Dodgers take over first place in NL West with narrow win over Padres

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor reaches for a ground-ball single by San Diego Padres’ Austin Hedges during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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  • San Diego Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross works against a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is tagged out by Freddy Galvis #13 of the San Diego Padres as he tries to steal second base during the third inning of a baseball game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ross Stripling watches a throw to a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws his helmet after striking out during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers argues a call with umpire Jordan Baker during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • The Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hits a double during the sixth inning to break up a no-hitter being thrown by the Padres’ Tyson Ross on Thursday in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • The Dodgers’ Andrew Toles watches his RBI single during the seventh inning of the team’s baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • The Dodgers’ Andrew Toles hits an RBI single to break a scoreless tie and begin a three-run seventh inning in Thursday’s game against the Padres in San Diego. The Dodgers won 3-2. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor runs home to score the first run of the game during the seventh inning Thursday night in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • The Dodgers’ Justin Turner, center, gestures from the dugout toward teammate Andrew Toles after Toles’ RBI single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp follows through on an RBI single during the seventh inning of Thursday’s game in San Diego. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • Padres catcher Austin Hedges, left, tags out the Dodgers’ Kike’ Hernandez (14), who trying to score from second on an RBI single by Matt Kemp during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson watches his RBI single during the seventh inning of the team’s baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp gestures after reaching third from first on an RBI single by Joc Pederson during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Wil Myers #4 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Franmil Reyes #32 of the San Diego Padres scores ahead of the tag of Yasmani Grandal #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of a baseball game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • San Diego Padres shortstop Freddy Galvis, right, throws to first from his knees for the out on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner as Padres second baseman Jose Pirela, left, watches during the ninth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 12: Freddy Galvis #13 of the San Diego Padres reacts after striking out during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PETCO Park on July 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen celebrates after defeating the San Diego Padres in a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. The Dodgers won 3-2. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen, right, celebrates with teammate catcher Yasmani Grandal after defeating the San Diego Padres in a baseball game Thursday, July 12, 2018, in San Diego. The Dodgers won 3-2. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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SAN DIEGO — Ross Stripling is going to the All-Star Game. Tyson Ross is most assuredly not.

But it took a soft single by Andrew Toles in the seventh inning to separate the two and drive in the first run in a three-run seventh inning. That pushed the Dodgers past the San Diego Padres 3-2 on Thursday night – and into first place.

The win allowed the Dodgers to leap-frog the Arizona Diamondbacks (who lost earlier in the day) and move into first for only the second time this season. They took over first place despite going only 4-3 on a seven-game trip to Anaheim and San Diego. The Diamondbacks have lost nine of their last 13 games.

“It beats second place,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said when asked the significance of a division lead on July 12.

“Beats being in fourth place, too.”

That’s where the Dodgers were on May 16 when a six-game losing streak to the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins dropped them 10 games under .500 (16-26).

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“It feels good,” said Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who took over the NL lead in saves (26) Thursday. “Shoot, how we started in April who knew how the season was going to go for us?”

If you’ve been following this team, you kind of knew.

That 16-26 start was the first time they had been 10 games under .500 since June 2013. That season, the Dodgers won 60 of their next 88 games after hitting rock bottom and won the first of five consecutive division titles.

The Dodgers have done their part to follow a similar script. They have gone 35-16, the best record in the National League, since May 16.

“If we can be in first place three days from now at the All-Star break, that would be good,” Stripling said. “Obviously the Diamondbacks have put a good season together. We’ve been grinding along with them.”

It’s no coincidence that the Dodgers’ turnaround began when Justin Turner’s season did. Turner missed the first 40 games of the season with a fractured wrist. Though he hasn’t been as productive this year as last year when he made the All-Star team, he remains vital to the lineup.

That lineup has lost some of its vibrancy during this seven-game trip to Anaheim and San Diego. The Dodgers batted .190 with only three home runs and 24 runs scored on the trip and were held to three runs or fewer in five of the seven games.

