LOS ANGELES -- Left reeling when the Cardinals swept them to begin the homestand, the Dodgers regrouped to sweep the last-place Padres with Sunday's 7-3 win behind five RBIs from their most clutch hitter, Justin Turner (RedTurn2).Manny Machado (El Ministro) homered, Enrique Hernandez (Kiké) had three hits and even winning pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (Monster)
LOS ANGELES -- Left reeling when the Cardinals swept them to begin the homestand, the Dodgers regrouped to sweep the last-place Padres with Sunday's 7-3 win behind five RBIs from their most clutch hitter, Justin Turner (RedTurn2).
Manny Machado (El Ministro) homered, Enrique Hernandez (Kiké) had three hits and even winning pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (Monster) started the fifth-inning comeback with his second hit of the game.
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But since the Mets dumped Turner and the Dodgers took a flyer on him with a Minor League contract in 2014, he's been the heart and soul of the offense, as he was Sunday, when he doubled twice and singled to match his career-best in RBIs, only a week after the last time he drove in five.
"We broke out and J.T. had a huge day," said manager Dave Roberts. "He's a pro across the board. Whether it be the defensive positioning, in the batter's box having a plan, the heartbeat in a big spot, he's very focused on each pitch. This is the Justin we've seen over the last few years."
With three more hits, Turner is batting .308, but only because he's the hottest hitter in the league this month after having his first half hindered by a broken wrist, then a strained groin. He's reached base safely in 20 of 21 games while hitting .405.
"I feel like I'm in a pretty good spot right now," said Turner. "Haven't had any problems with the wrist and the groin is feeling good. Seeing the ball pretty good. Knock on wood, try to keep getting better every day."
The Dodgers remained 2 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona with a travel day on Monday before a two-game series in Texas against the Rangers.
"Coming down this last stretch, the personal numbers, stats, don't mean anything as long as we figure how to win a game," said Turner.
Turner's bat has especially heated up since he and Machado switched spots in the batting order, Turner now second and Machado third. In the four-run fifth, Turner doubled in a pair, then Machado launched his 31st homer of the season and seventh as a Dodger.
"That's what we hope to do every time, but it doesn't always work out that way," said Turner. "It's been good since he's flipped us around -- I think Manny's been in the 3-hole most of his career, he's comfortable there, and I've never hit third until I came to the Dodgers."
Until the lineup switch, Machado had been utilizing every tool in the kit except home-run power. With home runs Saturday and Sunday, he has five in the last nine games after hitting only two in his first 36 games following his acquisition from Baltimore in a 5-for-1 blockbuster at the All-Star break.
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Ryu, moved up in the rotation to make this start, struck out eight but also allowed 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, including a home run by Franmil Reyes (La Mole).
"I did give up a lot of hits, but I was able to control the damage," said Ryu. "I wish I could have gone six or seven innings, which is what is expected from a starter. I couldn't do that, but I kept the game close and gave us a chance to win."
Equally important, Ryu (4-1) had a pair of line singles, the second one triggering the fifth-inning comeback.
"You never know, if I made an out there I'm not even sure if we could come back from behind," said Ryu.
"We joke with him about his ability to put an at-bat together, because when he came into the league he was a pretty good hitter and it kind of curtailed the last few years," said Roberts. "He understands how valuable his at-bat can be and to not just throw away an at-bat. It played big today for us."
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MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With closer Kenley Jansen (Kenleyfornia) shut down for the game after a rough week and Kenta Maeda (Maeken) being held back for the ninth inning, a huge sequence unfolded in the eighth inning when the Padres trailed, 6-2, and had runners on second and third against Dylan Floro (F Loro). But Floro struck out Freddy Galvis (Toco) and William Myers (Wil) to escape.
Ryu is 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA at home with 34 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings.
HE SAID IT
"I said, 'Good pitching, better hitting.'" -- Turner to Ryu, as the starter was removed from the game
Rookie Walker Buehler starts Tuesday night's 5:05 p.m. PT opener against the Rangers in Arlington. Buehler had a tough-luck no-decision after allowing the Cardinals three hits over seven scoreless innings with a career-high nine strikeouts on Wednesday. His ERA over the last five starts is 1.11.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.