Dodgers show what they can do when lineup’s clicking

Dodgers show what they can do when lineup’s clicking

6:42 AM UTC

LOS ANGELES — Trailing by two runs in the fifth, it looked like another quiet inning for the Dodgers’ offense. Chris Taylor popped out to second and Mookie Betts went down swinging to start the frame.

What followed, however, was one of the best two-out rallies you’ll see all season long.

The Dodgers scored seven runs in the fifth en route to a 13-4 win over the Rockies on Monday at Dodger Stadium. All were scored with two outs, and L.A.’s batters delivered in a variety of ways.

“You can just sort of see it happening,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “It’s just good because we kept building the inning by getting base hits and walks and things like that. It’s a little sample of what we potentially can do.”

After Freddie Freeman doubled, Will Smith and Max Muncy drew back-to-back walks on full counts. That brought up J.D. Martinez in his first big chance at the plate since joining the Dodgers this past offseason. It’s been a slow start to the season for Martinez, but in order for the Dodgers to reach their full potential, they’ll need a big season out of the 35-year-old.

A pitch after just missing a grand slam, Martinez passed his first test with flying colors, lining a two-run single off right-hander Jake Bird to tie the game at 4. Martinez went 2-for-5 on Monday, his second multi-hit game as a Dodger.

“Tonight was the best night that he swung the bat,” Roberts said. “I thought he was on time and hit some good pitches and I think he might have unlocked something tonight, because those last three at-bats were really good.”

Once Martinez tied it, the rest of the Dodgers’ lineup took turns taking big hacks against Bird. James Outman lined a go-ahead two-run triple into right field. Miguel Vargas followed by driving Outman in with a single of his own. Jason Heyward, who was making his first start of the season, capped off the rally with a two-run homer into the right-field bleachers.

“Felt good to be part of that inning,” Heyward said. “We were battling back. Two outs right there, we put together a lot of really good at-bats with intention and made something happen. … It’s something that was impressive.”

It was a complete offensive effort for the Dodgers, who were inconsistent at the plate in their season-opening series against the D-backs. Following the series split against Arizona, Roberts maintained that his team will hit at a higher clip once everyone gets into a groove at the plate.

That includes Taylor, who needs to have a much better season in 2023 than he did in ’22. Taylor said he feels like he’s turning a corner at the plate, and he showed that off by smacking a two-run homer in the second inning. The ball had an exit velocity of 110.7 mph, which is tied for the second-hardest-hit ball of his career and a higher exit velo than any of his balls in play last season.

“I’ve been on time and I’ve been making good decisions and swinging at good pitches. I’m just missing on a lot of foul balls back, which has been frustrating,” Taylor said. “I’ve been a tick under everything. So it was good to get that first one tonight and finally feel a barrel. That was nice.”

After scoring just one run in two of the first four games of the season, the Dodgers responded with 13 runs on Monday. Finding consistency and building on these performances will be a key to them this season. But for now, they’ll enjoy the nights where the offense flashes the potential they talked about all winter and spring.

“I think this shows the depth of our lineup,” Taylor said. “Guys are doing it the right way, trying to grind them [opposing pitchers] out and make them work and then taking advantage.”

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