The Dodgers and Chicago Cubs combined for 17 runs, 12 hits, six walks, two hit batters, two misplayed balls in the outfield, one error and 187 pitches thrown by five hurlers by the time Sunday’s game dragged into the midafternoon.
And then the fourth inning started.
“The worst,” Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner said, when asked to describe the first three innings of an 11-9 come-from-behind victory over the Cubs in front of a crowd of 41,824 at Dodger Stadium. “That was terrible. But at least we were able to scrape back and win, so that helps a little bit.”
The Dodgers didn’t earn many style points. Starter Julio Urías was rocked for five runs and three hits, including a P.J. Higgins grand slam, in a 45-pitch first inning, and the left-hander lasted only two innings, his shortest start of the season.
Left fielder Gavin Lux had one ball sail over his head and another drop in front of him — both with catch probabilities of 90%, according to Statcast — for key hits in the first.
After the Dodgers scored three runs in the bottom of the first, reliever Phil Bickford gave up a three-run homer to David Bote in the third, pushing the deficit back to five. It took almost two hours for the teams to complete three innings.
But the offense pounded out 14 hits in all, including a homer, double and two singles by Freddie Freeman, and relievers Yency Almonte, Caleb Ferguson, Alex Vesia and Brusdar Graterol combined for 5 2/3 hitless innings to push the Dodgers (56-29) to their 11th win in 12 games and their National League West lead over San Diego to eight games.
“You get down 5-0, you just want to come back and make a game of it,” Freeman said after the 3-hour, 59-minute marathon. “For the offense to do that and grind it all the way to the end, that’s what special teams do.”
It was Freeman, one of several Dodgers All-Star Game snubs, who sparked a six-run third-inning rally that turned an 8-3 deficit into a 9-8 lead, the slugger smoking a 105-mph leadoff double to left-center off reliever Matt Swarmer.
Freeman took third on reliever Mark Leiter Jr.’s wild pitch and scored on Will Smith’s groundout to make it 8-4. Justin Turner singled to right and took third on Max Muncy’s double, a 107.9-mph laser over the head of right fielder Nelson Velazquez.
Trayce Thompson walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Jake Lamb struck out. Lux walked, forcing in a run to make it 8-5. Mookie Betts grounded to third, but Patrick Wisdom’s one-hop throw bounced past first base for a two-run error that made it 8-7. Trea Turner rolled a two-run single to left for a 9-8 Dodgers lead.
Freeman’s solo homer to left-center pushed the lead to 10-8 in the sixth, and his two-out, RBI single to left to score Lux, who singled and took second on a wild pitch, made it 11-8 in the seventh.
Chicago pulled to within 11-9 in the eighth when Velazquez led off with a 428-foot homer off Dodgers left-hander David Price. Bote doubled to right-center, and pinch-hitter Seiya Suzuki walked, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega.
But Graterol replaced Price and needed only five pitches to snuff out the threat, getting Ortega to ground into a fielder’s choice and Willson Contreras to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Graterol threw a one-two-three ninth for his third save.
“I had a brief conversation with Julio [after he departed] and he said, ‘We’re gonna come back and win this game,’ ” manager Dave Roberts said. “There are times in a year when you feel [a 5-0 deficit] is insurmountable, but I think today, the way we answered quickly, was a real sign we weren’t going to be denied.”
The Dodgers took a big chunk out of the early deficit with a three-run bottom of the first, in which Betts walked, Trea Turner singled, Smith lined an RBI double to left, Justin Turner rolled an RBI single to left, and Muncy hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center.
“Five runs is a lot, but it was the first inning, so we still had nine innings, 27 outs, to roll,” said Lux, who had two singles and two walks. “I think that’s enough for us to chip away.”
The win capped the Dodgers’ first 10-1 homestand since 1980 and completed a grueling 20-games-in-20-days stretch in which they went 16-4, extending a division lead that stood at just one game on June 23.
“It was a great team win,” Roberts said. “We got down by five runs [twice], but we just persevered. The offense stepped up in a big way. We went through essentially all of our relievers. To finish off a 20-game stretch and 11-game homestand the way we did, I’m really happy for our guys.”