with five of his 10 homers and 13 RBIs.
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"Offense is contagious. All year long, when it goes good early, it goes really good. When opportunities are lost early, it seems to build up and that anticipation or anxiety of those at-bats as the game goes on instead of just shrugging it off. It's something most guys in here are aware that we have to do a better job. But I don't think the recipe is to try harder. It's to relax and not try to do as much.
Manager Dave Roberts (Doc) said the expressive atmosphere of Players' Weekend might have helped his club turn the page on the Cardinals series.
"There might be something to that. Players' Weekend is great for our game, the guys have fun with it, the fans enjoy it, it's a different uniform, you get the nickname," he said. "[Manny] Machado has his crazy shoes on, the socks are kind of out there. But once the game starts, you can see the focus. It is a little change to ease some of the tension. Whatever it was, we came out with a lot of conviction."
Hill had already sneaked one past the censors with the double-meaning nickname plastered across his back, then he sneaked quite a few past the Padres, striking out six of the first nine batters and was perfect through four innings. Hill is 4-0 since the All-Star break, although he said he didn't have a good feel for his pitches until the third inning.
"We definitely needed a win," said Hill. "Everything needs to be tightened up as we move on here into September. As we know, things get amplified and you want to be as close to perfection as you can be."
With Machado (El Ministro) on first base and two out in the first inning, Matt Kemp (Matt) singled sharply to right fielder Franmil Reyes (La Mole), who booted the ball for an error and Machado scored the unearned run.
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That was just the appetizer, as the Dodgers added three runs in the second inning. An Enrique Hernandez (Kiké) double started it and the runs scored on a Cody Bellinger (Belli) single, the second double of the game by James Dozier (Bull) and a single by Turner. In the third inning, Taylor homered.
Hunter Renfroe (Froe) ended Hill's perfect-game bid with a double leading off the fifth inning, but the shutout was still in play when left fielder Taylor made a leaping catch of Manuel Margot's (Yoandry) drive a step before hitting the fence. Hill also pitched around a one-out triple by Freddy Galvis (Toco) in the sixth without allowing him to score.
San Diego scored in the eighth inning on an RBI double by Galvis off Yimi Garcia, who was activated before the game after missing nearly two months with forearm inflammation.
Richard is 0-5 since June 22 and 0-5 in his last seven starts against the Dodgers, this one lasting 3 2/3 innings.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Muncy's home run was a pinch-hit two-run shot in the seventh inning, his team-leading 29th, second as a pinch-hitter and the sixth pinch-hit homer for the Dodgers this year.
HE SAID IT
"Yeah, I closed my eyes. Predetermined swing and he hit my barrel. I'll take it." -- Hill, on his RBI single
Kershaw opposes Brett Kennedy and the Padres in a 6:10 p.m. PT game on Saturday night. Kershaw is being Kershaw down the stretch, allowing one run in each of his past two starts -- one of them coming at Coors Field, the other in Seattle for win No. 150. Against the Padres, he's 18-6 with a 1.89 ERA.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.