The fireworks came a day early for the Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers hit six home runs as they pummeled the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second consecutive game, 8-3, on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Following a Monday Night Football score of 17-1, the Dodgers broke out the bats early and often against Pirates' ace, Ivan Nova.
"Last couple nights same thing. We're slugging, elevating the baseball, getting on the fastball and when the ball is down below we're taking walks," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of the offensive onslaught. "Joc started it off, but collectively it was a very good job tonight."
Joc Pederson and Max Muncy kicked off the home run barrage when they went back-to-back in the bottom of the first inning.
It was the consecutive game the two left-handers hit back-to-back home runs, and the seventh time a Dodgers duo has done it this season an MLB best.
Pederson's leadoff blast was his sixth career leadoff home run and his third this season. In his last 25 games since June 2, Pederson has hit .306 with 17 runs, six doubles, 12 homers and 16 RBI.
Muncy wasn't finished as he moved into second place in the National League with his 20th home run of the season in the bottom of the third.
Muncy joins only Nolan Arenado and Bryce Harper as the only players in the NL with at least 20 home runs and 40 walks on the season. Making the milestone even more impressive, Muncy has accomplished the feat in 100 less plate appearances than his counterparts.
"I never would have thought I could hit this many home runs in this short amount of time," said Muncy. "I'm just showing up each day and trying to do something to help the team win."
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Muncy now averages 9.2 at-bats between home runs this season, the best mark in the Majors, and a better career mark than Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth.
"I always thought the power was there, but my swing wasn't built for hitting home runs before," said Muncy of how he's been able to hit so many longballs. "The changes in my swing have put me in a better situation to use the power I have."
Since June 1, Muncy has batted .322 with 23 runs, two doubles, 13 home runs and 19 RBI in 27 games. His 13 longballs are the most in the Majors over that span.
David Freese knocked in a pair of runs for the Pirates in the second and fourth innings, but Chris Taylor broke the game open with his tenth home run of the year in the bottom half of the fourth.
Taylor finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, triple, home run, two RBI and two runs scored. He struck out in his final at-bat, needing a single to complete the cycle.
"Honestly, I was just trying to hit something hard and put a ball in play," said Taylor of his final at-bat. "I was just trying to stay short and put one in play, but I wasn't able to do it."
Yasmani Grandal led off the bottom half of the sixth inning with a leadoff homer and Kiké Hernandez gave the Dodgers six homers in six innings, when he jumped all over a first-pitch fastball for his 15th home run of the season.
In his last 21 games since June 10, Hernandez is hitting .313 with 16 runs, two doubles, eight home runs and 15 RBI.
Freese was responsible for all three runs for the Pirates when he hit a solo shot off Yimi Garcia in the top of the seventh inning.
Ivan Nova (4-6), allowed seven runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings.
Nova became the first pitcher in Pirates history to surrender five home runs in a single game.
It was also the first time since they played the Cubs on August 2, 2011 that the Pirates have allowed six home runs in a single game.
All nine of the Dodgers hits went for extra-bases, the first time the team has recorded at least nine extra-base hits in consecutive games since May 17-18, 1929.
Forgotten in the offensive explosion, was Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw (2-4) earned his first win since April 15, allowing just two runs on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts in six innings.
"I think I only struck out the pitcher tonight. A game like tonight, you want to get the guys back in the dugout as fast as possible with the way they're swinging the bats," said Kershaw of his outing. "I made some mistakes today, but thankfully the way the guys are swinging the bats and stuff they weren't really noticed."
It was also Kershaw's first win over the Pirates in five years, April 6, 2013.
The Dodgers six home runs were the most ever hit by the team in a game that Kershaw started (320 career games).
"I'm not surprised," said Kershaw when told of the stat. "It's incredible. We knew Max was a good hitter, but I don't think anyone in the world expected this. He's the best hitter in baseball right now."
The six longballs were also the most hit by the team at Dodger Stadium since they also hit six on Sept. 9, 2013 against the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers lead the season series with the Pirates, four games to one, and have outscored the Bucs, 47-22 in those games. That's an average of nearly 10 runs per game for the Boys in Blue.
The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 11 games against Pittsburgh overall.
The finale of the three-game series is set for Wednesday when LHP Rich Hill takes the mound for the Dodgers. The Pirates were originally expected to start RHP Joe Musgrove, but he went on the disabled list before the game on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10PM PST.
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