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Dodgers head into break on three-game slide

Padres phenom Tatis Jr. delivers Bellinger-esque performance
@kengurnick
July 7, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers hit the All-Star break with a three-game losing streak and three consecutive losses at Dodger Stadium for the first time this season after Fernando Tatis Jr. pulled a Cody Bellinger with a pair of homers in a 5-3 Padres win. For the Dodgers, though, the

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers hit the All-Star break with a three-game losing streak and three consecutive losses at Dodger Stadium for the first time this season after Fernando Tatis Jr. pulled a Cody Bellinger with a pair of homers in a 5-3 Padres win.

For the Dodgers, though, the glass is way more than half full. They’ve been a juggernaut with the best record in baseball and a 13 1/2-game division lead, so this series was a true outlier.

Box score

Maybe they were looking ahead to the break, to the World Series rematch in Boston coming out of the break or they just ran into hot pitching in losing a home series for only the second time this season. But it will take a lot more than three straight losses for panic to set into this group.

“We’ll be ready for the Red Sox,” manager Dave Roberts promised before he and a contingent of Dodgers headed to Cleveland for the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. “No gathering or message to the team to rally the troops. We know what to do.”

The first half as been a runaway for the Dodgers because of pitching and power, with starters Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler joining sluggers Bellinger and Max Muncy on the National League All-Star team. Muncy homered on Sunday (No. 22), as did Justin Turner (No. 10), a promising sign for the latter after several weeks of soft contact.

“Everyone looks forward to a couple days off, regroup and refresh and re-energize for the second half,” said Turner. “We had a pretty good first half. We played all facets really well.”

That wasn’t the case on Sunday. Ross Stripling (3-3), in his third start replacing the injured Rich Hill, allowed the first Tatis homer to open the game, then another home run to Manuel Margot in the second inning.

A pair of infield hits -- including a double that hit Muncy on the head when he lost it in the sun -- resulted in two more runs charged to Stripling when Pedro Baez took over and allowed a three-run homer to Tatis. It was the first home run Baez has allowed since March 31. Tatis, 20, is the youngest player in history to record a multihomer game at Dodger Stadium.

"Tatis showed how good he is and what competing against him for the next six years is going to look like," said Stripling. “Obviously, losing three in a row going into the All-Star break kind of stinks, especially at home. We’ll be ready to roll coming out of the All-Star break.”

As soft as the National League West appears to be aside from the Dodgers, this series could be an indicator that, with an NL Wild Card berth up for grabs, opponents will play the Dodgers with a greater sense of urgency.

"We showed what we were capable of, how we're moving, what we can do,” said Tatis. “So pay attention. It's going to be interesting."

Roberts will not hold a workout on Thursday, choosing instead to offer early batting practice at Fenway Park before Friday night’s series opener.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.