“We’re ready to pick up where we left off,” said Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on returning from All-Star break riding a four-game winning streak.
The Dodgers did just that, although coming in dramatic fashion after blowing a five-run lead in the seventh-inning, former MVP Mookie Betts delivered in a big way when the team needed him most.
Betts blasted a three-run home run to left field in the eighth, lifting the Dodgers to an emphatic 9-6 win over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night at Dodgers Stadium for their fifth consecutive victory.
“He just showcased what a great all-around ballplayer he is,” Roberts said of Betts, who also stretched out for an amazing diving catch on Joc Pederson’s heater to the right-field corner for the final out of the game.
“My initial read, I knew I was going to catch that one,” Betts said. “I don’t get too excited about those. That’s my job, that’s what I’m supposed to do.”
Los Angeles improved to 61-30 and currently sit at the top of the NL West while San Francisco slipped to 48-44 on the season with the loss.
Dodgers starting pitcher Mitch White threw five-plus scoreless innings and allowed only one hit in the sixth before being pulled.
“We got the win and that’s the most important thing,” Betts said. “That’s why it’s a team game. You’ve got to pick each other up and we did that tonight.”
After a solo home run from Freddie Freeman in the first, Trayce Thompson connected on an RBI double in the second and the Dodgers tallied on three more runs in the third to take a commanding 5-0 advantage after doubles from Justin Turner and Hanser Alberto.
However, momentum quickly shifted in favor of the Giants after scoring six unanswered runs through the seventh and eighth innings.
Evan Longoria hit a solo shot off Phil Bickford in the seventh and left-hander Alex Vesia then took the mound for the Dodgers where he struggled himself, loading the bases after hitting a batter.
Darin Ruf sized up the next pitch and sent a blast to left field for a grand slam to tie the game at 5-5 in dramatic fashion.
Evan Phillips was then called on for Los Angeles in the eighth and walked in the go-ahead run home that gave San Francisco a brief 6-5 lead.
The Dodgers stayed resilient and responded just as they’ve done all season once Gavin Lux doubled with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Thompson then RBI tripled off Dominic Leone, tying the game at 6-6 with two outs.
“We grind through each at-bat. Nobody really gives away at-bats,” Betts said. “That’s why we’re so good.”
Cody Bellinger put runners on the corners after being walked Giants closer Jarlin Garcia and Betts added the finishing touch with a three-run blast to left field that lifted the Dodgers to a thrilling 9-6 victory.
“The guy’s one of the best in the game out there,” said Thompson on his teammate in Betts. “He gets amazing jumps. Obviously, everyone knows how good of a hitter [and] all-around player he is, but as a defender, especially as a guy that has an infield background, it’s pretty incredible. I mean, he has all the accolades you could ever think of.”
Betts capped the night by making a spectacular diving catch for the final out of the game.
“Gosh, he did everything,” Roberts said of Betts. “He showed all of his skills tonight, with the bat, with the legs, with the glove, obviously. Clutch moment with the big three-run homer. That’s why he’s one of the best in the game.”
Tyler Anderson (10-1, 2.96) is set to make his first start for the Dodgers in the second night of a four-game series against the Giants on Friday at 7:10 p.m.