Now, they might have to make do without Turner, albeit briefly, again. Roberts said Turner aggravated a groin or hamstring muscle while running to first on a ground-out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. Turner will not be in the lineup Friday and will be re-evaluated.

Ross was not a likely suspect to keep the lid on the Dodgers’ offense. In his previous two starts, the right-hander had a 19.29 ERA and opposing batters had a 1.427 OPS. But he held the Dodgers hitless into the sixth inning when a one-out double by Joc Pederson broke the spell.

Stripling had a rockier road. He didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning until the sixth after scattering six hits and a walk over the first five innings, stranding all seven runners on base, most notably striking Ross out with the bases loaded to end the fourth inning.

“It was just kind of a battle,” Stripling said. “I felt like they had a lot of good ABs. I definitely wasn’t missing a lot of barrels. … A little bit of luck on my part tonight. Might have built up some bad karma. There might be some bloopers in my future.”

The Dodgers finally broke through against Ross in the seventh inning when Chris Taylor lashed a one-out double down the left-field line. Toles dropped his single into left field to drive in the game’s first run and end Ross’ night.

Things went south for the Padres after that. The Dodgers batted around, scoring three times on four hits, a walk and two hit batters – one a classic, don’t-flinch, barely-there graze of Chase Utley’s left leg. Matt Kemp and Pederson joined Toles with RBI singles.

That was just enough when Wil Myers drove in two with a two-out double off Scott Alexander in the seventh. Dylan Floro and Jansen closed it out over the final two innings.

.@RossStripling talks with @alannarizzo about his 6-inning shutout in tonight’s series finale win vs. the #Padres. pic.twitter.com/ZhBte6sSch

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) July 13, 2018

Coming through. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/hOeHoUpsYC

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 13, 2018

“We turned our season around, and we’re in first place. Now we just got to keep going.”@kenleyjansen74 spoke with @alannarizzo after recording his 26th save of the season in tonight’s 3-2 win against the #Padres. pic.twitter.com/QMYyJbcUdm

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) July 13, 2018

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Dodgers’ bats boom again with homers from Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and Max Muncy

