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Dodgers pile 11 on Mets to keep pace in West

Hill settles in after early homers to retire 11 of last 12 batters
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have the offensive depth to come at you in waves, as they showed Tuesday night by erasing a four-run deficit with 11 unanswered runs to beat the Mets, 11-4, and keep pace with division contenders Colorado and Arizona, which also won. The Dodgers remained one-half game out of first place and have won nine of the last 11 games.

Austin Barnes slugged his first home run since May 3 and David Freese homered for the first time as a Dodger, both off Mets starter Jason Vargas (5-9), who had a 4-0 lead in the third inning and couldn't get out of the fourth. Freese also doubled, was hit by a pitch and is 8-for-14 with three homers in his career off Vargas.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have the offensive depth to come at you in waves, as they showed Tuesday night by erasing a four-run deficit with 11 unanswered runs to beat the Mets, 11-4, and keep pace with division contenders Colorado and Arizona, which also won. The Dodgers remained one-half game out of first place and have won nine of the last 11 games.

Austin Barnes slugged his first home run since May 3 and David Freese homered for the first time as a Dodger, both off Mets starter Jason Vargas (5-9), who had a 4-0 lead in the third inning and couldn't get out of the fourth. Freese also doubled, was hit by a pitch and is 8-for-14 with three homers in his career off Vargas.

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Video: NYM@LAD: Freese belts his 1st HR with the Dodgers

"It was really nice to see Austin break out and come up with the big homer to cut their lead in half," said manager Dave Roberts. "It gave him confidence, gave us confidence and the other guys took over from there. Good situational hitting, running the bases."

Vargas came into the game allowing an OPS to right-handed hitters 103 points higher than to left-handed hitters. So, the Dodgers stacked the lineup with righties, leaving players with a total of 95 home runs on the bench (Max Muncy, Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson and Cody Bellinger among them). Six Dodgers drove in runs, led by Barnes with three. Chris Taylor broke out of his slump with a double, single, walk and two runs scored.

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Dodgers starter Rich Hill (7-5) allowed two-run homers to Jay Bruce in the second inning and Michael Conforto in the third inning, both on sidearm pitches. But he regrouped to allow only one hit after the third inning and retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced with eight strikeouts in six innings. Hill is 5-1 with a 2.87 ERA since the All-Star break.

"We played really well and the way the guys hit the ball was tremendous," said Hill. "I felt like the ball was coming out well, but I have to figure out something with those drop-down sliders. Just a matter of finishing the pitches."

Video: NYM@LAD: Roberts on the 11-4 win over the Mets

Nobody felt better about the outcome than Barnes, who has had a season he'd like to forget. He came into the game batting .203 with eight RBIs, playing sparingly behind Grandal, who lost the starting job to Barnes down the stretch last year.

"Obviously, I've been in a little funk ... and not really a little," said Barnes. "Nice to contribute. I know what I can do for the team. It's not easy failing, for sure. You just have to trust what you can do on a baseball field. I know what I can do, I've done it my whole life. You just got to keep grinding and try to win games for the team."

Barnes said when the club didn't acquire a catcher before the trading deadlines, he took it as a vote of confidence from management.

"Them trusting me and Yaz to handle the pitching staff gives me confidence, for sure," he said.

Included in the three-run fourth was a double by Taylor, a critical error by New York third baseman Todd Frazier and a steal of third base by Barnes, who then scored the go-ahead run when the Mets couldn't turn a double-play on Brian Dozier's ground ball.

Video: NYM@LAD: Dozier plates Barnes on RBI fielder's choice

Justin Turner and Manny Machado doubled back to back to open the six-run seventh that blew the game open. Machado scored from second base when a Corey Oswalt wild pitch caromed wildly off the backstop away from catcher Kevin Plawecki and toward the Mets dugout. Matt Kemp walked, pinch-runner Tim Locastro stole second and was doubled home by Freese. Enrique Hernandez singled home Freese, Taylor singled and Grandal drove them home with a 330-foot single off the box-seat railing.

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"Freese is a great pickup," said Roberts. "To add him to add depth, to plug him in there in certain spots, it's huge. Situationally, trying to get the guy over from second base and hits a double right there. That's playing the game. When you're talking about games in September and October, those at-bats, the presence, it's huge."

Video: NYM@LAD: Machado, Freese power Dodgers' 6-run 7th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
For the Dodgers, it was the top of the ninth inning, when Josh Fields made his first appearance since hurting his shoulder June 26 and loaded the bases with no outs. Pat Venditte came on in relief and the Dodgers started warming up closer Kenley Jansen despite a seven-run lead. But Venditte retired Jeff McNeil, Jose Reyes and Conforto to save Jansen for another day.

SOUND SMART
Fans aren't booing Pedro Baez lately. He pitched a scoreless inning, extending his streak of scoreless appearances to 10 since Aug. 13. At home, despite being the target of boos by home fans, Baez this year is 2-2 with a 1.65 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.

HE SAID IT
"Never thought I'd hit a homer wearing this uni." -- Freese

Video: NYM@LAD: Freese, Hill, more on 11-4 win over Mets

UP NEXT
Hyun-Jin Ryu gets the start for the Dodgers in the homestand finale against Zack Wheeler and the Mets on Wednesday with an unusual 4:35 p.m. first pitch. Ryu was clutch in his most recent start against Arizona with seven innings and didn't allow any runs after a first-inning, two-run homer down the right-field line by Paul Goldschmidt.

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Austin Barnes, David Freese