Betts' slam caps 8-run 4th as Dodgers stun Padres
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mookie Betts hit a grand slam to cap an eight-run fourth inning and the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers stunned the San Diego Padres 13-7 on Monday to win for the sixth time in seven games.
Betts drove a 3-0 pitch from Seth Lugo into the left-center seats, his 31st homer of the season, with one out in the fourth to give the Dodgers an 8-5 lead. Betts then punctuated his trot by pumping his fist several times as though he were pulling a train whistle, a celebration known as the “freight train” that was started by David Peralta, while his teammates repeated the gesture in the dugout.
Betts gave third base coach Dino Ebel a low-five before being warmly greeted at the plate by Kiké Hernández, James Outman and Miguel Rojas, who had been on base. Betts then gave Freddie Freeman, the 10th batter of the inning, a pat on the backside.
“We just don't give up,” Betts said. “Got to play all nine innings, no matter what. We've been around for a while, a lot of us have, and the young guys are taking to it. We have fun playing the game.”
Betts said he wasn't sure he would swing on 3-0, “and then I just decided to swing and fortunately I did.”
He said he doesn't typically like swinging 3-0. “I still see myself as a leadoff hitter that's supposed to get on base, so maybe that's what's ingrained in me. But in that situation, I mean, especially with the momentum, trying to score as many points as possible, that was a good time to swing.”
It was the sixth career slam for Betts, who was the AL MVP with Boston in 2018, and the 11th for the Dodgers to tie their single-season high.
Outman had four hits for the Dodgers, who took three of four in the series to improve to 8-2 this season against San Diego. The Padres beat the 111-win Dodgers in the NL Division Series last October.
Luis Campusano had two homers among his four hits for the Padres.
San Diego scored five runs off Tony Gonsolin (7-4) in the third, but that lead was gone nine batters into the fourth. Freeman hit a leadoff single, Will Smith flied out, Max Muncy walked, Peralta hit an RBI double and Jason Heyward doubled for two more runs.
Hernández walked, Outman singled and Rojas hit a bloop single to center to pull the Dodgers to 5-4. Betts then connected, much to the delight of the thousands of Dodgers fans in the sellout crowd of 44,455.
After falling behind 5-0, “I don't know if the plan was to take it all back that inning," Outman said. "We were trying to just get a couple runs across and it turned out to be a big inning. Freddie set the tone with a hit and a lot more hits followed and Mookie came up huge and we were able to put together a big inning. But we never really panic and we play every pitch."
The slam chased Lugo (4-6), who allowed a career-high eight earned runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
“I made some mistakes out there, left some balls over the plate in some bad counts," Lugo said.
The Dodgers scored five more runs in the sixth, including Hernández's solo homer and Muncy's two-run double.
Gonsolin allowed six runs on nine hits in six innings.
The Padres took their 5-0 lead in the third on Campusano's two-run homer, Fernando Tatis Jr.'s two-run single and Manny Machado's sacrifice fly.
Asked to put Freeman's career trajectory in perspective, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who grew up in northern San Diego County, noting that he was choosing his words carefully, said: “In the batter's box, he is the modern-day Tony Gwynn. I'll say that. I was there for Tony's 2,000th hit against the Rockies, I knew Tony as a friend, I think Tony would take that as a compliment, for me saying that.” Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP with Atlanta, came into Monday's game hitting .339, second in the NL to Atlanta's Ronald Acuña Jr., with 23 homers and 80 RBIs.
Dodgers: Roberts said it “seems likely” that LHP Clayton Kershaw, who's been on the injured list with left shoulder tightness, will start Thursday night at Dodger Stadium in the opener of series against the last-place Colorado Rockies. “We're only at Monday. There's plenty of time. There's no reason to totally commit right now," Roberts said.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urías (8-6, 4.69 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game series at Arizona, which will counter with RHP Brandon Pfaadt (0-5, 7.11).
Padres: RHP Nick Martinez (5-4, 3.68) is expected to start Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game series at Seattle, which plans to go with RHP Logan Gilbert (9-5, 3.86).
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