MIAMI -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called Tuesday’s 15-1 win over the Marlins in the series opener at Marlins Park “as good of a night as we've had all year.”
That's saying something for a club that reached its 80th victory by Aug. 13 for just the second time in franchise history, joining the Yankees as the second team to hit that benchmark in 2019.
Will Smith recorded his first multi-homer game and Cody Bellinger belted his 39th tater to tie for the Major League lead as the Dodgers went yard six times. The Dodgers matched a franchise record with 13 extra-base hits in a game, also done on Sept. 18, 2006, and didn’t record a single until two outs in a four-run ninth inning.
Since being named the starting catcher on July 27, the 24-year-old Smith has collected a hit in 11 of 14 games, going 16-for-45 (.356) with 10 runs, seven doubles, six homers and 20 RBIs in his second big league stint.
“He's taken it and run,” Roberts said of the rookie backstop. “He really has. Most importantly, behind the plate and his relationship with the pitchers, with [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] as far as gameplanning. Just in the batter's box, he's really continued what he did in Triple-A. To see that maturity, the confidence, it's very rare, especially when you're playing with a team that is trying to win a championship. For him, it just makes us that much better.”
The Dodgers (80-41) hit back-to-back dingers twice on Tuesday, making a typically pitcher-friendly park look small with their six homers -- the most by a team in a game since Marlins Park opened in 2012.
Corey Seager and Smith knocked consecutive home runs in a three-run fourth, and Smith added a two-run shot in the sixth. Justin Turner notched his 20th, before Bellinger followed with his blast in a four-run seventh to tie a personal single-season homer mark.
With 26 RBIs in 23 games, Smith passed Bellinger (23) for most RBIs in franchise history through 23 games. His nine homers bested Bellinger's 2017 mark over that many contests.
“Probably just the quality at-bats every at-bat,” Bellinger said of what has impressed most with Smith. “He's hot, but it's good at-bat after good at-bat. It's not just first-pitch-swinging homers. It's unbelievable at-bats. It's been fun to watch.”
Right-hander Dustin May, Smith’s batterymate, allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings for his first big league win in his third career start. May called it a “confidence boost from both sides” to have Smith on the club.
May and Smith, ranked as the Dodgers’ Nos. 2 and 4 prospects, respectively, by MLB Pipeline, worked together at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Now, the tandem is trying to help the Dodgers win their first World Series title since 1988.
“Special to be here, special team,” Smith said. “Eighty wins already, but we're trying to work for those last couple wins at the end of the year.”