Mookie Betts sets pace for homer-happy Dodgers in rout of Padres

Mookie Betts threw his index finger at first base coach Clayton McCullough.

He then began a slow trot around bases for the 33rd time this season.

On a warm Saturday night with ball being played at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers hit four homers to eliminate the San Diego Padres 12-1.

None was bigger than Betts’ three-run blast in the fourth, turning the Dodgers’ early three-run lead into an insurmountable six-run lead and giving Betts a career-high home run lead to fifth place in the MLB Leaderboard advanced 33 this season.

“I think if you asked who would be leading our team in home runs this year, Mookie wouldn’t have been a lot of people’s first choice,” said manager Dave Roberts. “But he’s having a great MVP season.”

Betts almost started the night with a different kind of homer, sending a leadoff line drive down right field in the first inning that was misplayed by Juan Soto, allowing Betts to briefly consider a try in the park before hitting the stop sign received third place from base coach Dino Ebel.

“I didn’t really want anyone in the park,” Betts joked. “Too long run.”

Betts trotted home moments later when Trea Turner hit a two-run homer to the left to open the scoring.

The Dodgers' Trea Turner, right, celebrates after hitting a double home run with Mookie Betts.

Trea Turner, right, celebrates with Dodgers teammate Mookie Betts after Turner hit a two-run, first-inning homer.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

After a Will Smith RBI double made it 3-0 in the third, Betts doubled the advantage with a quick swing in the fourth.

In a 0-and-1 hole this season, Betts again demonstrated his more aggressive approach, taking an inside slider from Padres left-hander Sean Manaea and blasting him into left field pavilion.

Prior to this season, Betts’ career high for home runs was 32, which he hit during his 2018 MVP-winning campaign with the Boston Red Sox. He also had a 31-homer campaign in 2016 and registered 16 in just 55 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

“He’s not very physical,” Roberts said. “But he’s just such a good hitter that that’s what happens when you consistently hit hard.”

Indeed, Betts’ undersized physique has always belied his subtle pop. It emerged as a surprising attribute in his early years at Boston and has carried over into his stint in Los Angeles, where his 72 homers over the last three seasons are eight more than anyone else at the club.

This year he’s also in the middle of the NL home race, trailing only Kyle Schwarber (whose 36 is the most in the league), Austin Riley (35) and Paul Goldschmidt (34).

“It doesn’t surprise me because obviously I’ve been me, I know what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Betts said of his burst of energy. “But I think it definitely comes as a surprise to most people.”

Freddie Freeman smashes past Padre's catcher Luis Campusano in Will Smith's third inning double for the Dodgers.

Freddie Freeman smashes past Padre’s catcher Luis Campusano in Will Smith’s third inning double for the Dodgers.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Betts wasn’t the only one to leave the court on a 91-degree night in Chavez Ravine.

Trea Turner’s first-inning homer was his 19th of the season, good for third place on the team. Smith hit a three-barrel shot in the sixth, joining Betts as the only other Dodger to reach 20 in 2022.

Justin Turner also added a two-barrel shot in the fifth, a blast that knocked Manaea out of the game and left the Padres left-hander with a 15.63 ERA in three starts that year against the Dodgers (91-41).

Dodgers starter Julio Urías gave up a run in six innings against the Padres.

Dodgers starter Julio Urías gave up a run in six innings against the Padres.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Julio Urías had no such troubles with the Padres (74-60) and delivered just one run (a homer to Manny Machado) in six strong innings to drop his NL-leading ERA to 2.29.

“When he takes the mound, good things usually happen,” Betts said. “We just have to score a few runs, get him running support and he kind of takes care of the rest.”

That’s exactly what happened in the third-league Dodgers win of the year on Saturday.

Blake Treinen returns

Blake Treinen completed his “miraculous” return from a partial shoulder cap tear, throwing a clean seventh inning in just five fields.

The right-hander had not played a league game since mid-April. Before the game, he told reporters that he was close to needing a season-ending surgery due to the illness.

However, Treinen’s injury healed surprisingly quickly, allowing him to rehab and sit back for the last month.

His return on Saturday couldn’t have gone much better as he hit 97 and 98 mph on the radar gun while fixing the side.

David Price went to IL

David Price will be placed on the injured list on Sunday, Roberts said after an MRI scan revealed inflammation in the left-hander’s wrist and arm.

Activated in place of Price, Ryan Pepiot serves as the bulk pitcher behind opener Caleb Ferguson in the series finale. Mookie Betts sets pace for homer-happy Dodgers in rout of Padres

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