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    Will Smith hits 3 home runs as Dodgers rally to beat Brewers
    • July 6, 2024

    LOS ANGELES — The starting catcher for the National League All-Star team was on the field at Dodger Stadium on Friday night. The other guy hit three home runs.

    Milwaukee Brewers catcher William Contreras beat Will Smith in the All-Star voting. But it was Smith (who finished third in the voting) who went deep three times – more than Christian Walker even managed in a game this week.

    Smith’s power display kept the Dodgers close enough for Freddie Freeman’s two-run single and Teoscar Hernandez’s RBI double in the eighth inning to give them an 8-5 victory over the Brewers.

    “What a night,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “One to right-center field then to go to left field and then hit another one off the foul pole, really impressive. He’s just so consistent and he just doesn’t get the recognition that he deserves of being one of the top two catchers in the game.

    “Today, he came up big and until that eighth inning it was all him essentially.”

    It nearly wasn’t enough thanks to another problematic start by a Dodgers pitcher.

    Tyler Glasnow allowed just three hits and became the first Dodgers starter to complete six innings in seven games, but he gave up five runs in the fourth inning.

    In seven games since Gavin Stone threw a complete-game shutout in Chicago, the Dodgers’ starting pitchers have been stuck in a valley. With Glasnow’s performance Friday, they have allowed 30 runs in 30 innings on 42 hits and 13 walks.

    Glasnow seemed ready to reverse the rotation’s trend. He retired the first nine Brewers in order – then faced eight in the fourth inning alone.

    An infield single, two walks and an RBI single punched through the right side by Willy Adames brought Rhys Hoskins up with the bases loaded and one out. Glasnow grooved a 98 mph fastball up in the strike zone on his first pitch and Hoskins clubbed it into the left field pavilion for a grand slam.

    “I think the (Brice) Turang infield hit and then the walk to Contreras and then I think he started getting a little frustrated, a little quick,” Roberts said.

    Glasnow was more direct when asked to pinpoint the problem that inning.

    “He hit a homer,” Glasnow said. “I just think that inning, especially the timing was a little weird and then not executing, falling behind and then just heater up and he put a good barrel on it.”

    Glasnow did make it through six innings – the first time a starter has made it into the sixth for the Dodgers since Stone’s gem against the White Sox.

    The Brewers put all their eggs in that five-run basket. They had just one hit in the other eight innings of the game.

    The crooked number in the fourth did reverse an early Dodgers lead built on Smith’s first two home runs, both solo shots.

    In the bottom of the fourth, Miguel Vargas made it a one-run game with a two-run home run.

    “Vargas really had a big night for us,” Roberts said.

    “He’s been great. He’s in a very good and confident headspace. Ready when called upon. He’s working in left field every day. His body looks great. He wants to be in there. He’s prepared. … If he keeps having good at-bats like that, he’s going to get more opportunities.”

    In the seventh, Smith did it again, jumping on a first-pitch cutter from former Dodgers reliever Bryan Hudson and sending a high fly ball down the left field line that banged off the foul pole to tie the score.

    Smith had just two home runs in 99 plate appearances before Friday and had never hit three in a game. Only three previous Dodgers catchers had – Roy Campanella in 1950, Mike Piazza in 1996 and Yasmani Grandal in 2016.

    “I think that’s baseball. There’s always ups and downs,” said Smith, who took a 2-for-34 slump into last weekend’s series in San Francisco and was given extra time off by Roberts to work on his swing.

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    “Just continued to work, mix in minor swing adjustments. I think over the last week, there has been better contact, and yeah tonight there were a few out there.”

    Vargas started the winning rally in the eighth with a leadoff single. Walks of Chris Taylor and Smith loaded the bases for Freeman with two outs.

    The Brewers brought in side-arming lefty Hoby Milner to face Freeman, who was 2 for 12 in his career against the specialist. That became 3 for 13 when Freeman punched a two-run single through the middle. Hernandez’s double into the left-field corner added an insurance run.

    “They bring in the lefty and Freddie, his ability to not have any moment get too big, he just grinds and competes and he has a way to put the ball in play,” Roberts said. “He wants to be that guy and he’s done it for us time and time again.”

    Shohei Ohtani was not part of the party Friday. He marked his 30th birthday by going 0 for 5 with strikeouts in his first three at-bats, extending a career-long streak to six consecutive at-bats with strikeouts. Ohtani has slipped into a slump over the past week with 15 strikeouts in his past 29 at-bats.

    ​ Orange County Register 

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