Dodgers rally from two five-run deficits to complete four-game sweep of Cubs

The Dodgers and Chicago Cubs combined for 17 runs, 12 hits, six walks, two hit batters, two misses in the outfield, one penalty and 187 pitches thrown by five hurlers as Sunday’s game dragged on into the afternoon.

And then the fourth inning began.

“The worst,” said Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner when asked to describe the first three innings of an 11-9 win over the Cubs in front of a crowd of 41,824 at Dodger Stadium. “It was terrible. But at least we were able to fight back and win, which helps a little.”

The Dodgers didn’t earn many style points. Starter Julio Urías was rattled for five runs and three hits, including a PJ Higgins Grand Slam, in a 45-pitch first inning, and the left-hander only lasted two innings, his shortest start of the season.

Left fielder Gavin Lux had a ball sail overhead and another drop ahead – both with 90% catch probabilities according to Statcast – for key hits in the first.

After the Dodgers scored three runs late in the first, reliever Phil Bickford handed a three-run homer to David Bote in the third, pushing the deficit back to five. It took nearly two hours for the teams to complete three innings.

But the offense hit 14 total hits, including a homer, a double and two singles from Freddie Freeman, and relievers Yency Almonte, Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia and Brusdar Graterol combined for 5 2/3 innings to push the Dodgers ( 56-29) until 11th win in 12 games and their National League West leads San Diego in eight games.

“You’re going down 0-5, you just want to come back and make a game out of it,” Freeman said after the 3-hour, 59-minute marathon. “For the offense to do that and grind to the end, that’s what special teams do.”

It was Freeman, one of several Dodgers All-Star Game snubs, who started a six-run third-inning rally that turned an 8-3 deficit into a 9-8 lead. Center off reliever Matt Swarmer.

Freeman finished third on reliever Mark Leiter Jr.’s wild pitch and hit Will Smith’s groundout to make it 8-4. Justin Turner played to right and finished third with Max Muncy’s double, a 107.9-mile laser over the head of right fielder Nelson Velazquez.

Trayce Thompson walked to load the bases. Pinch hitter Jake Lamb hit it. Lux walked and forced a run to make it 8-5. Mookie Betts ended up in third place, but Patrick Wisdom’s one-hop throw bounced past first base for a two-run error that made it 8-7. Trea Turner rolled a two-run single to the left to give the Dodgers a 9-8 lead.

Freeman’s solo homer left to center pushed the lead to 10-8 in the sixth, and his two-out, RBI single left to score Lux, who dumped and finished second on a wild pitch, made it in the seventh to 11-8 .

Chicago Cubs' PJ Higgins is congratulated after a grand slam while Dodgers catcher Will Smith is on the plate.

Chicago Cubs catcher PJ Higgins, 48, is congratulated by teammates after hitting a first-inning grand slam against Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Chicago went 11-9 in the eighth when Velazquez led with a 428-foot homer from Dodgers left-hander David Price. Bote doubled to right center, and pinch-hitter Seiya Suzuki walked, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega.

But Graterol replaced Price and needed just five pitches to wipe out the threat, get Ortega to break into a fielder’s pick and Willson Contreras to ground in a 4-6-3 doubles game. Graterol threw a ninth one-two-three for his third save.

“I had a brief chat with Julio [after he departed] and he said, ‘We’re going to come back and win this game,'” said manager Dave Roberts. “There are times of the year when you feel [a 5-0 deficit] is insurmountable, but I think the way we responded quickly today was a real sign that we wouldn’t deny each other.”

The Dodgers took a big chunk of the early deficit with a three-run bottom of first where Betts walked, Trea Turner singled, Smith lined an RBI double to the left, Justin Turner rolled an RBI single to the left and Muncy hit one Prey fly to the center warning trail.

“Five runs is a lot, but it was the first inning, so we still had nine innings, 27 outs to roll,” said Lux, who had two singles and two walks. “I think that’s enough for us to leave.”

The win capped the Dodgers’ first 10-1 home run since 1980 and ended a grueling 20-game-in-20-day stretch that saw them go 16-4 and extend a division lead that was down to just one on June 23 game cheating.

“It was a great team win,” said Roberts. “We came down by five runs [twice], but we just persevered. The offensive increased sharply. We’ve basically worked through all of our auxiliaries. I’m really happy for our boys to finish a 20-game stretch and an 11-game homestand the way we did.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-07-10/mlb-dodgers-rally-chicago-cubs-freddie-freeman-julio-urias Dodgers rally from two five-run deficits to complete four-game sweep of Cubs

Emma Bowman

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