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    Dodgers dismantle Rangers with 5 homers in 15-run outburst
    • June 12, 2024

    LOS ANGELES — It takes a village, and on Tuesday night, the Dodgers assembled in the town square.

    With former shortstop Corey Seager in the house, the Dodgers showed they have moved on from their former star shortstop in a 15-2 victory over the Texas Rangers, even if they have yet to advance to a World Series without him.

    Mookie Betts, the Dodgers’ third shortstop since Seager departed via free agency after the 2021 season, hit a three-run double. Three left-handed power bats that have arrived since lefty-swinging Seager moved on all hit home runs in a seven-run sixth inning as Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward went deep.

    Teoscar Hernandez also hit a home run in the sixth inning as the Dodgers delivered a season high in runs. Hernandez has been the hottest Dodgers hitter of all with four home runs over his last three games and five over his last five contests.

    The last time the Dodgers hit four home runs in an inning was Sept. 29, 2021, against the San Diego Padres. Seager hit the last of those four, making Tuesday’s display something of a symbolic outburst.

    “You always hear it: hitting is contagious,” said Freeman, who followed Ohtani’s home run with one of his own. “… Shohei hit the homer and you just want to keep it going; start the inning again. You do that and Will (Smith) gets a hit and Teoscar does it again, (then) it’s Jason. Those are the innings that are fun.”

    All Seager could do Tuesday was watch as he sat out his fourth consecutive game for the Rangers with a left hamstring strain. He has not given up hope of playing in the series at some point.

    The Dodgers did welcome Seager back before the game, allowing fans to shower him with appreciation. The former National League Rookie of the Year emerged from the dugout to wave to the crowd and for a brief moment it seemed like old times.

    The cheers only grew louder as the Dodgers’ offense grew stronger. Will Smith had a three-run home run for the Dodgers in the first inning. Betts’ three-run double made it 6-0, and by the time their power explosion was done in the sixth, the statement was complete.

    “It’s awesome when you see everybody getting hits again, getting some production and scoring runs,” Hernandez said. “That’s fun. We enjoy it. I enjoy it. We’re having a great time right now.”

    The Dodgers entered the game scoring 4.9 runs per game but have averaged 5.8 runs over the past 13 games when they went 9-4.

    “I think there’s a little bit better conviction, at-bat quality,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “We ran into some really good arms on the road and navigated our way through that. Tonight, I just thought they won a lot of at-bats, pitches.”

    Even with all of the power, Roberts said his favorite moment came in the middle of the game, on a single run in the fifth inning when Gavin Lux delivered an RBI single for a 7-1 advantage.

    “He was 0-2, spoiled a pitch and found a way to get on base,” Roberts said.

    Lux and Andy Pages each had two hits toward the bottom of the order, while Lux, Pages and Heyward combined to score five runs with three RBIs.

    “I’m always optimistic and just what I saw on the back of that road trip, there are a lot of good things that are happening offensively,” Roberts said. “Tonight, it all came together and I can see us sustaining this for a bit.”

    After winning two of three games in New York against the Yankees over the weekend amid a playoff-like atmosphere, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked if that type of energy and focus was sustainable.

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    “I thought (the Yankees series) was potentially a good preview,” Roberts said of the Dodgers’ capabilities. “Really good baseball. So I definitely know it was in there. It was fun to see it. This is still gonna be a fun series. We’re playing against the world champs.”

    Texas might have a different idea of fun. The Rangers had catcher Andrew Knizner pitching in the seventh inning. Credit to Kinzer, who did not give up a hit while recording five outs.

    “These games aren’t fun; no getting around it,” Rangers manager Bruch Bochy said. “We have to put it behind us. This is a tough team and if you get behind, they’ll make you pay for it.”

    Lost amid the chaos of all that Dodgers’ offense was a rebound effort from Dodgers veteran left-hander James Paxton (6-1), who gave up one run over six innings with just two hits. The start came six days after Paxton gave up a season-worst seven runs (six earned) to the Pittsburgh Pirates in his only loss of the season so far.

    “I mean, the bats are hot and it’s fun to watch all of those homers from the bench,” Paxton said. “It’s great to see.”

    ​ Orange County Register