One night after their worst loss of the season on a historic day for MLB that saw Albert Pujols join the 700 career home run club, the Los Angeles Dodgers rebounded to earn their 105th win of the season by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-2.
The Dodgers are now one victory shy of tying their franchise record set in 2019 and 2021, with 10 games remaining.
Freddie Freeman was in the Dodgers lineup before getting scratched due to an illness that prevented him from sleeping well, manager Dave Roberts said. Although the club was without their best hitter, that didn’t stop the offense from breaking out of a recent slump.
After a scoreless first inning from Clayton Kershaw, Will Smith gave the Dodgers the lead with a two-out, 104.4-mph home run off Cardinals’ starter Jordan Montgomery that traveled 417 feet for his 23rd of the season.
Trayce Thompson extended the Dodgers’ lead in the second inning with another solo home run that traveled 438 feet at 108.1 mph for his 12th of the season as he continues to make a strong case for a starting outfield spot in the postseason.
Following Thompson’s homer, Austin Barnes singled on his first career Dodger Stadium bobblehead giveaway night. The lead was then doubled when Miguel Vargas, who replaced Freeman in the lineup, blasted the first home run of his career (101.1 mph, 390 feet) to put the Dodgers ahead 4-0.
In the third inning, Smith roped a stand-up triple into center field for his third of the season, which set a new career high for him and put the two hardest parts of the cycle out of the way. However, the Dodgers were unable to capitalize on the one-out hit and Smith finished the game by going 0-for-2 in his ensuing plate appearances.
L.A. continued to add to their lead in the fourth inning when Cody Bellinger doubled to left-center field to drive in Thompson. Mookie Betts then followed with a single to right field, which allowed Bellinger to score to put L.A. up 6-0.
The Cardinals finally got on the board in the sixth inning when Pujols singled and Nolan Arenado followed with a two-run shot to left field off Kershaw, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to 6-2.
After that, Juan Yepez singed and Dylan Carlson reached on an error to put more pressure on the southpaw, but he struck out Paul DeJong and forced Andrew Knizner to ground out softly to Barnes.
That was Kershaw’s final inning as Chris Martin took over in the seventh and retired the side in order. The future Hall of Famer finished the game with six innings pitched, giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking one on 88 pitches.
Evan Phillips pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and although it wasn’t a save situation, Tommy Kahnle got the first chance to pitch in the ninth with a lead following Craig Kimbrel’s demotion from Dodgers closer.
While Kimbrel was unavailable, the veteran reliever said before the game he is using the new role as “an opportunity to get right.”
Kahnle completed a scoreless inning to finish off win.
Dodgers placed Dustin May on injured list
The Dodgers placed Dustin May on the 15-day injured list due to lower back tightness and recalled Andre Jackson from Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to Saturday’s game.
It’s May’s second time on the IL this season after he began the year inactive while still recovering from Tommy John surgery. He was activated on Aug. 20 and made six starts.
The right-hander last pitched on Wednesday, which makes Sept. 22 the earliest point the Dodgers could backdate his latest IL stint that keeps him out for the remainder of the regular season.
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