LOS ANGELES – For most of the 11-game homestand, the Dodgers’ pitching staff carried the team. But on Sunday, it was the offense that put the final stamp on one of the most successful homestands in franchise history.
Behind a six-run explosion in the third inning, the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of the Cubs with an 11-9 win on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles swept the season series against the Cubs for the first time in franchise history.
With the win, the Dodgers also wrapped up the season-long 11-game homestand with a 10-1 record, tying the 1976 and '80 teams for the best in Dodger Stadium history in a homestand of that length. Their lone loss came last Sunday against the Padres after a blown save by Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.
“We’ve been playing good, especially these 20 games in a row that we just did,” said Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman. “And the key was our pitching staff this whole time. They give us chances late in games and for us to be able to get the big hits at the end of games. It was nice to be able to pick them up, because they picked us up the whole time.”
All five runs against Urías came in the first inning, which was capped off with a P.J. Higgins grand slam. Urías didn’t get help from his defense, but the left-hander’s command was off from the jump; he hit two batters in the first inning and walked another. The five runs allowed in the first were the most Urías has ever given up in any frame, and he needed 45 pitches to get through the first, also a career high.
“I just didn’t have it and missed my spots,” Urías said. “Those are things that happen, and it happened today. Now I just need to flip the page and try to learn from it for my next start.”
The Dodgers’ offense, which has been relying on late production lately, stepped up in a big way to bail out Urías. Los Angeles responded to Chicago’s five-run first inning with three runs of its own in the bottom half.
Freeman, who was also left off the NL All-Star team in his first season with the Dodgers, added some insurance with his 11th homer of the season. Freeman -- a five-time All-Star with Atlanta -- went 4-for-5 on Sunday. That was enough for the Dodgers’ bullpen, who had to carry the load with seven combined innings of work.
“For the offense to come and do that and grind it all the way to the end,” Freeman said, “that’s what special teams do.”
With the Dodgers trying to stay away from Kimbrel and Evan Phillips, they asked Brusdar Graterol to record the final six outs of the game. He inherited a two-on, no-outs situation in the eighth but ended the threat by inducing a forceout and an inning-ending double play. He then completed his first six-out save of his career with a clean ninth.
Despite being 27 games over .500, the Dodgers have been looking to get hot for the first time this season. That happened over the last week and a half at Dodger Stadium.
“This homestand is the best baseball we played the last couple of weeks,” Roberts said. “This is Dodger baseball.”