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After an anemic first couple months of the season Ricky Wagner Jersey , the Dodgers are powering balls out of the stadium at a near record rate.

Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger each hit a solo home run, Joc Pederson added a two-run shot and Los Angeles defeated the Chicago Cubs 7-5 on Wednesday night.

The Dodgers improved to 17-6 in June and have slugged a major league-leading 51 homers this month. That’s the second-most during any month in franchise history. With three days remaining, they have a chance to overtake last year’s team that set the record with 53 while the single-season record of 58 in a month is within reach, too.

”It just seems like they’re taking really good swings,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”When there’s a mistake in the strike zone, we hit it hard.”

The Dodgers hit 25 home runs in late March and April and 31 in May. The current surge is being generated by a variety of players.

”It’s scary facing us,” Bellinger said. ”We’re clicking right now.”

After not homering in a 9-4 loss to the Cubs on Tuesday that snapped their four-game winning streak, the Dodgers got going early despite not having Matt Kemp in the lineup. The outfielder, who is hitting .311, served a one-game suspension after losing his appeal with Major League Baseball for a scuffle with Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos on June 13.

Muncy homered over the center-field wall in the first for his ninth long ball this month and 16th of the season. The ball hit something beyond the wall and bounced back onto the field, grazing center fielder Albert Almora Jr. in the head.

Later in the inning, Yasmani Grandal’s two-run double with two outs gave the Dodgers the lead for good, 3-2.

Pederson followed in the second with his 10th homer of the month to make it 5-2. Enrique Hernandez extended the lead with an RBI single.

Alex Wood (4-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to earn his third straight win. The left-hander struck out six and walked none, retiring the final seven batters he faced.

Kenley Jansen earned a four-out save, his 21st of the season.

Chicago made it close after Wood exited. He was replaced in the eighth by Scott Alexander, who walked Jason Heyward and gave up a single to Javier Baez before Willson Contreras hit a two-run double to pull the Cubs to 6-5.

Ben Zobrist grounded back to Alexander, putting the potential tying run on third, but Jansen came in and struck out Addison Russell to end the inning.

”The at-bats had great approaches,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ”I thought we hit the ball all over the place. Javy hit it to right and right center. Same with Contreras. Good approaches. We played our butts off, we just didn’t get it.”

Bellinger homered leading off the eighth against Randy Rosario, tying Muncy for the team lead with 16 homers and making it 7-5.

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (5-8) gave up six runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings, failing to go at least five innings for the first time in 16 starts this season. The team has lost five of his last six starts.

”I’m just searching right now, it’s just bad,” Hendricks said. ”I don’t know mechanics and I’m trying to focus mentally and go pitch-to-pitch. Something is just off. I’ve had troubles in my career, but this is up there as one of the toughest.”

Chicago took the lead in the first on a two-run homer by Contreras.

In the fifth, Heyward reached on an infield single that Wood raced to pick up along the first base line. He flipped to Bellinger, and first base umpire Alan Porter signaled that Heyward was out. But the ball came loose and second baseman Logan Forsythe, backing up the play, fired to the plate. Ian Happ, who singled leading off, was called safe to leave the Cubs trailing 6-3.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: Chicago closer Brandon Morrow (lower back tightness) was activated off the DL. He had been sidelined since June 20 after experiencing back spasms while taking his pants off. … RHP Tyler Chatwood will be available soon. Chatwood has been on paternity leave after his wife gave birth last Sunday.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (right rib microfracture) will throw three innings in a rehab start at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. If it goes well, he will have a bullpen session this weekend and could possibly return to the rotation next week. … INF-OF Chris Taylor (left hamstring) wasn’t in the lineup for the sixth straight day but pinch hit in the seventh and will start on Thursday.

UP NEXT

Cubs LHP Jose Quintana (6-6, 4.26 ERA) starts the series finale against LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.94). Quintana is better on the road (3.22 ERA) than at home (6.00). Making his second start since coming off the disabled list, Kershaw is 5-3 in nine career starts against Chicago with a 2.64 ERA.



Corey Kluber doesn’t often appear hittable, beatable or unremarkable.

