It requires a truly wretched effort from a pitching staff to lose a game in which your offense hits six home runs. Lucky for the Dodgers, on Sunday they hit seven.
“That’s what we do,” Enrique Hernandez said after the Dodgers’ 8-7 victory over the New York Mets. “We hit homers.”
On Sunday, the Dodgers set a record for home runs in one game at Citi Field, and finished one shy of the franchise record. All seven were solo shots. Hernandez and Cody Bellinger each hit two. Max Muncy and Joc Pederson went deep, too. In the 11th inning, Justin Turner ended a deadlock with a blast against Chris Flexen (0-1).
The barrage took the heat off Rich Hill and Erik Goeddel. Hill gave up four runs in five innings. Goeddel squandered a three-run lead in the eighth inning when he served up a score-tying home run to catcher Kevin Plawecki.
The game drifted beyond regulation as the teams ran out of pitchers. The Dodgers asked Daniel Hudson (2-2) to pitch the final two innings. Flexen was the seventh pitcher used by the Mets. Turner had started the game on the bench, given a chance to reset amid a slump.
Turner had hit .216 in June. He managed one hit between Friday and Saturday. He had not expected the offense would need more than the initial six-pack of home runs, but he was willing to help the cause.
“It felt good to just hit a ball on the barrel,” Turner said. “It was a rough weekend. Take a big swing to get us out of here on a high note, and back to L.A.”
The Dodgers (41-35) completed a sweep and finished the trip with a 4-2 record. The team is six games above .500 for the first time. A four-game series with the Chicago Cubs awaits the Dodgers at home starting Monday.
On this trip, Hill bounced off the disabled list and silenced the Cubs for six innings at Wrigley Field. Hill could not replicate that performance Sunday. He failed to maintain the fluidity of his mechanics as he hit three batters, including outfielder Brandon Nimmo twice.
The home runs prevented Hill from wearing a loss. In the eighth inning, Goeddel vaporized the lead in efficient fashion, yielding a walk, a single and a score-tying home run from catcher Kevin Plawecki. Manager Dave Roberts still took solace in the rest of the relievers, who kept the Mets off the board.
“Good job by the guys all around,” Roberts said.
At the start, the Dodgers benefited from the decisions of their hosts. Left-hander Jason Vargas on Wednesday told team officials about his strained calf. The Mets still scheduled him to start Sunday, and declined to fly in a pitcher from their triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas. When Vargas irritated the calf during drills Saturday, the Mets were left without a starter.
On Sunday morning, the Mets informed the Dodgers that reliever Jerry Blevins would start. Blevins throws with his left hand. The Dodgers countered by leading off Hernandez, who slugs well against left-handed pitchers. The setup worked well for the Dodgers: Hernandez bashed the third pitch of the game for a home run.
Blevins had a more favorable matchup in the next at-bat. Muncy is a left-handed hitter. The platoon advantage did not matter. Muncy clubbed his 15th home run on a belt-high, 87-mph fastball.
The lead did not last. Hill lost the handle of a fastball and clipped outfielder Dom Smith in the second inning. Next up was Plawecki, who ripped a curveball into the left-field corner for a run-scoring double. An inning later, Hill hit Nimmo with a curveball. Hill picked up two outs before serving up a score-tying double by first baseman Wilmer Flores over Pederson’s head in center field.
“It was just the inconsistency of the ball coming out of my hand,” Hill said. “That’s what I can point to. Really just didn’t have a great feel with all of my pitches.”
The Dodgers pulled ahead in the fourth inning with a home run. Bellinger detonated a misplaced, two-strike fastball from Tim Peterson. Hill frittered the advantage away in the fifth.
Nimmo led off the inning. A cutter from Hill collided with Nimmo’s hand. Hill compounded the trouble by flipping a curveball over the plate to second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera lifted the ball out to the party deck in left field for a two-run blast.
“The ball didn’t come out of my hand probably half the time the way that I wanted it to,” Hill said. “Obviously, I’m really disappointed about it, just the execution of the pitches. That really is going to bother me for a couple days.”
Hernandez evened the score in the sixth inning. The Mets were using their third pitcher, Chris Beck, 27-year-old right-hander with a 5.95 career earned-run average. When Beck slopped a 2-and-2 slider down the middle, Hernandez pounced for the Dodgers’ fourth home run. He credited the spectators at Citi Field for motivating him by booing Chase Utley.
“I really don’t like the way they boo him here,” Hernandez said. “That adds a little bit to my game.”
The fifth home run took flight in the seventh. Anthony Swarzak tried to sneak a slider past Pederson. The gambit did not work. Pederson deposited the pitch deep into the second deck of right field, where it crashed into a row of empty seats.
Swarzak stayed in for the eighth. The Dodgers kept pummeling him. They produced a run without leaving the ballpark after Hernandez scored from third base when Matt Kemp bounced into a double play. Then Bellinger stepped in to face Swarzak. An elevated 92-mph fastball cruised to the plate. Bellinger walloped it into the second deck, the same area he visited with a grand slam Friday night.