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Youthful Dodgers let veterans play hero vs. Rox

Martin, Freese, Turner homer late; Jansen hangs on for save
@kengurnick
September 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- One night after 21-year-old Gavin Lux debuted with the buzz of a rock star, veteran teammates turned the Dodgers’ 5-3 comeback win over the Rockies into Fossil Night. A three-run homer by 36-year-old Russell Martin turned the game around, followed back to back in the seventh inning

LOS ANGELES -- One night after 21-year-old Gavin Lux debuted with the buzz of a rock star, veteran teammates turned the Dodgers’ 5-3 comeback win over the Rockies into Fossil Night.

A three-run homer by 36-year-old Russell Martin turned the game around, followed back to back in the seventh inning by a pinch-hit opposite-field home run from 36-year-old David Freese, then an eighth-inning insurance home run from 34-year-old Justin Turner held up with a save from 31-year-old Kenley Jansen, but just barely.

Box score

“I think we’re going to go to Denny’s after this and get the 55-and-over menu and order some Grand Slams,” joked Turner, who matched his career high with home run No. 27, 17 in the second half.

Martin was a bit more philosophical.

“It just shows that baseball doesn’t discriminate,” Martin said. “You can be a good player and be young, and you can be a good player and be a little bit older. Fortunately, this club has both, and we’re in a good spot.”

Strangely -- for a team with an 18-game lead, having just cut the magic number to five for winning the National League West by beating a last-place team on an eight-game losing streak -- manager Dave Roberts called Martin’s home run “one of the biggest hits of the year for us. We needed every bit of it. It was nice to see us steal that one away.”

Martin and Freese homered off Bryan Shaw. Turner’s came off Wade Davis.

“I took a couple bad swings early in the count. I evened the count up, and with two strikes I was just trying to put it in play,” said Martin, who has 191 career homers, 188 as a catcher, 12th all-time.

The Dodgers lined up a bullpen game against winless Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez, who threw a wrench into the plans by shutting down an offense that had erupted for 16 runs on 17 hits the night before.

Julio Urías came off a 20-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy and made his first start since July 30, being stretched out in case the Dodgers need an October starter. He’ll make another start next week. Six relievers followed after Urias’ three innings, most of them candidates for a postseason role, with Adam Kolarek, Dylan Floro and Caleb Ferguson especially effective.

Meanwhile, the offense did its late-inning slugging to get the lead back, and it was nervous time again, as Jansen got the ball with a lead and nearly let it get away. The struggling closer allowed a one-out walk that Roberts said “you just can’t have that walk right there,” noting that when Jansen was at his best, walks were a rarity.

“We’ve got to get past that,” said Roberts, because pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso doubled a well-placed Jansen two-seamer to put runners on second and third. An RBI scoring groundout by Tony Wolters brought up Raimel Tapia, who bounced out to end the game.

Martin was more charitable with his closer, who again heard boos at Dodger Stadium.

“He looked calm, didn’t get too rattled out there,” he said. “He held on. Got through the crowd getting on him a little bit, ended up getting the job done. It wasn’t picture perfect, but he got the job done and we got the ‘W’ and we kept rolling.”

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