The Dodgers hitters found their way to Great American Ball Park, wiping out the Reds in both series and season with a 10-5 win on Thursday’s breakaway in Cincinnati.
Five home runs, a new season record, punctuated the attack, one from a red-hot star heading into his much-publicized weekend and two more from a couple of down hitters. The scoring blast, run placement in eight consecutive innings, also beat outs on bases and some wobbly Dodgers bullpen jobs.
Freddie Freeman has a red carpet and a World Series ring awaiting him in Atlanta this weekend, certainly filled with cheers, hugs and tears. He heads for the hot weekend, including a two-run home run in the third inning on Thursday.
It was the second consecutive game with a home run for Freeman, who reached base in 12 consecutive games. He drove in 10 runs in the Reds’ three games, thanks to seven strokes in 12 beats, including four extra strokes throughout the series.
Cody Bellinger entered unsuccessfully in his last 15 bars and a .543 OPS in June. On Thursday he dropped to eighth on the batting order, which seems extreme until it is considered that 70 percent of his starts this season have finished seventh. Bellinger kicked off the Dodgers’ odometer with a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
The Dodgers have had two sacrificial flies in each of the first two games of the series, the ninth time in franchise history that they have had more sacrificial flies in consecutive games. The five sacrifice flies in the series might not seem like a big deal, but they equaled the club’s total in the previous 42 games, a stint that has captured four of the team’s five extra-innings losses this season.
For what it’s worth, the Dodgers before Thursday had a third-place runner with fewer than two eliminated 153 times this season and have taken the race home (by any means) 78 times, a 51% success rate that it was slightly below the major league average of 52.2 percent.
Taking the home run home by any means necessary sometimes comes with odd decisions, like in the second inning, when with bases loaded and one out, Justin Turner tried to advance to third base on Bellinger’s sacrifice sprint. It looked like Turner was giving up to have the Reds cut home, to ensure the run. This is exactly what happened, and Turner was easily thrown out.
Three Dodgers were sent off on the bases in the first three innings. Trea Turner tried to steal in the first inning and didn’t catch a fly on the left court in time to return to first base. In the third, Austin Barnes was canceled trying to advance from first to third on a single left. The Dodgers have been eliminated 11 times at third base this season, three more than any other team in the majors.
All those baseline outs were neatly swept under the carpet, thanks to an attack that garnered 26 runs and 42 hits in the three-game series. That’s the highest number of points scored and the most successes over a three-game span in 2022.
Bellinger ended his winning streak in the fourth inning with a two-point home run. He got the green light against Hunter Greene, scoring the Dodgers’ first home run on a 3-0 field this season. Bellinger has also scored twice and is 13 of 29 (.448) with six home runs and four doubles at Clayton Kershaw starts this season.
Since his triumphant return from the injury list, with five RBIs on June 9 in Chicago, Max Muncy hasn’t had an extra basic hit. But in Thursday’s first Dodgers game since that game two weeks ago, Muncy scored in his first two bars before smashing a 434-foot ball in the fifth inning, for his first three-stroke game of the season.
Muncy’s home run came from Hunter Greene, the Reds rookie. On Thursday he conceded three home runs, all of which scored with his fastball. Greene, the former star of Sherman Oaks’ Notre Dame High School, made his second major league debut close to home at Dodger Stadium on April 16. .
On Thursday, Greene conceded six runs in his five innings. After those five goalless frames in April, the Dodgers have scored in five of the last six innings against Greene.
Muncy and Bellinger weren’t alone in the three-hit club. Both Turners joined him. Justin doubled twice to give him 20 this season and made a handful of excellent defensive plays in third base. Trea scored twice and doubled up, one day after seeing his 13-game streak ended.
Will Smith, the designated hitter after taking two games, added a solo shot against Jeff Hoffman in the seventh, his second home run and sixth hit of the series.
Clayton Kershaw scored seven innings in his six innings, allowing only one run, to lower his seasonal ERA to 2.00. He was retired with just 80 shots, after a long conversation with manager Dave Roberts on the bench. Given the Dodgers’ 8-1 lead at the time, this wasn’t all that surprising.
However, he wriggled quickly after Phil Bickford conceded hits to four of his six hitters faced in the seventh inning. All four scored, largely thanks to Tommy Pham dunking a three-point home run, turning a blowout into a potential save situation.
Insurance runs were added in the eighth and ninth, including Trayce Thompson’s first home run of the season.
He ran into the house: Freddie Freeman (8), Cody Bellinger (9), Max Muncy (5), Will Smith (10), Trayce Thompson (1); Tommy Pham (10)
WP – Clayton Kershaw (5-1): 6 IPs, 7 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP – Hunter Greene (3-8): 5 IPs, 9 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
The Dodgers will then play against the Braves, which is already highly anticipated as a battle between the last two World Series winners, plus two teams that have met in the last two National League Championship Series and have fought three times in the playoffs in the previous four years. . But this weekend, another layer is added with Freddie Freeman returning to Atlanta for the first time since he left.
On the climax of the series opening on Friday (4:20 pm PT, SportsNet LA) is Julio Urías, with Ian Anderson leaving for Atlanta.