The Dodgers have started the second half of their season much like they finished the first.
They’re still getting excellent starting pitching.
Their star-studded lineup is still producing at the plate.
Most of all, they are continuing to win, picking up their seventh in a row — and third straight since the All-Star break — with a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
“I just think we’re playing good baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said. “When we can do that consistently, with who we have, you win a lot of ballgames.”
In front of 47,749 at Dodger Stadium, Roberts’ team put on a textbook display.
Julio Urías pitched six scoreless innings.
The superstar trio of Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman all homered in the same game for the first time this season.
And despite a dicey ninth inning, in which the Giants scored twice and put the potential tying runs on base, the Dodgers (63-30) prevailed to match their season-high winning streak, improve to 26-7 since getting swept by the Giants (48-46) in mid-June, and keep their division lead over the San Diego Padres, who also won Saturday, at 10½ games.
“Our pitching has been amazing all season, and we’ve just been hitting a lot better as of late, scoring a lot of runs, letting them settle in and get deeper into ballgames,” Freeman said. “It’s just kind of been clicking on all cylinders for about four or five weeks now.”
It was the big three of Freeman, Betts and Turner who highlighted Saturday’s game.
With two outs in the third inning, Betts and Turner went deep in back-to-back at-bats against former Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood.
After striking out the previous five batters, Wood threw a full-count sinker to Betts that was deposited into the left-field pavilion, giving Betts his 22nd home run this season and 200th of his MLB career.
Moments later, Turner also took advantage of a full-count sinker over the plate, lining a solo blast to left-center for his 15th home run of the year.
After Gavin Lux extended the lead with an RBI triple in the sixth inning, marking the Dodgers’ 17th two-out run of the series, Freeman added insurance in the seventh with a solo blast to right — this time, with only one out — for his 15th long ball this year.
“Our lineup feeds off those guys,” Roberts said. “It just has an exponential effect for the rest of the guys and is really taxing for the opposition. Seeing those guys play the way they are, obviously, as they go, we go.”
They provided enough support for the pitching staff too.
In his first start since missing the All-Star Game, Urías stranded a leadoff double in the first, faced the minimum in the second, fourth and fifth innings, then worked around a couple of walks in the sixth.
He averaged a season-high 94.6 mph with his fastball, which topped out at almost 96. He struck out five batters despite getting only seven swings-and-misses. And he lowered his ERA to 2.72.
“He’s had some vinegar in him the last couple [of starts],” Roberts said. “The way he came out and ripping the fastball today, touched 96. There was no easing his way into the game.”
As a rotation, Dodgers starters haven’t given up an earned run in 17 innings since the season resumed last week.
“It’s been fun,” Urías said through an interpreter. “We have a really talented group.”
After though the Giants made it close in the ninth, scoring two runs against Reyes Moronta and David Price before a generous called third strike ended the game, the Dodgers finished the day victoriously slapping hands again — a ritual they did plenty at the start of the year, and seem poised to continue as they coast toward the stretch run of the season.
Justin Turner (abdominal tightness) missed a second straight game Saturday. Roberts said Turner likely won’t play Sunday either and that a backdated injured-list stint could be possible. … Chris Taylor (foot fracture) took batting practice on the field Saturday and could begin a rehab assignment next weekend, as long as he is cleared to run by then. … Blake Treinen (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Saturday. He is scheduled for one more this week, then could be ready to face hitters for the first time since getting hurt in April. His return date still is targeted for mid-August. … Andrew Heaney (shoulder) will rejoin the Dodgers rotation this week, likely during their series against the Washington Nationals.
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