The Home Run Derby started a little early this year.
Los Angeles hit a season-high five home runs as the Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 10-6, in an on the field fireworks show at Dodger Stadium on Friday Night.
Yasmani Grandal won the Dodger Stadium derby outslugging San Diego leadoff hitter Melvin Upton Jr. three-home-runs-to-two as the duo showed teammates Corey Seager and Wil Myers how to hit the ball out of the ballpark.
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Seager and Myers are slated to participate in the actual Home Run Derby scheduled for Monday night in San Diego's Petco Park during the 2016 All-Star Game Festivities.
Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick also went deep for the Dodgers as both teams combined to hit seven total bombs in a display of power on the field.
"The ball usually doesn't fly here too much it just seems to die," Grandal said of the home run barrage. "I guess today was one of those days where it was flying more than ususal."
Upton finished 4-for-5 with two homers, three RBI and three runs scored for San Diego. The Padres' outfielder has hit three home runs in his last two games against the Dodgers and went deep in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
"Upton has done a really good job against us not only here at Dodger Stadium but when we played them in San Diego," continued Grandal. "He's having a really good year this year. He has 16 home runs from the No. 1 spot and that's really hard to do."
Grandal recorded the first three-homer game of his career and had a career-high five hits against his former team finishing 5-for-5 with three home runs, six RBI and a bunt single.
"I don't want to see the ball was on a tee for me, but it was one of those things where when you get into a good count, I kept getting the pitch I was looking for," added Grandal of his performance. "I was just trying to get the runners over and instead I hit a home run."
The 27-year-old Cuban native became just the third Dodger catcher to have three home runs in game since Mike Piazza (1996) and Roy Campanella (1950) did it.
"This is something that he will always remember," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Grandal's historic game. "It's one for the books. To get rewarded with a memorable historic night was really special."
Aditionally, Grandal joined Victor Marinez (July 16, 2004) and Walker Cooper (July 6, 1949) as the only catchers in Major League history to have at least five hits and three home runs in a single game.
Starting pitchers on both sides struggled early and often as Scott Kazmir and Andrew Cashner were shelled in the first few innings.
Kazmir continued his nightmare start to games as he allowed a run in a wild first inning, and three runs on six hits in a season-low three innings on the day. He did not factor in the decision and remains unbeaten in his last 11 starts.
"It was tough in the first inning to throw 30 pitches. It was really tough for me to get into an type of rhythm," Kazmir said of his struggles. "I'd like to have gone a little deeper, but It was a great win for us."
After back-to-back singles to Upton Jr. and Myers put the Padres on the board 1-0, Kazmir walked the bases loaded with one-out before Alexi Ramirez hit a ground ball to second base.
Utley went to tag Derek Norris—who was running to second—but the two veterans collided, and Norris was called for runner interference, negating Myers' run.
"It was runner's interference and everybody goes back to the base," Kazmir said of the game-changing call. "That was huge to be able to save that run right there and get that last out to get us back into the dugout."
The Dodgers answered the bell in the bottom half of the first with home runs by Turner and Grandal off Cashner.
Cashner (3-7) couldn't get out of the third inning, allowing a career-high eight runs on eight hits (4 of them homers) with two strikeouts in just 2 and 2/3 innings, tied for the shortest start of his career.
"I know what he has and I know what he's trying to do to you," Grandal said of his former teammate. "I caught him in 2013 I obviously study my former team, it just seemed like today was my day and I've had good success against him."
Grandal became the second player to hit three home runs in a game for the Dodgers this season. Corey Seager also hit three home runs against the Atlanta Braves on June 3rd at Dodger Stadium.
Howie Kendrick slugged his fourth home run of the season to opposite field in the third inning following Grandal's second as the Dodgers went back-to-back for just the second time this season.
Players of the Game:
Yasmani Grandal: 4-for-4 with 3 homers, 6 RBI and a bunt single.
Melvin Upton Jr.: 4-for-5 with two homers and 3 runs scored.
1. Dodger Debut: The Los Angeles Dodgers purchased the contract of outfielder Andrew Toles from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game and started the 24-year-old youngster in centerfield on Friday against the Padres. In his MLB debut, Toles hit double to the gap in left-center. He was the first Dodger to double in his first big league at-bat since Adrian Beltre did it on June 24, 1998.
Before Andrew Toles, the last Dodger to hit a double on the first pitch of his career was Adrian Beltre, on June 24, 1998, vs. Chuck Finley — Eric Stephen (@truebluela) July 9, 2016
2. Home Run Barrage: It was Friday night Fireworks at Dodger Stadium, but because the game ran nearly four hours longer, the postgame fireworks show was cancelled due to an 11:00PM sound ordinance. However, both teams provided plenty of fireworks on the field as the Dodgers and Padres combined for seven home runs in the game. Yasmani Grandal had his first three-homer game of his career, and Melvin Upton Jr. hit two.
3. Moment of Silence: Before the game, the Los Angeles Dodgers, led by Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, held a moment of silence for the five murdered police officers in Dallas on Thursday night. Flags flew at half-mast as all fans in attendance stood honor the fallen heroes.
Dodger Stadium flags at half-mast, now observing moment of silence to reflect on the tragedies "across our country over the past few days." — J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) July 9, 2016
Padres (38-49): San Diego sends rookie Luis Perdomo to the mound on Saturday.
Dodgers (49-40): Brandon McCarthy will make his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery on "Bring your Pup to the Park" day at Dodger Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15PM.