It’s a baseball rarity Zach Zenner Jersey , like a triple play.

On Friday night, it happened.

Kluber had a rare rocky performance, lasting just five innings and losing for the first time in seven starts as Kyle Gibson outpitched the Cy Young winner and Brian Dozier hit a two-run homer off him to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 6-3 win over the Cleveland Indians.

”I guess he proved he’s human,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. ”He doesn’t look like it very often.”

Kluber (10-3) allowed a homer on his fourth pitch of the game to Eddie Rosario and was pulled after throwing just 65 pitches by Francona, who wants to preserve his ace for bigger games ahead.

”If we want to get where we want to go, he’s going to have a major part in that,” Francona said.

It was the shortest outing this season for the All-Star, who came in 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA against AL Central teams and was riding several other impressive streaks.

Kluber didn’t offer any excuses and understood Francona’s rationale for lifting him.

”Just out of whack a little bit mechanically,” Kluber said. ”Obviously didn’t make good pitches to a few guys. Made some mistakes and they took advantage of it.”

Gibson (2-4) limited the Indians to one run and three hits in seven innings and got his first win since his season debut on March 31.

Yan Gomes homered in the ninth and the Indians closed to 6-3 before closer Fernando Rodney struck out Francisco Lindor with one on for his 15th save.

The Twins came into the series struggling at the plate and figured to be in for a tough time against Kluber, who has been as dominant this season as any stretch of his career and was seeking to become baseball’s first 11-game winner.

Kluber, though, wasn’t Kluber.

With Joe Mauer returning from the disabled list after missing 25 games with a strained neck and concussion-like symptoms, Minnesota manager Paul Molitor dropped Dozier from the leadoff spot to No. 5 and the second baseman responded with his two-run homer in the fourth and three RBIs.

Minnesota’s plan was to be aggressive against Kluber and it worked.

”He’s not really a guy where anybody’s too comfortable getting behind or hitting with two strikes,” Molitor said. ”A lot of our damage was aggressive at-bats, Rosie first pitch and Doz I think maybe second pitch of his at-bat, so we were trying to get after him a little bit.”

Dozier put the Twins ahead 4-0 in the fourth, when Kluber allowed his first walk in seven starts.

After Rosario doubled, Kluber threw four balls to Eduardo Escobar, snapping his string without a walk at 46 1/3 innings – the longest for a Cleveland pitcher in 11 years. Rosario then scored when Lindor’s return throw to first after a force out nearly went into Minnesota’s dugout.

Dozier followed by snapping an 0-for-20 slump with his 10th homer, a shot that put Kluber in an unfamiliar hole. The steady-and-stoic star had not given up more than three runs in a game since Aug. 3, a span of 27 starts and testament to his consistency.

ERROR PRONE

Lindor had two more errors, giving the Indians All-Star shortstop 10 this season, tying his total from 2017.

Francona isn’t concerned about it becoming a lasting trend.

”Shoot, he’s so good,” Francona said. ”We forget how young he is sometimes, because he’s so good. If that’s the worst thing we can come up with, he’s pretty good. ”

SIDELINED

The Indians were without starting first baseman Yonder Alonso, who was placed on the family-medical-emergency list and will miss at least this series.

CLEVELAND ROCKS

A trip to Progressive Field may have helped Dozier snap out of his funk. His homer was the 14th of his career at the ballpark, his most in any visiting stadium. Dozier has reached base in each of his last 19 games in Cleveland, batting .316 (24 for 76) with eight homers and 19 RBIs.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: OF Byron Buxton (toe fracture) is working out with the team and could begin a minor league rehab assignment in a few days. He was injured May 29 and placed on the disabled list the following day.

Indians: There’s still no definitive plan with All-Star LHP Andrew Miller, who has been out since May 24 with right knee inflammation. Francona said the team is taking a ”long-term” approach with the elite reliever, who has been on the DL twice this season. ”When we get him back, we want to keep him back,” Francona said.

UP NEXT

Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco shut out Chicago with 11 strikeouts in seven innings in his last outing. He’ll make his third start this season against the Twins, who will counter with Fernando Romero.

10-17-2018, 10:23 PM
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