CINCINNATI — Freddie Freeman is getting ready for his close-up.
With his return to Atlanta looming just days away, Freeman drove in five runs and reached base four times, pushing the Dodgers to an 8-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Freeman is 15 for his past 39 (.385) with Tuesday’s three-hit game his third in his past 10. More importantly for the Dodgers’ offensive issues of late, he is 22 for 60 (.367) with runners in scoring position this season.
The Dodgers had plenty of runners in scoring position again Tuesday against Reds starter Tyler Mahle. They just didn’t do as much scoring as you would expect, outhitting the Reds 12-4 through the first seven innings but leading just 4-2 at that point.
Ten of the Dodgers’ first 20 batters in the game had hits, including a long ball (a first-inning solo home run by Will Smith) and – gasp! – some small ball.
After Justin Turner doubled off the top of the left-field wall (missing a home run by inches) to start the fourth inning, Eddy Alvarez bunted him to third and Gavin Lux drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
Freeman gave them the lead with a two-run double in the third inning. But he also took the steam out of that potentially big inning with his legs.
Normally a savvy baserunner, Freeman tried to advance from second to third when the throw home on his double bounced wide of home plate. He was thrown out at third for the first out of the inning (a call held up after a lengthy review).
When Smith followed with a single and Chris Taylor a two-out double (one of his two doubles in the game), Freeman’s decision grew more costly.
The Reds responded only with solo home runs in each of the first two innings – one by Jonathan India and one by Albert Amora Jr.
It was the first time this season Gonsolin has given up multiple home runs in a game and only the fourth time in 13 starts he has given up as many as two runs. His league-leading ERA did go up – from 1.42 to 1.58, still the best in baseball.
After Amora’s home run, Gonsolin retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced including the final nine. But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled him after five innings (and 87 pitches), ending a stretch of six consecutive starts in which he pitched at least six innings (after never doing it in consecutive starts before in his career).
But the Dodgers finally broke the game open with four runs in the top of the eighth including three on a bases-loaded triple off the center-field wall by Freeman. Smith then drove him in with a sacrifice fly.
More to come on this story.