"I love this ballpark!" – Adrian Gonzalez.
The Dodgers offense erupted for a season-high seven home runs, led by Adrian Gonzalez who hit three, and Los Angeles routed the Cincinnati Reds 18-9, to split the four-game series on Monday morning at Great American Ballpark.
Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to a season-high 15 games with home runs in the first, fifth, and seventh innings as he crushed his second mulit-homer game of the road trip, and first three-homer game since he took former Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner deep three times on April 8, 2015.
"We definitely came out swinging right off the bat and kept putting pressure on them," Gonzalez told Kelli Tennant of SportsNetLA after the game. "Thank God we're playing at this ballpark and I was able to get two cheap homers because of it."
The Dodgers hit back-to-back home runs three separate times on Monday and hit a season-high seven home runs with four coming in the top of the fifth inning.
L.A. scored six runs in the top of the fifth, and went back-to-back twice in the inning. Rookies Andrew Toles and Rob Segedin got the home run rally rolling as they each hit the first home runs of their MLB career on back-to-back pitches from Josh Smith.
"It's great. I remember my first, we all do," Gonzalez said of the first big league homers for the boys. "That's great for them and it's always a fun environment in the dugout."
"Their teammates were very excited for those two guys to get their first career homers," added Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
Three batters later, Corey Seager tied the Dodgers all-time franchise record for home runs by a shortstop when he launched his 22nd home run of the season off Smith to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
After a pitching change saw right-handed reliever Jumbo Diaz enter the game, Gonzalez greeted him with his second home run of the day, and the second time the team went back-to-back in the inning. In total, L.A. hit four home runs in the fifth, the first time they've hit four long balls in a single inning since the infamous "four home runs in a row" in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 18, 2006.
That September in 2006 was a memorable one for the Dodgers offense as it was also the last time the team scored at least 18 runs in a game when they defeated the Colorado Rockies, 19-11, on Sept. 28.
The Dodgers made it a trifecta for back-to-back home runs when Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal went deep in the top of the seventh off Blake Wood.
Gonzalez finished 3-for-6 with three home runs and a career-high eight RBIs to lead Los Angeles.
The Reds tried to chip away at the lead throughout the game, but every time they scored, the Dodgers would answer as they left no doubt in the outcome after the six-run fifth inning.
Both starting pitchers struggled as Homer Bailey (2-2) couldn't get out of the third inning, allowing six runs on nine hits in just his fifth game back from Tommy John surgery.
Scott Kazmir didn't fair much better as the left-hander surrendered four runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout in 2 and 2/3 innings.
"Scott is fighting some physical things with his body, but right now, he hasn't hit his stride," Roberts said. "He's doing what he can, but when your body doesn't feel right, it affects mechanics. When you're physically limited and can't execute, you're frustrated."
Kazmir's short outing marked the 30th different time this season a Dodgers starting pitcher has failed to go at least five innings and the 13th time a starter was unable to complete even four innings.
"It's something that's been irritating me a little bit," Kazmir said of the physical things Roberts mentioned. "I've been fighting through it, but when you put up numbers like this, it's something you should address. I've been dealing with it for years now. I'm fully intent on making my next start."
Maybe the answer for both teams was a mystery pitcher as position player, Tyler Holt, threw a 1-2-3, four-pitch, ninth inning for the Reds and was easily the best pitcher on the day for either team.
The Dodgers seven home runs were the first time a visiting team has hit that many dingers since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003.
Los Angeles leads San Francisco by one game as they head into a three-game showdown series at Chavez Ravine on Tuesday night.
Players of the Game:
Adrian Gonzalez: 3-for-6 with three homers and 8 RBIs.
Andrew Toles: 2-for-4 with a home run and 4 RBIs.
Corey Seager: 4-for-5 with a home run, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored.
1. Rookie of the Year: Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager tied Glenn Wright (1930) for the all-time franchise record for home runs in a single season with 22.
2. Remember This? The Los Angeles Dodgers hit four home runs in the top of the fifth inning and went back-to-back on two separate occasions during the six-run frame. It was the first time the Dodgers had hit 4 HR in a single inning since the infamous "Four Home Runs in a Row" on Sept. 18, 2006.
3. A-Gone Cubed: Adrian Gonzalez tied a career-high with three home runs and hit is sixth against Homer Bailey--the most he's hit against any pitcher in his career. To put Gonzalez's hot streak in perspective, the slugger homered just four times in the Dodgers first 46 games of the season, but has hit five home runs in his last six games.
Dodgers (69-55): The showdown for the NL West begins as the Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants for a three-game series starting on Tuesday. Kenta Maeda will start at 7:10 PM PST.
Reds (53-71): Cincinnati will host the Texas Rangers in what should be another offensive onslaught.
All quotes courtesy of TWC SportsNetLA.