TURNER CAN’T SAVE OF­FENSE

He pro­vides power, but the Giants beat L.A. for eighth time in 10 games. SAN FRAN­CISCO 9 DODGERS 5

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dy­lan Her­nan­dez

When Justin Turner joined the Dodgers shortly be­fore spring train­ing last year, he did so on a mi­nor league con­tract.

Fri­day night, with the first-place Dodgers open­ing a three-game se­ries against the sec­ond-place San Fran­cisco Giants, Turner bat­ted third for the most ex­pen­sive team in base­ball.

The third base­man played up to the role. He dou­bled twice. He home­red. He drove in two runs, was hit by a pitch and raised his sea­son av­er­age to .329.

On a night when the Giants scored nine runs, that wasn’t nearly enough.

The Dodgers lost for the fifth time in seven games, this time by a score of 9-5. By fall­ing to the Giants for the eighth time in 10 games this sea­son, their lead in the Na­tional League West was re­duced to 11⁄2 games.

While Yas­mani Gran­dal’s run-scor­ing sin­gle in the sec­ond in­ning ended a score­less

streak of 32 in­nings against the Giants — the Dodgers failed to score a sin­gle run in a three-game se­ries in San Fran­cisco last month — the of­fense re­mained dor­mant for large stretches of the game. The Dodgers trailed this game by as many as six runs.

“Ev­ery team is go­ing to go through this,” Turner said. “Right now, it’s our team that has to go through it.”

Turner bat­ted third two pre­vi­ous games this sea­son.

Adrian Gon­za­lez, the team’s reg­u­lar No. 3 hitter, didn’t play in one of those games. Howie Ken­drick, the cleanup hitter, didn’t play in the other.

Turner bat­ted third on Fri­day for en­tirely dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

Turner wasn’t in the mid­dle of the lineup be­cause Man­ager Don Mat­tingly wanted to give a day off to one of his best play­ers. Turner was there be­cause the Dodgers can’t score.

En­ter­ing this game, the Dodgers had scored two or fewer runs in 18 of their 32 pre­vi­ous games.

The short­age of runs prompted Mat­tingly to make changes to the top of the or­der.

Yasiel Puig, who bat­ted sec­ond in nine of his pre­vi­ous 10 games, re­placed a slump­ing Joc Ped­er­son as the lead­off hitter. Ped­er­son moved from first to sec­ond.

“Just mov­ing pieces,” Mat­tingly said. “It’s not re­ally a whole lot, to be hon­est with you.”

The right-handed-hit­ting Turner was in­serted be­tween the left-handed-hit­ting Ped­er­son and Gon­za­lez.

Turner down­played the sig­nif­i­cance of where his name was on the lineup card, say­ing, “It’s only for the first time through the lineup.”

Ken­drick was dropped from fourth to fifth.

“We’re just try­ing to get some­thing that sparks us a lit­tle bit,” Mat­tingly said.

Un­til the last week or so, Mat­tingly in­sisted that he had no prob­lems with the qual­ity of his team’s at-bats.

But he said he was alarmed by the lack of scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in re­cent days.

“That’s when you no­tice it,” he said.

Mat­tingly called on his play­ers to im­prove their plate dis­ci­pline, sim­i­lar to how hit­ting coach Mark McGwire did the day be­fore.

“I don’t think we tried to get away from it,” Mat­tingly said. “One thing hap­pens, another thing hap­pens, the next thing you know, you’ve de­te­ri­o­rated. You’ve played 67 games, you’ve played ev­ery day. You don’t re­al­ize all of a sud­den that it’s turned into some­thing dif­fer­ent or it’s turned a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and they don’t even re­al­ize it. Re­ally, it’s get­ting back to who we want to be as a team.” Turner did his part. Turner, who en­tered the game bat­ting .342 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion, dou­bled in the third in­ning to drive in Ped­er­son. Turner scored later in the in­ning on a sin­gle by Gon­za­lez to cut the Dodgers’ deficit to 4-3.

With the Dodgers trail­ing, 5-3, Turner led off the sixth in­ning with a dou­ble. But he didn’t score, as Gon­za­lez lined out, Ken­drick grounded out and pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke flied out.

By the time Turner hit a solo home run in the eighth in­ning, the Giants had al­ready scored nine runs.

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