LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are ready for their World Series rematch with the Astros.The Dodgers flexed their muscle in Thursday's 21-5 win over the contending Brewers, securing a series split behind seven home runs from five players and six solid innings from Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers scored a season-high
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are ready for their World Series rematch with the Astros.
The Dodgers flexed their muscle in Thursday's 21-5 win over the contending Brewers, securing a series split behind seven home runs from five players and six solid innings from Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers scored a season-high nine runs in the seventh; the 21 total runs are the most ever by any team at Dodger Stadium and the franchise's most since July 21, 2001, in Colorado.
Joc Pederson started the night with a leadoff homer and left the yard again in the seventh, Cody Bellinger broke open the game and ended his month-long homer drought with a grand slam, James Dozier went deep for the second time in as many games with the Dodgers, Justin Turner sent one over the fence in his first game off the disabled list and Yasiel Puig joined Pederson with a multi-homer performance.
"You never expect to score that many runs," said Bellinger, who homered for the first time since July 2. "But when you do, just try to take advantage of when you're at the plate, and I think we did a good job of that."
Manager Dave Roberts says his club must play its best to beat the defending champion Astros, who arrived in Los Angeles a day before the Dodgers' home-run barrage against Milwaukee. If the last two games are any indication, the Dodgers are primed to continue their brilliant play against the Astros as they look to exact some sort of revenge for the painful Game 7 loss at Dodger Stadium last fall.
"We'll be ready," Roberts said. "We're excited to play those guys. It's good that there's some offensive energy going into the series."
This Dodgers club has scored 27 runs in its last 18 innings. The lineup is deeper, thanks to trades to acquire Dozier and Manny Machado, plus the surprise breakout season of Player Page for Max Muncy and his 24 homers. The 2017 Dodgers managed just one run in their World Series Game 7 loss to Houston.
"There's no letdowns one through nine [in the batting order], which makes an offensive team really good," said Dozier, who was acquired from the Twins earlier this week. "Lots of guys who can do a lot of different things. It's not just 'sit back and hit with power' and that kind of thing. It's running the bases right and speed mixed with power."
Kershaw will miss the rematch with the Astros after earning the win on Thursday. The left-hander allowed two runs on five hits, striking out seven against two walks to improve to 5-5. It's the first time his record has been at .500 or better this season.
The Dodgers knocked around Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin, tagging him for nine runs (eight earned) on five hits (three homers) in 4 1/3 innings, and battered Milwaukee's bullpen -- so much so that the Brewers sent utility defender Hernan Perez to the mound in the seventh. The hitters' task will get tougher on Friday, when they face Astros ace Justin Verlander.
"Getting hits, scoring runs is a good feeling for guys and hopefully that carries over into it, but it's going to start 0-0 against a good team and a good pitcher tomorrow," Turner said.
• Dodgers activate Turner, place Utley on DL
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Getting out of a jam: Kershaw escaped trouble in the third inning after giving up a leadoff double to Chacin and an infield single to Lorenzo Cain. With runners on the corners and no outs in a 1-1 game, Kershaw buckled down and got three straight outs against the middle of the Brewers' lineup to end the threat. In the bottom half of the inning, Bellinger broke open the game with his grand slam.
"You give up a double to the pitcher to lead off an inning, it's never a good sign," Kershaw said. "Cain beat me to the base over there. He's faster than I am, so that wasn't really fair. But you kind of have to bear down after that. The game can kind of spiral out with the top of their order coming back up. It could have been a little bit of a momentum shift there, for sure."
Thursday was the fourth time the Dodgers hit a leadoff home run in a game following a walk-off homer. Yasmani Grandal won Wednesday's game with a two-run shot, and Pederson began Thursday's game with a homer to right field. Before Thursday, the last time the Dodgers accomplished the feat was Sept. 18-19, 2006. Nomar Garciaparra launched a two-run walk-off homer to beat the Padres, and the following day, Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff homer against the Pirates.
HE SAID IT
"I was probably ready for it to wrap up, but those guys aren't going to take away any at-bats. I don't blame them. Hits are hits. Just keep swinging it and we'll take a night like tonight, for sure." -- Kershaw, on the Dodgers' record-setting night on offense
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In addition to his two homers, Pederson had an impact on the game in the field. His diving, tumbling catch on a sinking line drive by Erik Kratz ended the top of the sixth. The Brewers challenged the call, which stood after a brief review.
The Dodgers will face the Astros for the first time since losing Game 7 of the 2017 World Series when Alex Wood (7-5, 3.68 ERA) starts opposite Verlander (10-6, 2.24 ERA) in the opener on Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT.
Austin Laymance is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.