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as he is picked off third base to end the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as he is picked off third base to end the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson throws against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson throws against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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  • Los Angeles starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson throws to a Texas Rangers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig swings for an RBI double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig swings for an RBI double during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Fans watch as Texas Rangers’ Delino DeShields misses an RBI double hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig during the second inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Fans watch as Texas Rangers’ Delino DeShields misses an RBI double hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig during the second inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Texas Rangers’ Delino DeShields can’t catch a double hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers’ Delino DeShields can’t catch a double hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo, right, chases a double hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig as Delino DeShields tumbles after missing the ball during the second inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo, right, chases a double hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig as Delino DeShields tumbles after missing the ball during the second inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his RBI double to take a 1-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his RBI double to take a 1-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his two run homerun to take a 3-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his two run homerun to take a 3-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hits a two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson hits a two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson watches his two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson watches his two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his two run homerun to take a 3-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his two run homerun to take a 3-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson celebrates his two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson celebrates his two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his two run homerun with Yasiel Puig #66 to take a 3-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his two run homerun with Yasiel Puig #66 to take a 3-0 lead over the Texas Rangers during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon walks through the dugout before the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon walks through the dugout before the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Texas Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo, of South Korea, is greeted by teammates after he scored on a single by Adrian Beltre against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo, of South Korea, is greeted by teammates after he scored on a single by Adrian Beltre against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson wipes his face after walking Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson wipes his face after walking Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Caleb Ferguson #64 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing his second walk of the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Caleb Ferguson #64 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing his second walk of the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his strikeout during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his strikeout during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon tosses the new ball after giving up a home run to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, background right, during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon tosses the new ball after giving up a home run to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, background right, during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon tosses the ball after giving up an RBI single to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Texas Rangers starting pitcher Bartolo Colon tosses the ball after giving up an RBI single to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor during the fourth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, left, celebrates his home run with Matt Kemp during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, left, celebrates his home run with Matt Kemp during the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Flanked by Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, second from left, and Ronald Guzman, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, center, hands the ball to manager Jeff Banister during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Flanked by Texas Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos, second from left, and Ronald Guzman, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, center, hands the ball to manager Jeff Banister during the fourth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his two run homerun to take a 6-2 lead over the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his two run homerun to take a 6-2 lead over the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig celebrates his two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig celebrates his two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, left, and Cody Bellinger shake hands after they scored on a single by Yasmani Grandal during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, left, and Cody Bellinger shake hands after they scored on a single by Yasmani Grandal during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Cody Bellinger #35 and Matt Kemp #27 celebrate their runs from a Yasmani Grandal #9 single, in front of Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers, to take a 11-2 lead over the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Cody Bellinger #35 and Matt Kemp #27 celebrate their runs from a Yasmani Grandal #9 single, in front of Robinson Chirinos #61 of the Texas Rangers, to take a 11-2 lead over the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Cody Bellinger #35 and Matt Kemp #27 celebrate their runs from a Yasmani Grandal #9 single to take a 11-2 lead over the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Cody Bellinger #35 and Matt Kemp #27 celebrate their runs from a Yasmani Grandal #9 single to take a 11-2 lead over the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Yimi Garcia #63 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Yimi Garcia #63 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in relief during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Yimi Garcia #63 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing a solo homerun to Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Yimi Garcia #63 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after allowing a solo homerun to Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Daniel Corcino #56 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his pitch during a 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Daniel Corcino #56 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his pitch during a 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12:  Daniel Corcino #56 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates a 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers with Yasmani Grandal #9 at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Daniel Corcino #56 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates a 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers with Yasmani Grandal #9 at Dodger Stadium on June 12, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, left, and Joc Pederson celebrate their team’s 12-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

    The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor, left, and Joc Pederson celebrate their team’s 12-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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LOS ANGELES — Respect your elders. But hammer his fastball.

The Dodgers found the senior slinging of 45-year-old Bartolo Colon to their liking, pounding him for eight runs on nine hits, including three more home runs, in the first four innings of a 12-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

The win was the Dodgers’ eighth in their last 10 games – a stretch during which they have identified their starting pitcher each day like game shows call contestants out of the audience – and 18 of their past 24.

“That ‘hitting-is-contagious’ thing is real,” said Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, who was on base four times including an RBI double in a seven-run fourth inning. “We have a really deep lineup. I wouldn’t want to face us.

“I think winning is contagious too. We finally got that monkey off our back.”

That monkey was sitting comfortably when the Dodgers bottomed out 10 games under .500 (16-26) in mid-May. Since then, they have outhomered their opponents 46-19 and experienced a real June boom. The Dodgers lead all of MLB this month in nearly every offensive category, including runs scored (84 in 10 games) and home runs (29).

Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and Yasiel Puig each homered in Tuesday’s win. Pederson (7) and Muncy (6) lead MLB in home runs this month.

“It’s hard to explain homers. But, gosh, you see what Joc’s done this month, Max has done essentially all year,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think obviously they’re elevating the baseball, squaring it up, taking good swings, having good at-bats. I think across the board. Even the ability to use the opposite-field gap, take a walk, hit a line drive – I just think we’re taking a lot of good swings, grinding at-bats.

“We’re built sort of on slugging, guys who can take the walk, identify strike from ball and it’s kind of playing out that way right now.”

It is. But no one expected it to play out with Muncy leading the team in home runs. But his second-inning solo launch off Colon was his team-high 13th – despite not joining the major-league club until mid-April and bringing with him a major-league resume’ that included all of five home runs in 215 previous big-league at-bats.

“A grinder, a guy who is all in and will do whatever it takes for us to win,” Roberts said of his expectations when Muncy arrived from Triple-A on April 17. “I didn’t expect to see the consistent slug and the ability to barrel baseballs. This guy, he knows where the barrel’s at.

