Chris Taylor missed most of the Dodgers’ torrid July because of a left-foot fracture. Joey Gallo, the New York Yankees castoff, didn’t even arrive until the day after the Aug. 2 trade deadline. It was not too late for either to join the party.
Taylor snapped a tie with a two-out solo home run in the sixth inning, and Gallo crushed a pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh on Wednesday night to lead the Dodgers to an 8-5 come-from-behind victory over the Minnesota Twins before a rollicking sellout crowd of 53,432 in Chavez Ravine.
Relievers Alex Vesia, David Price, Evan Phillips, Chris Martin and Craig Kimbrel combined to allow one run in 42/3 innings, as the Dodgers extended their win streak to 10 games, improved to 32-5 since June 29 and boosted their major league-best record to 77-33.
“This is an exciting team to be a part of,” Gallo said amid chants of “Joey, Joey, Joey,” by his teammates in the clubhouse. “I thought we were winning a lot in New York, but we’re really winning a lot here, especially lately.”
Taylor, who went one for 10 with five strikeouts in his first three games off the injured list, drove an 0-and-2 curve from Minnesota reliever Michael Fulmer into the left-field pavilion for a 5-4 lead in the sixth, a shot that was reminiscent of his walk-off homer off St. Louis in last October’s National League wild-card game.
Trea Turner doubled off the center-field wall with one out in the seventh, and Smith was intentionally walked with two outs.
Gallo then drove a 97-mph fastball from Griffin Jax to left-center for a three-run homer and an 8-4 lead.
The Dodgers scored five of their runs with two outs and went three for six with runners in scoring position. They’re batting .304 with an .877 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 14 homers and 35 doubles and have scored 70 runs, an average of seven a game, during the win streak.
“This is an unbelievably talented group of guys, and the way everybody goes about their business is very special,” said Gallo, who is trying to resuscitate his career after a brutal 140-game stint in New York. “Everybody cares. Everyone wants to win, and I don’t think we’re ever out of any game.
“I don’t see a lot of outs in that lineup. It’s a lot of hard, hard guys to get out, a lot of guys that can do damage. So it’s a special group of guys, a special lineup, and the pitching has been lights out as well.”
The Dodgers trailed 4-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, a deficit that could have been larger had Vesia, the left-hander, not escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the top of the fifth.
Mookie Betts lined a one-out double into the gap in right-center field off Twins starter Sonny Gray, and Trea Turner rolled an RBI single to left to pull the Dodgers to within 4-3.
Turner stole second base. Freddie Freeman popped out to the catcher for the second out, but Smith lined an RBI double to right-center to score Turner for a 4-4 tie.
Price retired the side in order in the top of the sixth with the help of shortstop Trea Turner and third baseman Hanser Alberto, who replaced the injured Max Muncy in the fifth.
Turner made a sliding catch of Tim Beckham’s grounder to his left and threw to first for the second out, and Alberto made a backhand diving grab of Gary Sanchez’s grounder in foul territory and made the long throw to first to end the inning.
Phillips struck out two of three batters in a scoreless seventh, Martin struck out one in a scoreless eighth, and Kimbrel gave up a run on a wild pitch in the ninth,
Right-hander Ryan Pepiot, recalled from triple-A Oklahoma City to start in place of the injured Clayton Kershaw, and was staked to a 2-0 lead on Muncy’s solo homer to right — his fourth in 11 games — and Cody Bellinger’s sacrifice fly to center in the second.
But Pepiot walked Sanchez to start the third, Luis Arraez singled to left, and Jorge Polanco drove a three-run homer to right for a 3-2 Twins lead. Sanchez pushed the lead to 4-2 with a leadoff homer to right-center in the fifth.
Arraez walked. Pepiot got Carlos Correa to fly out to right-center and was replaced by Vesia, who threw 27 pitches to the next four batters but somehow managed to escape further damage.
Polanco walked to put two on with one out. Max Kepler fouled out to third on a full-count pitch, and Jose Miranda loaded the bases with an infield single, a 98.1-mph one-hopper that hit the right hand of Muncy and knocked the third baseman out of the game in the bottom of the fifth. X-rays of Muncy’s hand were negative, Roberts said.
Pinch-hitter Gilberto Celestino worked the count full before flying out to center to end the inning.
One more rehab start for May
Dustin May will make one more minor league rehabilitation start for triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday before returning to the Dodgers rotation at home against the Miami Marlins the following weekend, Roberts said.
May, nearing the end of a grueling 15-month rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery, gave up one run and three hits in five innings, striking out eight and walking one, in his fourth triple-A start Tuesday.
The right-hander threw 68 pitches, 45 for strikes, and all eight of his whiffs against Red Rock came on swinging strikes. His two-seam sinking fastball averaged 95.9 mph, and his four-seam fastball averaged 97.8 mph. May also threw his curve, cut-fastball and changeup.