LOS ANGELES (AP)Freddie Freeman has been a consistent hitter in his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The All-Star first baseman though was lacking in the power department for most of the season.
That hasn’t been the case over the past three weeks.
Freeman hit his sixth home run since June 11 during the first inning of Saturday’s game against San Diego. It was part of a three-homer barrage during a seven-pitch span in the inning as the Dodgers continued their dominance of the Padres with a 7-2 victory.
”I’m doing nothing different. I wish I had a specific answer. I’m just seeing the ball and it’s falling in right now,” said Freeman, who has 10 homers on the season and is seventh in the National League with a .307 batting average.
Freeman, who is batting .369 (31 for 84) with six home runs and 19 RBIs since June 9, Will Smith and Justin Turner all connected for solo shots off Padres starter Yu Darvish (7-4). It was the third time this season they have had three homers in an inning.
That was enough to support Tyler Anderson (9-1), who allowed one run and six hits and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings to become the third NL pitcher to reach at least nine wins. Teammate Tony Gonsolin picked up his league-leading 10th on Friday night.
”It just shows what we’re capable of. We’re taking good at-bats and we’re doing good situationally,” manager Dave Roberts said. ”We’re also getting good starting pitching and guys are doing their job. So, as a result, we’ve won three ballgames.”
The Dodgers have won 14 of their last 15 against the Padres since getting swept in a three-game series last June in San Diego. They go for their first four-game sweep against the NL West rivals since 2009 on Sunday.
Luke Voit had two hits, including a solo shot in the eighth inning for the Padres, who have dropped three straight and six of their last seven to fall 4 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the division.
San Diego has dropped nine straight at Dodger Stadium, their second-longest skid in Chavez Ravine.
Freeman – who signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Dodgers after 12 seasons in Atlanta – lined Darvish’s slider over the right field wall with one out in the first for his 10th of the season and second in the last four games. Two pitches later, Smith hit his 13th when he hit a cutter to right-center that was just beyond the reach of Padres right fielder Jose Azocar.
After Max Muncy flew out to deep center, Turner hammered a fastball down the left-field line for his third homer in the series and seventh of the year.
Los Angeles added runs in the second and third on Trea Turner’s RBI single and a double by Jake Lamb to score Turner.
Darvish went six innings, the eighth straight time he has thrown six innings or more. The right-hander allowed five runs and eight hits and struck out 10. It was only the second time in eight career starts against the Dodgers Darvish allowed more than two runs.
”They were on a few pitches early in the game and hit three home runs which is surprising. He locked in later on and got us some innings,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. ”We made him throw more pitches than he should have. The early innings were not great for us. We need to play cleaner than that.”
The Padres got on the board in the seventh. Austin Nola led off the inning with a base hit, advanced to third on Ha-Seong Kim’s single and scored on Trent Grisham’s sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.
The Dodgers countered with a pair in the home half on sacrifice flies by Muncy and Turner.
Padres: Manny Machado (left ankle sprain) started at third base for the first time since June 18 and was 1 for 4. He was the designated hitter on Thursday after missing nine games due to a left ankle sprain and came on as a pinch-hitter during the eighth inning Friday before remaining in the game at third. … C Jorge Alfaro (right knee inflammation) returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after not starting the past four games. He went 0 for 3.
Dodgers: RF Chris Taylor left in the sixth inning due to a left foot contusion. … Mookie Betts (ribs) is on track to be activated Sunday after taking at-bats in a simulated game. … P Caleb Ferguson (left forearm tendinitis) is one track to return next week after he threw one inning in a simulated game.
Padres: LHP MacKenzie Gore (4-3, 3.34 ERA) faces the Dodgers for the first time.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-2, 2.94 ERA) is 1-2 in four starts since returning from the IL. He has allowed 10 runs in 19 innings.
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