Justin Turner shakes off rough month with two homers in Dodgers win

Justin Turner hits his second homer of the game in the seventh inning against Padres starter Joe Musgrove.
Justin Turner hits his second homer of the game in the seventh inning against Padres starter Joe Musgrove in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Plenty of Dodgers hitters have swooned in June but few more dramatically than Justin Turner, who hit .209 with no homers and eight RBIs in his first 24 games of the month.

But that didn’t shake manager Dave Roberts’ confidence in the veteran third baseman. Roberts kept plugging Turner into the middle of the order because of his ability to produce in the clutch, citing Turner’s 38 RBIs, fourth-most on the team, and .286 average with runners in scoring position entering Thursday night.

Roberts’ faith was rewarded in the opener of a four-game series against the National League West-rival San Diego Padres when Turner hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh inning, to lead the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 53,094 in Chavez Ravine.


As Dodgers wrestle with a pedestrian June, manager Dave Roberts not willing to drastically change the top of the starting lineup.

June 30, 2022

Turner followed a one-out walk to Max Muncy in the seventh by driving a 1-and-1 cut-fastball from Padres ace Joe Musgrove 404 feet over the right-center field wall for his 13th career multi-homer game and a 3-1 lead.

“We’ve said all along that Justin is a guy who in big spots, big moments, knows how to drive in a run,” Roberts said. “This was a big game, and he rose to the occasion like we’ve seen many times before. That’s as good a swing as I’ve seen him take this year, going to the big part of the field late at night for a home run.”

Most of this season has been a grind for Turner, who is batting .227 with a .673 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, six homers and 41 RBIs, but he said he felt like he was getting “pretty close to breaking out” over the last week or so.

“Yeah, obviously I haven’t felt great, but you still show up every day and play the game and try to find ways to help our team win ballgames,” Turner said. “Eventually, you feel like it’s gonna click, and tonight, I got good results.”

Dodgers left-hander Justin Bruihl, right-hander Evan Phillips and left-hander Alex Vesia combined for 3⅓ scoreless, one-hit innings in relief of starter Mitch White, and closer Craig Kimbrel struck out two of three in a perfect ninth for his 14th save, as the Dodgers opened an 11-game homestand on a high note.

They managed only five hits Thursday night but found a way to beat San Diego’s best pitcher — Musgrove is still 8-2 with a 2.25 ERA and he has quality starts in 13 of his 14 games. They also extended their National League West-lead to 2 1/2 games over the Padres.

The Padres staked Musgrave to a 1-0 lead in the first when Manny Machado, who missed the previous nine games because of a left-ankle injury,
doubled to left field and scored on Nomar Mazara’s two-out RBI single to right-center.

Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel shouts after closing out a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Padres threatened again in the second when they loaded the bases with one out on Trent Grisham’s single, Ha-Seong Kim’s walk and C.J. Abrams’ bunt single.

Grisham tagged on Jurickson Profar’s fly ball to medium right, but Chris Taylor, filling in for injured right fielder Mookie Betts, rifled a 96.3-mph one-hop throw to the plate, and catcher Will Smith made a nice scoop-and-swipe of a tag to nail Grisham to end the inning. According to Statcast, it was the Dodgers’ fastest-tracked outfield assist since the start of 2020.

“You miss Mookie a lot, but I don’t know if Mookie could have done a better job on that play right there,” Roberts said. “And that was a game-changing play. We don’t get him, Machado is up [with two on] and it’s a different ballgame.”


Taylor underwent elbow surgery last winter and said he couldn’t have made that throw in April, but his arm has gotten stronger as the season has progressed.

Dodgers catcher Will Smith tags out San Diego's Trent Grisham at home plate.
Dodgers catcher Will Smith, left, tags out San Diego’s Trent Grisham at home plate on a throw by left fielder Chris Taylor in the second inning.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Dodgers starting pitcher Mitch White delivers in the first inning against the Padres.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

“I was fortunate to be able to catch it moving in, so I had all my momentum going home,” Taylor said. “I was just trying to get rid of it as quick as I can, and Will made a great play. He’s picked me up twice on some short hops this year.”

The Dodgers tied the score 1-1 in the second when Turner drove a 92-mph fastball from Musgrove over the wall in left-center for a solo homer, his first homer since May 18.

White ran into more trouble in the fifth when Profar slapped a one-out double to left and took third on a wild pitch. But White struck out Machado with an 85-mph slider, and Bruihl came on to whiff Jake Cronenworth with an 88-mph slider up in the zone.


Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Cody Bellinger homered and the Dodgers avoided the sweep with a 8-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday in Denver.

June 29, 2022

The Dodgers got some good news before the game when they learned the timetable for the return of Mookie Betts from a right-rib fracture was moved up by a week to 10 days.

The right fielder took batting practice, played catch and took grounders at second base Thursday. The team initially thought Betts would return close to the All-Star break. But after conferring with Betts, Roberts said the dynamic leadoff man could return by early next week.