Gonzalez goes grand to reach No. 299

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By Cary Osborne

Adrián González has a history of collecting homers in bunches and now he sits one short of 300 homers for his career after back-to-back games of homering in St. Louis.

González hit the fifth grand slam of his career in the first inning off Cardinals’ starter Mike Mayers, who was making his Major League debut.

The Dodgers were relentless against the 24-year-old right hander, scoring nine runs off him in 1 1/3 inning. It was all the runs the Dodgers would score in a 9-6 win in St. Louis as the Dodgers head home to play Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

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Justin Turner — the MVP candidate

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Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:05 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andrew Toles, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Scott Kazmir, P

By Cary Osborne

Thus far, we’ve heard that Clayton Kershaw is a National League MVP candidate. And we’ve heard rookie Corey Seager as a possibility. But what about Justin Turner?

On June 6, through his first 55 games, Turner was batting .223 with three home runs and 17 RBI with a .649 OPS. The Dodgers were also 31-28 on that date — a .525 winning percentage.

From June 7 on, Turner has batted .325 with 15 homers, 41 RBI and a 1.054 OPS. The Dodgers are 24-16 since that date — a .600 winning percentage.

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Mike Piazza and feeling like a teenager again

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

I was 29 days short of 12 years old when Mike Piazza made his Major League debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 1, 1992.

For most of my difficult, awkward and developmental teenage years, Piazza was one of my idols.

I was there at Dodger Stadium on October 3, 1993 in celebration of my 13th birthday when he hit two home runs and knocked the San Francisco Giants out of playoff contention on the final game of the year. In 1994, I ripped the cover off Sports Illustrated’s Baseball Preview, which featured Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr., framed it and put it on my bedroom wall. It stayed there for years.

I was weeks away from graduating high school when Piazza played his final game as a Dodger. I’ll never forget how special Piazza was when he played in L.A.

One hundred and seventy-seven home runs, a .331 batting average, a .966 OPS as a Dodger.

Today he enters the Hall of Fame.

Thanks Mike.

And thank you Jon SooHoo for posting these fantastic photos today and helping me relive my teenage years.

 

Andrew Toles, fellow rookies give Dodgers a lift

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By Cary Osborne

It’s not the feel-good story equivalent of Kurt Warner, who went from grocery store to Super Bowl champion. But Andrew Toles did briefly work at a grocery store when he was out of baseball last year — as noted in this L.A. Times story from earlier this month by Mike DiGiovanna — and he had the most superb game of his brief Major League career on Saturday in the Dodgers’ 7-2 win in St. Louis.

Yes, he made an error, and yes, he didn’t knock in any runs, but Toles had hits in his first three at-bats and scored twice — the second one giving the Dodgers a 7-1 lead in the sixth.

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Kenta Maeda could provide bullpen a save

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Dodgers at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andrew Toles, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Kenta Maeda, P

By Cary Osborne

On July 23, the Dodgers could use a July 10 Kenta Maeda.

Maeda went seven innings on July 10 against the San Diego Padres — one of just two times this month when a Dodger starter has completed seven innings (the other being Scott Kazmir’s seven innings on Tuesday).

Today’s callup of Ross Stripling gives a gassed bullpen a much needed long man. Since the All-Star Break, the Dodgers are third in baseball in relief innings — 31 2/3. The last two games, the Dodgers made 15 trips to the bullpen — using seven relievers in Washington on Thursday and eight in last night’s 16-inning 4-3 loss in St. Louis, including starter Bud Norris for 1 1/3 innings.

Here’s the recent timesheet punched by Dodger relievers:

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Dodgers bring Ross Stripling back, option Dayton

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After Friday night’s 16-inning marathon in St. Louis, the Dodgers brought in a familiar fresh arm on Saturday calling up right-hander Ross Stripling.

To make room for Stripling, the Dodgers optioned reliever Grant Dayton, who made his Major League debut in Friday’s 4-3 loss, retiring all six batters he faced, including two strikeouts.

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Dodgers run of streaks strikes St. Louis

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

We started this week with streaks and enter the weekend on the same topic.

Justin Turner has hit home runs in consecutive games. His ninth-inning solo homer gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead against the Cardinals on Friday in St. Louis. That was before the Cardinals tied the score in the bottom of the ninth with a Jedd Gyorko solo home run and won the game 4-3 in the 16th with a Matt Adams walk-off homer.

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Mike Piazza’s Hall of Fame weekend arrives

Piazza page

As Hall of Fame induction weekend takes place, the Dodgers once again salute Mike Piazza on his ascension to baseball’s pinnacle place. The official ceremony will happen Sunday. Congratulations!

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers recall Austin Barnes, option Julio Urías

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:15 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Brandon McCarthy, P

By Jon Weisman

Sorry for the sparse Dodger coverage this week: We’ve been on a family sightseeing trip to Washington D.C., and though I crossed paths with the team Wednesday at Nationals Park, I’ve mostly been focused on trying to spend one of these 52 weeks a year of fatherhood not tied to the computer.

It’s certainly been another eventful week in the world of the Dodgers, with some bursts from the offense twice out of the three games in Washington, and the transaction wire again hopping daily. This evening brings catcher-infielder Austin Barnes back to the Dodgers, with Julio Urías being thanked for his Thursday spot start (four innings, one run) before being handed a ticket back to Oklahoma City.

Barnes has a lovely .383 on-base percentage and .454 slugging percentage in 63 games with Oklahoma City this year, as well as 17 steals in 19 attempts. He is 2 for 19 in abbreviated action for Los Angeles in 2016.

Fortunately, Cary Osborne will be back tonight to wrap things up after the game. Here’s to a good one.

Dodgers recall Urías, promote Grant Dayton

By Jon Weisman

Left-handed reliever Grant Dayton has joined the Dodgers from Triple-A Oklahoma City, and Julio Urías was also officially recalled to start today’s game at Washington.

To make room, Charlie Culberson and Zach Walters are returning to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Chris Hatcher was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Dayton.

The 28-year-old Dayton has a 2.51 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP with 57 strikeouts (15.9 K/9) against seven walks in 32 1/3 innings since being promoted to Oklahoma City from Double-A Tulsa.

Culberson went 1 for 3 with an RBI single in the Dodgers’ 8-1 loss Wednesday to Washington.

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