SAN FRANCISCO — Whatever intrigue and uncertainty surrounds the Dodgers these days, it has nothing to do with what they’re doing on the field. That has become very predictable.
While the wheels of trade speculation spin faster and faster, the Dodgers keep collecting wins, handing the San Francisco Giants an 8-2 defeat for the latest on Monday night at Oracle Park.
The win was the Dodgers’ 22nd in their past 27 games, a summer surge that has them on pace to win a franchise-record 110 games and has the rest of the National League West receding in the distance.
It’s a far cry from the high-speed chase of last summer when the Dodgers and Giants spent weeks in lockstep, matching win for win.
Giants right-hander Logan Webb had emerged as a leading man in the Dodgers-Giants drama last season, heir to Madison Bumgarner’s vacated role – minus the scowl and confrontational antagonism. In five starts last season and one earlier this year, Webb had held the Dodgers to just six earned runs over 36⅔ innings – including just one run in two starts during last fall’s epic NL Division Series clash.
The Dodgers matched that in five innings Monday night.
Max Muncy started the rough-housing with a two-run home run in the second inning. In the third, the Dodgers played pepper with the left fielder for three more runs.
James Outman led off with a single sliced that way, his fourth hit in his first five major-league at-bats.
Outman reached base in all four plate appearances on Monday, his epic arrival in the major leagues continuing with a single, a double, a walk and a hit by pitch. He is the first Dodgers player to reach base three or more times in each of his first two career games since Bernie Neis on April 14-15, 1920
Mookie Betts followed with a double to left. Trea Turner drove in a run with a sacrifice fly – to left – and Freddie Freeman singled home a second run, then scored on Will Smith’s double off the left-field wall.
Back-to-back doubles by Freeman and Smith produced another run in the fifth inning. Turner hit a solo home run off Giants reliever Sam Long in the seventh, extending his latest hitting streak to 19 games.
Since the start of July, the Dodgers have outscored their opponents, 155-85.
Monday’s win did feature a ragged start from left-hander Andrew Heaney who went just four innings in his second start back from the injured list.
Heaney gave up a first-inning run thanks to a hit batter, two singles (one a bunt) and a bases-loaded walk. It took him 39 pitches just to get through the Giants’ lineup once. With the Dodgers limiting Heaney to 75-80 pitches as a guard against further shoulder problems, he was already halfway done for the night.
Heaney looked better the second time through the Giants’ lineup, averaging 93 mph on his fastball (up from his average over his previous four starts this season) and striking out six of the last 10 batters he faced.
The Dodgers’ bullpen took it from there. Chris Martin (in his Dodgers debut) gave up a solo home run to Wilmer Flores in the fifth but four relievers followed with a scoreless inning each.
More to come on this story.