Coming off one of their absurd amount of off days this month, the Dodgers went to play a quick series with the Rays in front of their crowd of dozens … DOZENS!!!
Thankfully they didn’t seem to let that deter them from coming to play, as they hit the ball all over the park in a 7-3 series-opening win.
The Dodgers jumped out to an early lead in the 1st after Max Muncy bunted for a hit against the shift with one out and then Justin Turner followed with a single into right that Avisail Garcia blundered spectacularly for a two-base error to make it 1-0.
The Dodgers manufactured another in the 3rd, starting things with a double from David Freese, who advanced to third on a grounder from Muncy and scored on a sac fly by JT to make it 2-0.
In the 4th, they opted to string together hits. Corey Seager started things with a single, a one-out single by Alex Verdugo followed, and a wild pitch moved them both up a base. Against a drawn-in infield, Austin Barnes came through by rifling a ball back up the middle for a single and another run to make it 3-0.
The 7th had another run manufactured through an unlikely and hilarious source. Muncy drew a one-out walk and then stole second to get into scoring position, followed by tagging up on a deep fly to right to get to third. Yes, Perfectly Rectangular Boy got his third stolen base of the season and stole a run with his legs.
Cody Bellinger followed by getting walked, but Enrique Hernandez dribbled a single against a shift to score one. Seager followed with a single of his own to plate another, and Joc Pederson pinch-hit and came up with an infield single for yet another to make it 6-0.
Meanwhile, Clayton Kershaw was rolling and allowed no baserunners past first through five innings.
However, he allowed a double in the 6th and then a single and a double with one out in the 7th, spelling the end of his evening.
Kershaw struck out eight and walked just one over 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, two of which were of the infield variety. When he doesn’t give up dongs, he’s extremely good.
Unfortunately, the pen didn’t have the best of times. Pedro Baez came in to relieve him, which was a fine decision considering he’s likely their best reliever right now, but he was drilled in the knee by a comebacker for a single to allow a run and hobbled off the field.
Thankfully things don’t appear to be that terrible.
That left things up to Scott Alexander next, and he proceeded to allow a single and a double to plate two more runs, before finally getting an out and being removed from the game.
Dylan Floro mercifully put an end to the rally, inducing a jam-shot grounder to escape the 7th with a 6-3 lead. He also faced the minimum in the 8th, but one of those outs was this play by Verdugo to erase a triple.
For insurance, the Dodgers got another in the 9th after a Hernandez walk and a Joc double to make it 7-4.
Thankfully, Kenley Jansen didn’t need any of it, tallying a 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout to end it.
The Dodgers improve to 32-17 on the season, a 106-win pace, and are temporarily 6.5 games clear of the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
The sweep and series are both on the line tomorrow at 1:10 PM HST/4:10 PM PST/7:10 PM EST, where Rich Hill (LHP/3.00 ERA/4.60 FIP/3.43 DRA) faces off against … god knows.