If getting ejected for complaining about a strike call from the dugout and storming onto the field to berate an umpire were to inspire the Dodgers like it seemed to Friday night, then manager Dave Roberts might want to try it a little more often.
The Dodgers trailed the Colorado Rockies by two runs in the fourth inning when Roberts was tossed by plate umpire Greg Gibson for arguing a two-ball pitch to Gavin Lux that Roberts thought was low.
As Roberts headed to the clubhouse following his first ejection of the season, Lux walked to put two on with no outs. More than a half-hour later, Lux grounded out to end a seven-run, five-hit rally in which the Dodgers sent 12 men to the plate and batted for 41 minutes.
A.J. Pollock provided the biggest hit of the marathon half-inning, a three-run homer, and the Dodgers tacked on four insurance runs in the seventh en route to a 12-5 victory before 53,704 in Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers improved to 14-3 against the Rockies this season and lowered their magic number to clinch home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs to three over Atlanta.
Clayton Kershaw earned the win with six somewhat shaky innings in which the left-hander gave up four runs and eight hits, including three homers, struck out five and walked one to improve to 15-5 with a 3.15 ERA.
Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon hit back-to-back, two-out homers in the first inning. Of the career-high 28 homers Kershaw has allowed this season, 10 have come in the first inning. Kershaw has also allowed 18 earned runs in 27 opening innings for a 6.00 ERA, almost double that of his ERAs in any other inning.
The Rockies pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second when Garrett Hampson reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Tony Wolters RBI single.
Cody Bellinger doubled, took third on Seager’s single and scored on Chris Taylor’s sacrifice fly in the second to trim the deficit to 3-1, but Hampson led off the fourth with a homer to left for a 4-1 Colorado lead.
It was the 13th homer Kershaw has allowed in his last six starts after giving up 15 homers in his first 21 starts of the season. Kershaw had plenty of time to regroup before the fifth.
Seager led off the bottom of the fourth with a homer to right off Rockies starter and San Dimas High product Peter Lambert, continuing a torrid six-game stretch in which the Dodgers shortstop is batting .458 (11 for 24) with a homer, two doubles and six RBIs.
Taylor was hit by a pitch and Lux, after Roberts’ theatrics and ejection, walked. Both runners advanced on Lambert’s wild pick-off throw to second.
Struggling catcher Will Smith, who was batting .127 (eight for 63) with one homer and four RBIs in his previous 20 games, shot a grounder down the third-base line that Arenado made a diving stop of but could not get his throw to first in time. Taylor scored on the infield single to make it 4-3.
Colorado manager Bud Black summoned left-hander Sam Howard to face Kershaw, who bunted the runners up. Enrique Hernandez followed with a pinch-hit, broken-bat RBI single into shallow left to make it 4-4.
Max Muncy, who struck out in his first two at-bats, roped an RBI single to right to make it 5-4, and Pollock blasted a full-count fastball from Howard over the wall in center for a three-run homer — his 15th of the season — and an 8-4 lead.
Bellinger walked and stole second, Seager struck out against reliever Wes Parsons, and Taylor walked to continue an inning that finally ended with Lux’s grounder to first.
A well-rested Kershaw took the mound for the sixth, and after allowing a leadoff single to Arenado, he got Blackmon to ground into a double play and struck out Ian Desmond to end his 99-pitch effort that would end with the Dodgers notching their 99th win of the season.
Kershaw, who improved to 23-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 282 strikeouts in 42 career starts against the Rockies, was replaced by Kenta Maeda, who threw a scoreless seventh.
The Dodgers pushed the lead to 12-4 in the bottom of the seventh on Taylor’s double, RBI singles by Lux and Hernandez and Muncy’s two-run double to left-center.