LOS ANGELES – Max Muncy continued to rebound from a slow start to the season with a home run and Julio Urias pitched seven strong innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers extended their winning streak to a season-best nine games with a 10-3 victory Tuesday night over the Minnesota Twins.
The defeat knocked the Twins into a first-place tie in the AL Central with the Cleveland Guardians, the first time they have not held sole possession of the top spot in the division since June 24.
“I will put stock into what the standings look like on the last day of the season; that’s when I’m going to do it,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I’m not surprised that they’re playing well. They’re a really good club. We know that. we see them all the time. We know what they’re all about. They’re playing good. We have to find the groove again.”
Trea Turner had two doubles and drove in three runs, while Cody Bellinger had a two-run double, as Los Angeles improved to a major league best 76-33, while going 31-5 since June 29. The Dodgers matched a season high with eight doubles.
In his first game back from the injured list because of an abdominal strain, the Dodgers’ Justin Turner had two hits and an RBI.
“Scary enough, I think there is still a lot more in there for the whole team,” Muncy said of the Dodgers’ potential. “It’s been looking really good lately. We’ve been looking good all year long, yet at the same time, not all of us have gotten going at once. Hopefully we save that for the playoffs.”
Byron Buxton hit a home run for Minnesota, while starter Joe Ryan (8-5) gave up a run in each of the first four innings and was tagged for six runs on nine hits over five innings. Minnesota fell to 1-5 over its last three road series, all against National League clubs.
“It was a rough game for us on all accounts,” Baldelli said. “They outplayed us in every facet today. When we show up tomorrow, we know we’re going to have to come with a lot of more everything, better execution, and we have to play better.”
The Dodgers got their offense going early when Freddie Freeman walked with two outs in the first inning and scored on a double by Will Smith when Twins center fielder Gilberto Celestino failed to field the ball cleanly.
The Twins got the run back in the second inning on Celestino’s slow roller out in front of the plate to score Gio Urshela, who tripled to center.
The Dodgers took the lead for good in their half of the second inning when Gavin Lux singled and Joey Gallo doubled with one out, with both runners scoring on Bellinger’s double. A Trea Turner double scored Bellinger for a 4-1 advantage.
The Dodgers made it 5-1 in the third inning on Muncy’s 12th home run of the season and his third since Aug. 1. Muncy was slowed at the start of the season by a left elbow injury that occurred on the final regular-season game last season.
Buxton’s home run, his 27th on the season, came in the eighth inning against Dodgers right-hander Phil Bickford.
Urias (12-6) gave up one run on five hits over seven innings with no walks and eight strikeouts, while winning his ninth-consecutive decision. Urias has not absorbed a loss since June 12.
“I felt good and I have been able to go stronger late in the games the last couple of times,” Urias said through an interpreter. “That’s a credit to the manager (Dave Roberts) who has been able to give me that opportunity. The most important thing is to get the victory.”
NO EARLY EXIT
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry was in attendance in a seat near the Dodgers dugout and was about to depart in the eighth inning when Roberts encouraged him to stay.
Roberts tipped off Curry that Trayce Thompson, the brother of Curry’s teammate Klay Thompson, would be pinch hitting for the Dodgers as the second batter in the bottom of the eighth.
Curry not only stayed, he videotaped the at-bat on his phone as Thompson hit a double to left field in his only plate appearance.
“Well, I didn’t see it but it’s cool,” Thompson said. “It’s just another family friend, really, but it was pretty cool. I know he’s a busy guy. He’s got three awesome kids and a beautiful wife, great family and everything.”
Twins: RHP Bailey Ober (groin) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session at the team’s complex in Florida as he progresses toward a possible return in September. … OF Alex Krilloff, who is out of for the season, had surgery in Los Angeles to shorten his ulna bone in order to combat wrist issues.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner (abdomen) returned from the injured list and batted out of the designated hitter spot, while INF/OF Miguel Vargas was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. … RHPs Blake Treinen (shoulder) and Brusdar Graterol (shoulder) participated in a simulated game Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, with Treinen hitting 98 mph with his fastball and Graterol reaching as high as 100 mph. Both are expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment at Oklahoma City on Friday. … RHP Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) went five innings and threw 68 pitches in a rehab start at Oklahoma City.
Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (6-3, 3.19) takes the mound off his third start this season of at least five scoreless innings.
Dodgers: RHP Ryan Pepiot (1-0, 2.76) is expected to be called up from the taxi squad to make the start.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism