Dodgers bring the brooms out

Turner, Her­nan­dez and Ped­er­son homer as L.A. sweeps the four-game series.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Andy McCul­lough

On Thurs­day evening, in the sev­enth in­ning of a 6-3 vic­tory over the New York Mets, Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts or­ches­trated an elab­o­rate ruse. He en­gages in feints like this of­ten. He of­ten refers to them as “just a lit­tle games­man­ship,” gam­bits to test the think­ing of the op­pos­ing man­ager. Rarely do they work bet­ter than this.

With two outs, two run­ners aboard and the Dodgers lead­ing by one run, Roberts sent Corey Sea­ger into the on-deck cir­cle for pitcher Pe­dro Baez. In the bullpen, Ser­gio Romo loos­ened up. The path ap­peared clear: If En­rique Her­nan­dez reached base, Sea­ger would re­place Baez at the plate and Romo would re­place Baez on the mound. When Her­nan­dez walked, Roberts saw his bluff called. Sea­ger and Romo sat down.

A third base­man in the mi­nors, Baez bat­ted for only the third time as a big lea­guer. His rust did not steady the nerves of re­liever Jerry

Blevins. Blevins walked Baez on four pitches to force in a run. Another scored when Blevins walked Austin Barnes. The lead bloated to three runs, and the fourgame un­rav­el­ing of the Mets was com­plete.

The Dodgers trounced an op­po­nent in freefall. The fight was not even. This week­end of­fers a more ro­bust chal­lenge, as the Colorado Rock­ies visit Dodger Sta­dium for the first time since April. Trail­ing Colorado for most of the sea­son, the Dodgers surged ahead in the Na­tional League West as Colorado dropped two of three to Ari­zona this week.

Thurs­day fea­tured no spillover from Wed­nes­day, when a well-struck and wellad­mired homer from Yasiel Puig in­cited the ire of the Mets. The team did not re­tal­i­ate. They did not do much of any­thing, and the Dodgers won for the sev­enth game in a row.

The Dodgers pulled ahead af­ter home runs in the third in­ning by Justin Turner and Her­nan­dez. Hyun-Jin Ryu gave up two runs be­fore ex­it­ing af­ter five in­nings. Chris Hatcher coughed up the lead in the sixth. Joc Ped­er­son put his team back in front an in­ning later with a solo homer, his team’s 15th in this series, which set a fran­chise record for a four-game set.

The Dodgers pro­duced 30 runs in the first three games of this series. On Thurs­day, they faced Steven Matz, a brit­tle but tal­ented left-handed pitcher. Un­like 2016, the Dodgers are no longer help­less against left­handers. The team en­tered Thurs­day ranked 11th in the ma­jors in on-base-plus-slug­ging per­cent­age against left­handers. Most of the credit goes to im­proved per­for­mances from right-handed hit­ters like Turner, Her­nan­dez and Barnes, plus the emer­gence of util­ity man Chris Tay­lor.

The Mets staked Matz a one-run lead. For the sec­ond game in a row, out­fielder Cur­tis Gran­der­son hit a lead­off homer. Gran­der­son turned on a 92-mph fast­ball from Ryu.

Her­nan­dez helped Ryu in the sec­ond. Ryu walked first base­man Lucas Duda, and short­stop Jose Reyes sin­gled. Duda held at third base. He tried to score on a fly ball into left-cen­ter field. Play­ing cen­ter, Her­nan­dez charged the ball and threw out Duda at the plate.

Matz slipped through the Dodgers lineup in the first two in­nings. The third was less kind to him. Matz paid for a belt-high fast­ball to Turner, who smashed the pitch be­yond the left-field fence for his fifth home run of the sea­son, and his fourth in 11 games since re­turn­ing from the dis­abled list June 9.

The Dodgers were not done. Cody Bellinger hit a ground-run dou­ble. Up came Her­nan­dez. Matz chose a curve­ball as his first pitch. The ball bent to­ward the far edge of the plate. Her­nan­dez reached out and pow­ered it over the fence in right.

Ryu handed a run back in the fourth. He fed catcher Travis d’Arnaud a changeup at the waist. D’Arnaud hit a solo homer.

Ryu would not re­turn for the sixth. Roberts re­moved him af­ter 86 pitches and sum­moned Chris Hatcher, who walked Jay Bruce. Af­ter a fly­out by d’Arnaud, Roberts elected to let Hatcher, a right-han­der, pitch to the left-handed-hit­ting Duda. The de­ci­sion back­fired as Duda ripped a dou­ble into the gap in right-cen­ter field.

Her­nan­dez threw to the cut­off man, Lo­gan Forsythe, whose throw pulled Barnes up the first base line. Barnes dove back to­ward the plate, where Bruce ne­glected to slide, but the ball kicked away and Bruce was safe.

The game did not stay tied for long. Ped­er­son crushed the first pitch of the bot­tom of the sev­enth.

Mark J. Terrill As­so­ci­ated Press

JOC PED­ER­SON is greeted by Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts af­ter hit­ting a sev­enth-in­ning homer.

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