Middle-of-the-order production drives Dodgers to sweeping win over Giants

Max Muncy hits a run-scoring double off San Francisco Giants pitcher Alex Cobb during the third inning.
Max Muncy hits a run-scoring double off Giants pitcher Alex Cobb during the third inning of the Dodgers’ 7-4 win Sunday. Muncy also scored twice as the Dodgers extended their winning streak to eight.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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The Dodgers’ big three opened the scoring Sunday afternoon when Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman hit consecutive singles to lead off the first inning.

But, in a perhaps auspicious sign for an at-times top-heavy lineup, it was the middle of the order that keyed a 7-4 win over the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Unlike most days, when the Dodgers’ superstar trio typically carries the offensive load, the Nos. 4 to 7 batters in the order provided the most offensive fireworks.


Collectively, they went seven for 15 with six RBIs. They also orchestrated a pair of three-run rallies, helping the Dodgers (64-30) extend their winning streak to a season-high eight games and complete a four-game sweep of the Giants (48-47) for the first time since 1995.

As the MLB trade deadline looms, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has to decide whether the club should pursue players such as Juan Soto.

July 24, 2022

Cleanup hitter Jake Lamb had two doubles and an RBI. Gavin Lux went two for four with two RBIs. Max Muncy had an RBI double and two runs scored. Trayce Thompson also drove in a pair in a two-for-four display.

“We got contributions from everyone up and down the lineup,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s really, really good to see the team offense.”

From the moment Freeman signed in March, joining Betts and Turner at the top of the order, there was little doubt about the talent the team would have leading its lineup.

Entering Sunday, the Dodgers had the best combined on-base-plus-slugging percentage in the majors from the Nos. 1 to 3 spots in their lineup, recording a combined mark of .882.

The bottom third of the order, thanks largely to batting Lux eighth or ninth most days, had also been productive, recording the second-highest combined OPS from that stretch of the order in the majors.

Trayce Thompson, left, runs to first after hitting a run-scoring double.
The Dodgers’ Trayce Thompson runs out of the batter’s box after hitting a run-scoring double off San Francisco relief pitcher Tyler Rogers in the seventh inning.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

For the Dodgers, the biggest hole had been the middle three spots, where they had just a .682 OPS that ranked 23rd.

“First couple of months, it certainly wasn’t there,” Roberts said. “But the last month and a half or so, it’s almost to the point now that we’ve been a lot better and more consistent than we had been.”

On Sunday, that was especially true.

With catcher Will Smith, the usual cleanup hitter, getting the day off, the Dodgers put Lamb fourth. With Justin Turner still battling rib discomfort (Roberts said Turner could be back this week), Lux moved up to fifth for the first time this season.

Muncy, despite being mired in another extended slump, slotted sixth. Thompson, in a rare start against a right-handed pitcher in Alex Cobb, batted seventh.

Their first time through, they came up empty, failing to add any more runs after the three first-inning singles.

But when they came back around, coming up in the bottom of the third a half-inning after Thairo Estrada’s two-run single had given the Giants a 2-1 lead, they delivered.


It started with Lamb, who hit a two-out double to center. Lux drove him home with a single, tying the score at 2. Then Muncy and Thompson hit an RBI double and RBI single, respectively, with Muncy’s ending a three-for-38 drought at the plate.

Of the 22 runs the Dodgers had scored in the series up to that point, 20 had come with two outs.

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson, whose brother Trayce Thompson plays on the Dodgers, signs autographs.
Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson, whose brother Trayce plays for the Dodgers, signs autographs at Dodger Stadium during Sunday’s game.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“No matter who comes up,” said Lamb, who is batting .250 in 17 games with the Dodgers, “you feel like everyone can get the job done.”

The Giants tied the score at 4 in the top of the fifth, when Darin Ruf hit a two-run home run that knocked Clayton Kershaw out of the game — marking the left-hander’s shortest start at home this season.

But after Freeman lined a seventh-inning double that was misplayed in left by Giants outfielder Yermín Mercedes, the Dodgers’ middle four hitters came through again.


Facing Giants sidearm right-hander Tyler Rogers, Lamb bounced a go-ahead, ground-rule double into the right-field seats, putting the Dodgers ahead 5-4.

Lux followed with a run-scoring single to center, raising his batting average to .295.

Julio Urías pitched six scoreless innings and Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman homered as the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2.

July 23, 2022

Muncy bounced into a fielder’s choice, but then Thompson sent a run-scoring double into the right-center gap for his 13th RBI in 25 games with the Dodgers.

On a day the team’s bullpen contributed 4⅔ scoreless innings, the seventh-inning outburst proved to be more than enough.

“Obviously, we got our big four or five guys up in the front,” Kershaw said, “but Lamber is swinging the bat and Trayce. All the way down, it’s been really fun to watch.”

As Thompson pulled into second base, his brother, Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson, leapt in excitement from his seat behind the visiting dugout.

Around him, the others in the crowd of 47,505 broke into a single-syllable chant.

“Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!”

On Sunday, they had the middle of the Dodgers’ order to thank.