By Jon Weisman
Just like Tuesday, the Dodgers erased a 1-0 midgame deficit tonight with one swing of the bat.
It’s a fine formula.
Tonight’s hero was Adrián González, who — doing his best Howie Kendrick — hit a lead-changing homer in the fourth inning, and then — doing his best Chase Utley — hit his second homer of the night in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ 7-2 victory over Philadelphia.
Los Angeles now leads the National League West by 1 1/2 games, their biggest margin since April 26. The Dodgers have gained 9 1/2 games on the Giants in 52 days.
González’s first two-homer game since July 17, 2015 at Washington gave him 12 on the season, and marked the second time in his career he had two-run and three-run homers in the same game.
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He also laid out for the game’s biggest defensive play, a diving grab of Odubel Herrera’s liner down the line with none out in the first inning and completing an unassisted double play.
The Dodgers’ other home run tonight came from Justin Turner (who took over the team lead with his 22nd) and had distinction of its own — a 40-degree launch angle.
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Not distinctive enough for you? You were hoping for 45? You’re silly. According to Mike Petriello, it was the highest, steepest, ascendiest four-bagger hit by the Dodgers since last season. Nearly 99 percent of all home runs are hit with less height.
Joc Pederson, who reached base four times with three singles and a walk, now has a .352 on-base percentage and .513 slugging percentage. Not since late May have those numbers been so high for Pederson, whose OPS since June 1 is above .900.
After the Dodgers took the lead, they faced one particularly tense moment. Trailing 5-1 in the sixth, the Phillies got a homer and two singles to knock out Scott Kazmir (11 baserunners, one strikeout in 95 pitches). Lefty reliever Grant Dayton gave up another single to load the bases, still with nobody out.
Facing the go-ahead run three consecutive times, Dayton finished the inning on 14 pitches without allowing another run. González hit his two-run homer moments later, and Los Angeles exhaled.
It did get scary there for a while but clouds passed and the sun shown. We just have to win as many games as possible.
I still say Justin Turner deserves MVP consideration. It was his return to form after the early season problems that began our turn-around. And we’ve had many games where his bat led the way. And his defense is stellar, something he showed again last night.