“I just didn’t appreciate it. I didn’t know the player. In spring training, obviously it was a small sample. But the more you see him … there’s a lot to like.”

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There’s a lot to see of Colon, too and he has become the Don Quixote, assaulting the windmills of age – and fitness – in the image of a beer-guzzling fan who somehow found his way onto the field. Tuesday, he was matched against an opposing starting pitcher who was nine months old when Colon made his major-league debut. In the home dugout, the manger was a teammate from another century.

Colon has remarkably held back the hands of time, throwing his fastball 80 percent of the time even though it has lost 5 mph since he and Roberts were Cleveland Indians together. But these Dodgers feast on fastballs the way Colon … well, appears to have feasted on a lot of things over the years.

They put up three runs in the second inning on a walk to Bellinger, a two-out double just short of clearing the fence by Puig and a two-run home run by Pederson.

For Pederson, it was one of seven home runs in his last 26 plate appearances after he hit just one home run in his first 151 trips to the plate this season.

The Dodgers put the game away with a seven-run fourth inning that included a two-run home run by Puig – who had no home runs in his first 100 at-bats this season but now has eight in his last 77 at-bats. Yasmani Grandal drove in two runs with a single, Bellinger one with his double.

The smoke billowing from the Rangers’ team ERA provided cover for Ferguson, who looked at least somewhat more at ease in his second big-league start. Ferguson lasted only 1-2/3 innings in his debut last week. This time, he was only asked to go four and did that ably enough before Roberts let the bullpen coast to the finish.

“Caleb was better today,” Roberts said, non-committal when asked if Ferguson will remain in the Dodgers’ needy rotation. “I think with Caleb – he’s still green. He’s still learning the league and learning himself.

“It’s in there. Caleb can pitch. He competes really well.”

.@yungjoc650 has been locked in! He spoke with @alannarizzo after his 3-hit night against the Rangers. pic.twitter.com/m81yhzOSrD

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 13, 2018

Barely made it but it counts just the same 🤷‍♂️ #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/1FOjytokWg

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 13, 2018

Mad Max got all of it. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/2ZSQ5Whay3

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 13, 2018

421 feet LAUNCHED! #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/CHKWRGLWup

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 13, 2018

“The player that’s grown the most, in my opinion, is Joc.”
Dave Roberts talks about the recent offensive surge following a 12-5 #Dodgers win over Texas. pic.twitter.com/72rHClFUta

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) June 13, 2018

Read more about Dodgers’ bats boom again with homers from Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and Max Muncy This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

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A.J. Pollock homers 3 times as Diamondbacks beat beleaguered Dodgers

  • Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed (13) advances to third base on a fly ball hit by teammate Jeff Mathis as Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy, right, makes a catch on a late throw during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed (13) advances to third base on a fly ball hit by teammate Jeff Mathis as Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Max Muncy, right, makes a catch on a late throw during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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  • Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, right, walks back to the dugout after being called out on strikes by umpire Jerry Layne (24) during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, right, walks back to the dugout after being called out on strikes by umpire Jerry Layne (24) during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock (11) rounds the bases after celebrating his home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers with third base coach Tony Perezchica (8) during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock (11) rounds the bases after celebrating his home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers with third base coach Tony Perezchica (8) during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Daniel Descalso (3) scores a run as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, right, looks for a late throw to home plate during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ Daniel Descalso (3) scores a run as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, right, looks for a late throw to home plate during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Starting pitcher Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Starting pitcher Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke connects for a run-scoring single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke connects for a run-scoring single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Alex Verdugo is unable to make a catch on a ground rule double hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Alex Verdugo is unable to make a catch on a ground rule double hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ross Stripling (68) waits for a new baseball after giving up a home run to Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed, right, during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ross Stripling (68) waits for a new baseball after giving up a home run to Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed, right, during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (31) flips his bat away in frustration after being called out on strikes as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis, right, heads back to the dugout during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (31) flips his bat away in frustration after being called out on strikes as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis, right, heads back to the dugout during the fourth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock connects for a home run, his second of the night, during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock connects for a home run, his second of the night, during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (3) celebrates his run scored against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Cody Bellinger (35) during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor (3) celebrates his run scored against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Cody Bellinger (35) during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a strike out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a strike out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Nick Ahmed #13 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a RBI single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Nick Ahmed #13 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a RBI single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Starting pitcher Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers talks with catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 on the mound during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Starting pitcher Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers talks with catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 on the mound during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a strike out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a strike out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches from the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches from the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Alex Verdugo #61 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks through the dugout during the fourth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Alex Verdugo #61 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks through the dugout during the fourth inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI triple against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI triple against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to a strike out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to a strike out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  A.J. Pollock #11 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run of relief pitcher Brock Stewart #48 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: A.J. Pollock #11 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run of relief pitcher Brock Stewart #48 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Relief pitcher Yoshihisa Hirano #66 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after giving up a solo home run to Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Relief pitcher Yoshihisa Hirano #66 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after giving up a solo home run to Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives Breyvic Valera #33 after hitting a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives Breyvic Valera #33 after hitting a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Relief pitcher Tony Cingrani #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Relief pitcher Tony Cingrani #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after being hit by a pitch in fromt of catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after being hit by a pitch in fromt of catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after being hit by a pitch in fromt of catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after being hit by a pitch in fromt of catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30:  Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    PHOENIX, AZ – APRIL 30: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal (9) celebrates his run scored against the Arizona Diamondbacks with teammates and coaches in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. Arizona won 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal (9) celebrates his run scored against the Arizona Diamondbacks with teammates and coaches in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. Arizona won 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Boxberger (31) celebrates with catcher Jeff Mathis, left, after the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Boxberger (31) celebrates with catcher Jeff Mathis, left, after the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock (11), who had three home runs on the night, celebrates with Deven Marrero (10) after the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock (11), who had three home runs on the night, celebrates with Deven Marrero (10) after the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 8-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • An injured Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager watches his teammates warm up prior to a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    An injured Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager watches his teammates warm up prior to a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • An injured Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager stands in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

    An injured Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager stands in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday, April 30, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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PHOENIX — After the dust settled between Cody Bellinger and Dave Roberts, after the bloodcurdling verdict on Corey Seager’s right elbow had been revealed, the Dodgers still had a baseball game to play on Monday.

Winning was difficult enough at full strength. It proved even harder in the face of a three-homer game by A.J. Pollock, who stole the show against a pitching staff stretched to the extreme.

The Dodgers lost 8-5 to the Arizona Diamondbacks, their fifth loss in their last six games. Arizona (20-8) extended its lead over the fourth-place Dodgers (12-16) to eight games in the National League West.

The Dodgers burned through five pitchers in the opener of a four-game series. Spot starter Ross Stripling (0-1) got little support from his offense against former teammate Zack Greinke (3-2), who beat the Dodgers for the second time this season.

To his credit, Stripling got 12 outs – seven more than any other Dodgers pitcher. Three relievers allowed at least one run. The other, Tony Cingrani, walked pinch-hitter Alex Avila to load the bases then tagged David Peralta on the hand with a fastball to force a run across in the seventh inning.

Dodger relievers are 4-5 with a 4.69 earned-run average this season. They are 4 for 11 in save opportunities, a stat that might look better if Kenley Jansen had a few more chances to save a game.

“The ’pen will get untracked,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s one thing where you’re trying to keep the game close and keep these guys at bay. You see the guys on the offensive side continuing to battle and chip away. I love the way that we competed until the last out. We really did. We lost by three runs but the fight was there.”

There wasn’t much fight early. Greinke didn’t allow a hit against his former team until Yasmani Grandal (3 for 3) doubled in the fourth inning. He didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning. He’s beaten the Dodgers twice already this season.

