SAN DIEGO -- Austin Barnes will remember Friday night's game at Petco Park for the career-high seven runs he batted in, even if he's the only one.The Dodgers' 10-4 win over the Padres, and the key contributors, were overshadowed by the dustup between Dave Roberts of the Dodgers and Andy
SAN DIEGO -- Austin Barnes will remember Friday night's game at Petco Park for the career-high seven runs he batted in, even if he's the only one.
The Dodgers' 10-4 win over the Padres, and the key contributors, were overshadowed by the dustup between Dave Roberts of the Dodgers and Andy Green of the Padres, which emptied both benches and resulted in both managers' ejections.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
That all happened after a first inning that not only saw Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood threaten Padres baserunner Jose Pirela for relaying pitch location to hitters, but Wood admitted to home-plate umpire Greg Gibson that he did it, drawing warnings to both benches.
But Barnes was already a hero by then, having smoked the first grand slam of his career off Clayton Richard. After sending a third-inning fly to the warning track and lacing a line-drive out to left in the fifth inning, Barnes capped his night of nights with a three-run blast in the sixth inning off Jose Valdez.
"You don't know what's going on when you're running the bases," Barnes said of his thoughts on the grand slam. "I put a good swing on it, thought I got it pretty good, then thought they had a bead on it."
As Barnes left the batter's box, Richard stared at him in apparent disbelief, but the Dodgers are starting to believe. He has started four of the last nine games behind the plate. He didn't start his fourth game at the beginning of the season until Game No. 15.
"There's definitely something to be said for getting in there more and getting consistent at-bats," Barnes said. "I think just being up here this year, it's a good feeling. Last year, up and down, you make those games bigger than they are."
The two homers matched his 81-game career total before Friday night, the seven RBIs half as many as his previous career production. He's now batting .284 and has earned an increase in playing time that lately has nearly put him on par behind the plate with Yasmani Grandal, who slugged 27 home runs last year.
"Barnes has been locked in this year," said Roberts. "Knowing that he's going to stick, things have slowed down for him. The quality of at-bats been so good, the defense, on the bases, he's coming into his own. There's an exhale and every at-bat he has seems to be a quality at-bat. It's really fun to watch him have success."
Barnes came into the game with two homers and 11 RBIs, in 40 games. In his last 18 games, he is 15-for-44 (.341). Add in Grandal's production and the catchers have combined for 14 homers and 48 RBIs.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.