Chris Taylor kicked off the second half of the season in style.
Taylor hit a grand slam in the Dodgers first game since the All-Star break and Los Angeles routed the Arizona Diamondbacks, 13-7, on Friday night at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Taylor was acquired from the Seattle Mariners for minor league pitcher Zach Lee last month and the third baseman/shortstop paid dividends for the Dodgers on Friday when he hit his first career home run—a grand slam—and drove in six runs as he fell just a single short of the cycle.
"Mentally, it's big to have a game like this, especially early in my season, as far as the big leagues go," Taylor told the media after the game. "I think the biggest thing is just for my confidence and to help me relax a little bit and help me to play free, like I was in Triple-A."
Taylor was a terror to minor league pitchers in Triple-A with the Mariners where he hit .320 before being traded to Los Angeles were he batted .188 in 10 major league games with the Dodgers.
After a first inning homer and a third inning RBI on an error for Justin Turner staked the Dodgers out to an early 2-0 lead, the Diamondbacks scored three runs in the bottom half of the third to briefly take a 3-2 lead.
Taylor helped put the Dodgers back on top with a two-run triple in the top of the fourth as the Dodgers hung a high-five on Arizona in the inning to take a 7-3 lead.
"I think it's awesome to see the offense come out like this, and I think everybody had a hit," Turner told reporters. "To see us put up runs like that is a good feeling for us as a club. After the break, you never know how everybody is going to feel or what's going to happen, so to see us come out of the gates and put up runs like that is a good sign for us."
Indeed, every player in the starting lineup had a hit for Los Angeles, but Howie Kendrick and Taylor had three a piece. Taylor continued his career night with a double in the fifth and a grand slam home run in the sixth as he became the first Dodger second baseman since Jackie Robsinson to record six RBI in a game.
"I knew he [Silvino Bracho] had a good fastball so I was trying to be on time," Taylor said. "And it kind of rides up so I was thinking 'stay on top of it.'"
Taylor fell a single shy of the cycle after he attempted to bunt to get on base in his final at-bat, but was thrown out by Arizona reliever Josh Collmenter on a tough play.
"I thought it was a good time, a good situation to try it," said Taylor of his bunt attempt. "They had the third baseman back. It's always been pat of my game. Regardless of the hits, you put me in that situation I'll try it again."
Arizona added runs in the seventh after a solo home run by Jean Segura was followed by a two-run blast by Paul Goldschmidt off Dodgers' reliever Casey Fien.
Bud Norris got the victory in just his third start since joining the boys in blue, but he ran into trouble in the D-backs three-run third inning.
Norris (5-7) allowed four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts in five innings of work, but he labored throughout the game.
"Bud gave it all he had. He labored throughout the game," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts told reporters. "This is a tough place to pitch. But he did enough to get us a win."
Patrick Corbin (4-8) got crushed by the Dodgers as he allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits with seven strikeouts in just four innings for Arizona.
The Dodgers victory puts them a season-high, 12 games over .500 and moves them within 5.5 games of the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West.
Players of the Game:
Chris Taylor: 3-for-5 with a grand slam, triple, double and six RBI.
Howie Kendrick: 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Paul Goldschmidt: 3-for-5 with a home run, 3 RBI and two runs scored.
1. Isn't it Grand: Chris Taylor became the first Los Angeles Dodgers player and only the fourth in franchise history to hit a grand slam as his first big league home run. He is the first Los Angeles Dodger to do it as the three others all played for Brooklyn. Taylor joins Chico Fernandez (1956), Irv Palica (1950) and Preston Ward (1948).
2. Shy-cle: Chris Taylor had a triple, double and a grand slam home run as he fell just a single short of the cycle. Taylor tried to bunt his way on base in his final at-bat and would have been the first Dodger since Orlando Hudson in 2009.
Chris Taylor, in his 97th career game, is a single short of the 1st Dodger cycle since 2009. He's due up 3rd in the 8th in a moment. — Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) July 16, 2016
3. 18-Hits: The Dodgers tied a season-high with 18 hits on Friday and their 13 runs were the highest total since they scored 15 on Opening Day in San Diego.
Dodgers (52-40): Brandon McCarthy makes his third start since coming off the disabled list after Tommy John Surgery on Saturday.
Diamondbacks (38-53): Archie Bradley is back on the mound for Arizona as first pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST.
All quotes courtesy of TWC's Sports Net LA.