Dodgers erase early three-run deficit with five homers in 7-4 victory over Mets

on Aug6

The 1912 New York Giants were a formidable bunch. Running the team from the bench was Hall of Fame manager John McGraw. Christy Mathewson won 23 games and saved five others. Larry Doyle hit .330 and was the National League most valuable player. At one point during their charmed summer, the group went 43-7.

“I think some guys in the clubhouse here think I was on that team,” cracked Rich Hill, who is, at 37, the oldest pitcher on the Dodgers. “Unfortunately, I missed that.”

But he has not missed the performance of the 2017 Dodgers, who took a 7-4 victory over the Mets on Saturday to improve their record to 43-7 since June 7. No major league team has performed better over a 50-game stretch since McGraw and Mathewson and Doyle prowled the Polo Grounds, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The 2013 Dodgers came close. This current club has surpassed even that.

“What was the 2013 team, 42-8?” Justin Turner said. “Got ’em!”

On Saturday, Turner was one of five Dodgers to homer as the team overcame a three-run first-inning deficit and showed off their offensive firepower despite failing to record a hit in the first four innings.

Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger combined to tie the score in the sixth. Yasiel Puig broke the deadlock in the seventh. An inning later, Turner ended a 13-game drought without a homer. In the ninth, Corey Seager emptied Citi Field with a two-run shot.

Ambushed for three solo homers in the first, Hill recovered to strike out eight and didn’t allow another run. The bullpen kept the Mets quiet until Ross Stripling allowed a solo homer in the ninth.

All 11 runs in the game scored on home runs.

“We win in different ways,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Those guys slugged early. We slugged late. Consistent contributions from all these guys throughout the lineup.”

The Mets bloodied Hill in the first. He paid for a belt-high, 0-1 fastball to outfielder Michael Conforto in the first at-bat of the inning. The ball landed in the Dodgers’ bullpen.

Two batters later, Hill fed first baseman Wilmer Flores another fastball at the waist. Flores drove this one just beyond the fence of the left-field party deck.

Four pitches after Flores’ homer, outfielder Curtis Granderson attacked yet another misplaced fastball. All three pitches received punishment for their location.

“Just a few pitches left over the middle of the plate,” Hill said. “Sometimes those translate to pop flies. And those translated into fly balls.”

In charge of the lead was a 27-year-old right-hander making his 10th appearance in 2017. Seth Lugo posted a 2.67 earned-run average in 2016, but his ERA this year was 4.53 heading into Saturday.

Despite his middling statistics, Lugo kept the Dodgers off balance. He issued a one-out walk to Seager in the first inning, but retired the 14 other hitters he faced to start the day.

The Dodgers remained in search of their first hit when the fifth inning began. With two outs, Yasmani Grandal whacked a changeup into the right-field corner for a double. A rally appeared possible, with Yasiel Puig up next. But Mets manager Terry Collins defused the situation by intentionally walking Puig. Hill struck out to strand the runners.

That only delayed the inevitable. Lugo could not complete the sixth. Taylor hammered a hanging slider for a solo shot, his 15th homer of the season, to lead off the inning and get the Dodgers on the board. Before this season, Taylor had homered once in the majors.

“That was the goal coming into the year: I wanted to hit for more power, I wanted to drive the ball,” Taylor said. “But if you would have told me I would have 15 homers at this point, I would have been shocked.”

Two batters later, Turner supplied a single. The table was set for Bellinger. He did not wait long. Lugo missed upstairs with a fastball. A slider sailed too far inside. Rather than challenge Bellinger with a 2-0 fastball, Lugo tried to fool him with another slider. It crossed the heart of the plate. Bellinger made it disappear over the fence in right.

“It’s hard to get through [our lineup] multiple times,” Bellinger said. “It was just a matter of time.”

The onslaught had only begun. Puig lined the first pitch of the seventh inning just over the fence in left. It was his 21st homer of the season, as he continues to build on his career high.

An inning later, Turner connected with a 90-mph fastball down the middle from Mets reliever Paul Sewald, hitting it over the center-field fence to add some insurance. There was more where that came from. In the ninth, Seager detonated a 91-mph fastball deep into the second deck in right field. An exodus of Mets fans soon followed, another group astounded by the 2017 Dodgers.

“We’re just very confident,” Taylor said. “We understand that at any point in the game, we can go off.”

Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter @McCulloughTimes

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