SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are 24 games above .500 when they hit at least one home run and two games under .500 when they don’t.
Their record when they hit five home runs is 1-0. They did it for the first time Friday night in San Diego, romping to an 8-4 win over the Padres at Petco Field. The Dodgers seem awfully dependent on the home run to score, which may or may not be a problem in the postseason.
How it happened: Mike Bolsinger allowed only two hits in five innings, which is great aside from the fact they accounted for three runs. Matt Kemp hit a two-run home run and Jedd Gyorko hit a solo shot off a fan’s glove. Both home runs came on hanging curveballs. All the same, it might have been enough to get Bolsinger another start given Mat Latos’ struggles.
The Dodgers drove up James Shields’ pitch count and had him out of the game after five innings. Then they hit San Diego’s bullpen hard. Manager Don Mattingly even got some rare praise on Twitter after he sent Andre Ethier up as a pinch hitter to bait San Diego manager Pat Murphy into bringing in lefty Marc Rzepczynski, who had been hit hard the night before. Mattingly countered with Ruggiano, who hit a two-run home run. Gonzalez later added another two-run blast, his 26th of the season, and Utley hit a solo shot to give the Dodgers a five-run lead.
What it means: It’s about time to start throwing this out there: The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the NL West is 21. The San Francisco Giants continued to freefall with a 2-1 loss at Colorado, giving the Dodgers a 7½-game lead with 28 to play.
Notable: The neighborhood play is a sore spot for the Dodgers right now. A night after they lost a double play because umpire Chris Conroy said Utley wasn’t on the bag, a member of Conroy’s crew had a different view entirely of neighborhood calls. Ted Barrett called Utley out at second on a Corey Seager fielder’s choice groundout although shortstop Gyorko was roughly five feet from the bag when he threw to first. Mattingly argued for a while, but the play was not reviewable. ... Seager had another strong showing in Day 2 of his major league career. The highly touted infielder had the sharp groundout for an RBI, singled up the middle and yanked a double into the right-field corner, going 2-for-5. He also played a fairly new position, third base, without incident. ... Catcher Yasmani Grandal is in a ferocious slump. He is 0 for his last 30 and 1 for his last 42. He does have 10 walks in that time. Before the game, Mattingly said the team will continue to stick with him as the primary catcher despite A.J. Ellis’ hot hitting. Grandal is a good pitch framer and has developed solid rapport with several Dodgers pitchers. ... Schebler has never been a highly touted prospect, but the young outfielder has a solid skill set and he had his best major league game Friday, hitting his first major league home run, singling and stealing two bases.