Dodgers as well as Chicago Cubs a total of 17 runs, 12 hits, six walks, two batters, two outfield misplays, one error, and 187 pitches thrown by five hurlers by the time the Sunday game dragged into midday.
And then the fourth inning began.
“The worst,” Dodgers shortstop Three Turner said when asked to describe the first three innings 11-9 win from behind over the Cubs in front of a crowd of 41,824 at Dodger Stadium. “It was terrible. But at least we were able to bounce back and win, so that helps a bit.”
The Dodgers didn’t earn a lot of style points. Starter Julio Urias was rocked with five runs and three hits, including a PJ Higgins Grand Slam, in the first inning with 45 innings, and the left-hander only lasted two innings, his shortest start of the season.
Left fielder Gavin Lux had one ball over his head and another drop in front of him – both with a 90% catch rate, according to Statcast – for key hits in the first.
After the Dodgers hit three points in the bottom of the first, reliever Phil Bickford conceded a three-point homer to David Botha in the third, extending the deficit to five. It took the teams nearly two hours to complete three innings.
But the attack landed just 14 hits, including a homer, a double and two singles. Freddy Freemanand pitchers Yancy Almonte, Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia and Brousdard Graterol combined to hit 5 2/3 innings without hitting, pushing the Dodgers (56-29) to their 11th win in 12 games, with their Western National League ahead of San Diego by up to eight games.
“You’re down 5-0, you just want to come back and play that game,” Freeman said after the 3-hour, 59-minute marathon. “For offense, to do it and see it through, that’s what special teams do.”
It was Freeman, one of several Dodgers All-Star snubs, who ignited a six-run third inning play that turned an 8-3 deficit into a 9-8 lead, and a slugger doubled the lead to the left at 105 mph. center pitcher Matt Swarmer.
Freeman took third on pitcher Mark Leiter, Jr.’s wild pitch and scored a goal on Will Smith’s strikeout to make it 8–4. Justin Turner scored on the right to take third behind a double from Max Munsey, a 107.9 mph laser over the head of right fielder Nelson Velasquez.
Trace Thompson went to load the bases. Pinching hitter Jake Lamb struck out. Lux walked, forcing the run to make the score 8-5. Mookie Betts landed in third, but Patrick Wisdom’s one-jump toss rebounded off first base on a two-run error to put the score at 8-7. Trea Turner rolled out a two-run single to the left to lead the Dodgers 9–8.
Freeman’s solo homer at left center extended the lead to 10-8 in the sixth, and his RBI single with two outs from left and Lux, who stood out and took second on a wild field, made him 11-8 in the seventh.
Chicago pulled within 11-9 in the eighth as Velasquez led with a 428-foot homer off Dodgers left-hander David Price. Bote doubled up to right center, while striker Seiya Suzuki took the lead, bringing the go-ahead in striker Rafael Ortega.
But Graterol replaced Price and it only took him five innings to extinguish the threat, forcing Ortega to pick a fielder and Wilson Contreras into a 4-6-3 double play. Graterol made one-two-three ninths for his third save.
“I had a short conversation with Julio [after he departed] and he said, “We’re going to come back and win this game,” manager Dave Roberts said. “There are times in the year when you feel [a 5-0 deficit] is irresistible, but I think the way we responded quickly today was a real sign that we would not be refused.”
The Dodgers took a big chunk out of an early deficit, taking three runs in the bottom of the first in which Betts walked, Three Turner singled, Smith lined up a double RBI left, Justin Turner rolled an RBI single left, and Munsey hit a sacrificial fly on the warning lane at center .
“Five runs is a lot, but it was the first inning so we had nine more innings, 27 strikeouts,” said Lux, who had two singles and two walks. “I think that’s enough for us to break away.
The victory capped the Dodgers’ first 10-1 home stance since 1980 and ended a grueling 20-game stretch in 20 days that saw them go 16-4, extending a division lead that was just one game on June 23 .
“It was a great team win,” Roberts said. “We’re five runs behind [twice]but we just persevered. The crime has intensified. We went through almost all of our pitchers. To complete the 20-game and 11-game stretch at home the way we did, I’m really happy for our guys.”