Seager’s season-ending elbow injury became official a few hours prior to the game. Whether that was a distraction or not, Bellinger acknowledged it took an emotional toll.

“We knew he was playing through it,” Bellinger said.

Stripling, who is Seager’s roommate in Los Angeles, had a sense the news was coming.

“He said that when it was going to start affecting his swing is when he was going to say something,” Stripling said. “I guess we reached that point.”

Chris Taylor started at shortstop in Seager’s place. Chase Utley batted second. Kiké Hernandez took a turn in center field but was later replaced by Joc Pederson, a rotation that could become a custom. Bellinger batted cleanup one day after Roberts benched him for a lack of hustle.

Maybe the Dodgers’ greatest enemy was not within, or even in the other dugout, but behind the plate.

Greinke struck out 10 in six innings, including seven K’s against left-handed batters. Afterward, the Dodgers were critical of home plate umpire Jerry Layne’s strike zone. Some believed its girth expanded against left-handed batters in particular. Bellinger said “he knows he was brutal back there,” and Stripling conceded he could have taken better advantage of the large zone himself.

“You never want to use the home plate umpire, the zone, as an excuse,” Roberts said. “I do think there were some calls, when you look back at the video, it was a little too liberal. When you have a pitcher like Zack Greinke, his command, he’s going to exploit that. He figured that out early, that he was getting balls off the plate.”

The Dodgers were hoping to get three or four innings out of Stripling, a relief pitcher making his first start of the season. They did, but relying on a bullpen game to outwit the Diamondbacks’ offense proved as futile as it looked on paper.

After Stripling threw eight pitches in a scoreless first inning, Pollock hit the first of his three solo home runs to begin the second. Daniel Descalso followed with a double. Nick Ahmed drove in Descalso with a single, and Ahmed scored on a two-out single by Greinke.

Down 3-0 in the fourth inning, Stripling allowed another solo home run, this one to Ahmed. Stripling got through the outing on 66 pitches, but his durability exceeded his dominance. The right-hander allowed eight hits. All four runs against him were earned, inflating his earned-run average from 0.63 to 2.45.

Brock Stewart took over in the fifth inning and Pollock thwacked another home run to left field, extending the Dbacks’ lead to 5-0. Pollock hit 14 home runs last year. He already has nine this season; five have been hit against the Dodgers.

Count ’em. 3⃣ home runs for A.J. Pollock. 💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/7rTAr7zZgM

— MLB (@MLB) May 1, 2018

The Dodgers got a couple runs back against Greinke in the sixth inning. When Max Muncy hit a home run into the Dodgers’ bullpen in the seventh, Arizona led 5-3 and the threat of a competitive game appeared real. It fizzled quickly.

Cingrani took over for Daniel Hudson in the seventh inning, his first appearance since a scary “dead arm” spell Friday in San Francisco. His fastball was back in gear at 94 mph; his control was not.

After Cingrani hit Peralta with the bases loaded, Jarrod Dyson hit a ground ball to Dodgers shortstop Taylor that could have ended the inning. But the ball took a strange hop, Taylor threw high to first base, and Dyson was safe. Another run scored on the play and the Dodgers trailed 7-3.

After scoring a pair of runs in the eighth inning – Pederson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Matt Kemp another with a single – Josh Fields allowed Pollock’s third home run of the game in the ninth.

Stripling suggested the Dodgers’ wobbly bullpen could benefit from a change of scenery.

“Maybe we’re just ready to play someone else,” he said. “It feels like we’ve played the Giants and the Diamondbacks 30 times each.”

Game two of the four-game series is Tuesday.

.@alannarizzo chats with @RossStripling following his 4-inning outing in tonight’s 8-5 loss against Arizona. pic.twitter.com/lCy3QACdXU

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 1, 2018

Dave Roberts talks about @RossStripling‘s outing, the #Dodgers bullpen and more. pic.twitter.com/VK6WCLIFxe

— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) May 1, 2018

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