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By Jon Weisman
There’s so much going so well with the Dodgers that it’s hard to now where to begin, but I want to focus on a 23-minute stretch about midway through Sunday’s game.
- 2:41 p.m.: With the bases loaded, two out and the Dodgers leading, 2-0, in the bottom of the fifth, the red-hot Adrian Gonzalez fouls out.
- 2:44 p.m.: Brandon McCarthy, who had walked two batters in his first 17 innings of the season, free-passes pinch-hitter Rafael Ynoa on five pitches leading off the top of the sixth.
- 2:47 p.m.: Charlie Blackmon strokes a vintage hit-and-run single to left field, putting runners at the corners with sluggers Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki coming next.
Just give baseball six minutes, and it gives you the whirl. Like a thumb to the nose, we were humbled with how quickly fortunes can turn. Six-game winning streak, sizzling hitters, authoritative pitching can vanish just like that.
So, sit down and prepare yourself for what came next …
- 2:49 p.m.: Gonzalez pops out to short.
- 2:52 p.m.: Tulowitzki hits a comebacker to McCarthy, who turns to start a 1-6-3 inning-ending double play.
- 2:54 p.m.: Rockies reliever Scott Oberg enters and takes his warmup pitches.
- 2:56 p.m.: Howie Kendrick hits a 411-foot homer to dead center.
- 2:59 p.m.: Andre Ethier walks.
- 3:01 p.m.: Justin Morneau reaches up for Scott Van Slyke’s foul pop-up between home and first, and the ball bounces off the back of his glove for an error.
- 3:02 p.m.: Van Slyke hits a 400-foot homer to left.
- 3:04 p.m.: Joc Pederson hits a 416-foot homer to right center.
In less than the time it takes to get through a sitcom, the Dodgers turned a melodrama into a laugher, and ultimately a 7-0 final for their seventh straight victory.
Scott Oberg is the first pitcher ever to allow three homers to the Dodgers without getting at least two batters out. http://t.co/e7aTA41gXP
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) April 19, 2015
The Dodgers had seven doubles, one shy of the team’s Los Angeles record but plenty to help them take a firm lead among National League teams, to go with their top ranking in adjusted OPS, OPS, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. The three homers also gave them 17 to push them past the Phillies for the top spot in that category.
Gonzalez’s season-long hitting streak came to an end, but the Dodgers racked up 14 hits without him — 10 for extra bases, including three doubles by Turner and a homer and two doubles for Van Slyke.
The Dodgers have 10 extra-base hits at home for the first time since The 4+1 Game (they had 13 in that one) http://t.co/vIwcf19KvP
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) April 19, 2015
Meanwhile, Dodger pitching held the NL’s No. 2 offensive team to six runs in three games, with McCarthy separating himself from the homerific woes of his first two starts. Threat in the sixth inning aside, the tall righty cruised through six innings on 92 pitches, striking out six to give him 25 in 18 innings this year. Only Clayton Kershaw has more among MLB pitchers.
Adam Liberatore pitched two perfect innings and Juan Nicasio a shutout ninth to extend the Dodger bullpen’s homestand dominance to 20 1/3 innings with one run allowed (on 14 baserunners) and 28 strikeouts.
Quite a half-hour, quite an afternoon, quite a homestand. The Dodgers next travel to San Francisco to play the Giants, who trail them by six games in the NL West after two weeks.