Los Angeles, CA—July 4th celebrates the land of the free, Kyle Freeland dominated the Dodgers hitters up until the fifth inning. The Rockies left-hander retired the first 13 batters before the Dodgers got their offense on track.
Trayce Thompson, brother of NBA player Klay Thompson and son of former Lakers forward Mychal Thompson, followed Justin Turner’s single and Chris Taylor’s walk with a three-run homer to left field that put the Dodgers ahead 3-1.
Feeling inconsistent at the dish, Thompson looked to the next locker down for advice.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw gave it to him raw.
“Swinging at too many balls,” Thompson said Kershaw told him. “I knew that, but it’s good to hear that, especially from him. If you want an honest assessment, ask 22.”
Julio Urias (7-6) won his fourth consecutive start, allowing one run and five hits in six innings of work. The left-hander had 7K’s and walked one to beat the Rockies 5-3 at Dodger Stadium for the first time.
It marked the Dodgers’ 50th win two games ahead of the season’s midway point, keeping them on pace for a 100-win season.
Thompson hit the go-ahead, three-run home run in the fifth, when the Dodgers finally broke though against Freeland Monday night.
An impact,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Thompson, acquired two weeks ago from the Detroit Tigers. “Trayce was here to hit left-handed pitching and play good defense and that’s what he’s done.”
Colorado scored twice in the ninth inning and had runners at the corners before falling short.
Thompson played with the LA Dodgers in 2016 and 2017, last hitting a home run at Dodger Stadium six years ago nearly to the day, on July 3, 2016, against Colorado.
“I’m blessed to be back here,” said Thompson, who blew a kiss to his mother in the stands as he touched home plate. “I don’t take it for granted.”
The Rockies’ game plan appeared to be getting deep into counts to up Urías’ pitch count. Once he was pulled, they could feast on the Dodgers’ depleted bullpen. But Urías, who was 20-3 last season, didn’t waver despite throwing a season-high 99 pitches, surrendering only a solo home run by José Iglesias while lowering his ERA to 2.57.
Freeland (4-6) kept the Dodgers off the bases until the fifth. With one out, Justin Turner singled to get the offense going. He finished the game 3 for 4. Chris Taylor followed with a walk that set the stage for Thompson.
Mookie Betts had an RBI single with two outs in the fifth to give the Dodgers a 4-1 lead on their way to an eighth straight victory on the Fourth of July.
Phil Bickford retired the side in order in the seventh inning and Brusdar Graterol did the same in the eighth, but Reyes Moronta was smoked with C.J. Cron’s 20th homer to lead off the ninth and was pulled with two out and runners on first and second.
Tony Gonsolin improved to 10-0 and lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.54 by holding the Padres to one run over 7 2/3 innings. On Saturday, Tyler Anderson improved to 9-1 by holding the San Diego Padres to one run over six innings
And on Sunday, Southpaw Clayton Kersaw bolstered his bid to make a All-Star start at Dodger Stadium on July 19 by holding the Padres scoreless over seven innings.
Roberts has been a cheerleader for all four starters. Monday it was Urías’ turn.
“This guy has never been an All-Star, he’s one of the elite pitchers in the National League, so I think that alone qualifies him, not to mention having an opportunity to pitch in front of the home fans at Dodger Stadium,” he said.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (4-6, 5.89 ERA) owns the second-highest ERA among qualified NL pitchers and has the second-highest batting average against (.288).
Dodgers: RHP Mitch White (1-1, 3.93) is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA and eight strikeouts in three career games against the Rockies.