SAN FRANCSICO (AP) — Freddie Freeman provided the plate appearance of the year so far for a Los Angeles Dodgers team searching to establish an identity in 2023.
Freeman fouled off nine straight pitches, Nos. 6 through 14, during a dramatic, 15-pitch, bases-loaded walk that sparked a big comeback against the rival San Francisco Giants.
“Everyone was going nuts. That was a good time,” teammate Max Muncy said.
Muncy hit a three-run homer and a solo shot to finish the three-game set with four homers and 11 RBIs, leading Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers to a 10-5 win Wednesday night.
Kershaw (2-1) allowed two earned runs and five hits over six innings, hanging tough until the Dodgers started slugging. He struck out four and walked two to help them take two of three in the series.
Los Angeles rallied in the fifth on four straight walks against Taylor Rogers (0-1), with Freeman drawing that free pass to bring home Trayce Thompson for the go-ahead run.
“I’ve just never seen a guy who doesn’t give away an at-bat and he’s relentless in the batter’s box,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Freeman. “Obviously, it goes without saying that’s the best at-bat we’ve had this year and what it did for the dugout, the team, we just kind of fed off that momentum. It’s not a surprise that he put together that at-bat, and it was good to see us kind of follow that up.”
Thompson added a two-run homer less than a mile from the arena where his NBA star brother Klay plays for the defending champion, playoff-bound Golden State Warriors.
Muncy hit a grand slam and a three-run drive in Monday’s 9-1 win. He has found his power stroke again after making some tweaks to his mechanics when he started the year 1 for 16 and 4 for 33.
His 11th career multi-homer game and Thompson’s drive gave the Dodgers 24 homers, and they have cleared the fence in all but two of their 13 games.
Muncy has 25 home runs and 55 RBIs in 75 games against the Giants. He got most of the night off Tuesday when San Francisco blanked the reigning NL West champions — snapping Los Angeles’ six-game winning streak in the rivalry. The Dodgers have won 14 of the last 16 meetings.
“Any time you can have a comeback win on the road I think is important, having guys show resolve,” Kershaw said. “We’re all just trying to find that rhythm of what our team looks like, consistency, because we know it’s there, the ability to win games and do that. We’ve just got to be more consistent and I think tonight was a really good step for us.”
J.D. Martinez tripled leading off the fourth and scored on a single by James Outman. Will Smith provided a sacrifice fly in the decisive five-run sixth.
Thairo Estrada homered in the ninth for San Francisco, which squandered an early 3-0 lead.
Giants center fielder Bryce Johnson left the game after the top of the fourth when he crashed into the wall making a tough catch on a drive by Freeman. Johnson’s left shoulder banged against the wall, then his head snapped forward with the momentum. He was down for several minutes before walking off with an athletic trainer. Johnson was being evaluated for a concussion.
KERSHAW CHASES 200
Kershaw earned his 199th career win — with 200 still a big number if you ask Roberts, even if people are “putting less value on that.”
“I still believe that there’s something to that, a lot to that, and certainly in Clayton’s case being able to go long enough to get a decision, to pitch long enough to earn those wins,” Roberts said. “That’s very telling for a future Hall of Famer.”
The Giants brought back infielder/outfielder Darin Ruf, who was added to the major league roster.
He batted fifth as the designated hitter and had an RBI double and single.
Ruf got about 10 at-bats in extended spring training to get ready after being released by the Mets at the end of spring training.
Ruf was traded to New York by the Giants at the deadline last year and he batted just .152 with seven RBIs in 74 plate appearances over 28 games.
“The hugs I got to give today were a lot better than the hugs I got to give back in August,” he said.
Dodgers: SS Miguel Rojas exited with a left hamstring cramp. … RHP Tony Gonsolin, dealing with a forearm strain, threw a 31-pitch bullpen and is set to face hitters on Friday.
Giants: RF Michael Conforto came out of the game with left calf tightness.
RHP Noah Syndergaard (0-1, 6.30 ERA) pitches for Los Angeles in Friday’s series opener against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium.
The Giants hadn’t announced a scheduled starter for their series opener Friday at Detroit.
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