Maybees don't fly in June, but baseballs sure do.
The Los Angeles Dodgers set a new franchise record with 50 homers in the month of June as they defeated their neighbors, the Anaheim Angels, 6-2, and split the four-game Freeway Series on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.
The Dodgers struck the first blow in the top of the third as the first three batters reached base. Chase Utley hit a deep fly ball to straightaway center field that scored Logan Forsythe on a sacrifice fly and Los Angeles led 1-0.
An error and an errant throw tied the game in the bottom half of the fourth inning as the Dodgers uncharacteristic mistakes continued to rear their ugly head.
Cameron Maybin singled to left field to start the inning, and then advanced to second on a fielding error by Trayce Thompson.
Two batters later, with the infield in, and Maybin on third, Albert Pujols hit a groundball to shortstop Corey Seager, but the throw to the plate was wild, allowing Maybin to score and tie the game.
"There's definitely some things defensively that we need to clean up," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said of the mistake-filled inning.
The Dodgers blew the doors off the barn in the fifth and sixth as Yasiel Puig, Chase Utley and Joc Pederson all homered.
"We were able to slug the ball out of the ballpark," Pederson said of the three home runs. "Our pitchers are able to keep close in the game and so it's a good dynamic we have going right now."
Puig began the home run barrage when he sent a two-seam fastball from J.C. Ramirez flying into the night sky and half way up the left field pavilion to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Two batters later, Utley followed with a deep fly of his own off Ramirez and faster than a beach ball goes from the stands to the field, the Dodgers led 3-1.
Joc Pederson delivered the death blow for the Boys in Blue as he put the final nail in Ramirez's coffin with a three-run blast that broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth.
Since Pederson suffered a concussion on May 24th after a collision with Yasiel Puig, he is batting .296 with six home runs and 13 RBI. Pederson jokingly suggested that the collision "knocked some sense into him," earlier in the week.
Pederson's eighth homer of the season gave the Dodgers 50 total in the month of June, a new franchise record for home runs in a single month.
"We have a lot of good hitters and hitting is contagious," Pederson said of the record.
The previous record was set in July and August of 1953 when the then Brooklyn Dodgers hit 49 home runs in consecutive months.
Los Angeles can extend their record on Friday night in San Diego.
Five runs of support was all three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw would need as the former MVP extended his regular season record to 94-0 when given at least four runs of support.
"After we scored some runs, you definitely want to come out and make sure you have a shut down inning," said Kershaw of pitching with run support. "It's pretty important when you score runs to have the pitcher go out there and shut them down the next inning and have a quick inning so your guys can go back out there and start hitting and fortunately it worked out that way tonight."
Kershaw (12-2) allowed one unearned run on just three hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in seven dominant innings as he became the first pitcher in the Majors to earn his 12th win this season as he lowered his ERA to 2.32 on the year.
"I feel good. Tonight was another step in the right direction," added Kershaw of his performance. "Overall, I'll take tonight."
Kershaw is now tied with teammate Alex Wood who both have made 11 consecutive starts without a loss.
After Kershaw left the game, the Halos tried to claw their way back with three consecutive hits off Luis Avilan, but Brandon Morrow struck out two batters before leaving the game for closer Kenley Jansen.
Jansen shut the door with his 18th save of the season and seventh of four outs or more this season.
"I'm just trying to do my part to win ball games," said Jansen after the game. "That's the only thing I care about is trying to help my team win. If Doc [Roberts] wants me to go four or five [outs] i'm ready."
The Dodgers have now homered in 20 of their last 21 games and have scored a total of 183 runs via the long ball this season, the second most in baseball behind only the Washington Nationals.
Things got a little testy between the two So Cal teams when Morrow hit Halos' third baseman Yunel Escobar with a fastball to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth.
Escobar believed the pitch was intentional, especially after he had an incident with Kershaw earlier in the game, but Morrow nor the Dodgers, wanted to bring the tying run to the plate in that situation.
"It wouldn't be a good situation to put somebody on base right there," said Morrow of the altercation. "He yelled something at his own dugout and then yelled something as he came towards me. I was confused."
Today marks the 27th anniversary of Fernando Valenzuela's no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. His catcher that day was Angels' manager Mike Scioscia and sparked the immortal words of Vin Scully: "If you have a sombrero, throw it to the sky."
Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman and outfielder, Cody Bellinger, has been formerly asked by Major League Baseball to participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby.
He hasn't officially confirmed his participation as of yet, but is expected to compete in the event provided his father, former big leaguer, Clay Bellinger, can pitch to him.
The Dodgers head to Petco Park for a three-game weekend series with the San Diego Padres. Alex Wood will start in the first game on Friday, opposite left-hander Clayton Richard. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.