One swing of Freddie Freeman’s bat changed everything for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Coming off a 2-4 road trip, the Dodgers were in danger of losing a fourth consecutive series until Freeman singled to deep center field with the bases loaded in the 11th inning, giving them a 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.
“A series win is huge, you can build off those,” Freeman said. “It’s good to be home and good to play some good baseball the last couple days.”
Chris Taylor was the designated runner at second base to start the 11th. He took third on a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal. Miguel Rojas walked and Mookie Betts drew a 12-pitch walk against Garrett Crochet (0-1) to set up Freeman, who had been hitless in the series.
Luis Robert Jr. was playing in shallow center and never moved a muscle on Freeman’s winning hit that landed on the warning track.
“I knew I hit it good enough,” Freeman said.
The teams combined for 32 strikeouts — most in an MLB game this season — and 11 walks.
Robert and Eloy Jiménez hit back-to-back homers in the first inning and Jake Burger and Andrew Vaughn went deep in consecutive at-bats in the fourth to give the White Sox a 4-0 lead in their third four-homer game of the season.
“It felt like we were dead in the water,” Taylor said.
Taylor hit a tying grand slam with two outs in the sixth. Will Smith and David Peralta singled to chase Dylan Cease and James Outman singled off Reynaldo López to load the bases. Taylor went deep to left-center for his 100th career homer, the Dodgers’ MLB-leading eighth grand slam of the season.
“It’s pretty cool to do it in that fashion,” said Taylor, who got the ball back from a fan that caught it. “Obviously a big momentum changer for us. We’ve been in a slump. Hopefully, we can kind of ride that.”
Cease allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out six of his first nine batters, finishing with 10 Ks and three walks.
Robert and Jiménez each had two strikes on them against Michael Grove with two outs. Robert, who homered and doubled in an 8-4 win Wednesday, sent a 418-foot shot to center field for his 17th homer. Jiménez followed with a shot into the right-field pavilion.
Burger sent a 406-foot line drive to center leading off the fourth for his 16th homer. He homered twice Wednesday. Vaughn went deep to the left-field pavilion for a 4-0 lead.
Grove heard boos after getting cuffed around early, but had to stay in since the Dodgers have a bullpen game Friday. He gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings, struck out seven and walked one.
White Sox: RHP Mike Clevinger said tests showed no structural damage from the sore right biceps that forced him to leave his start in the fifth inning Wednesday. Since Clevinger’s next start isn’t until Monday, the team will wait on a possible IL decision. … 3B Yoán Moncada went on the IL with lower back inflammation. “I want to see him play without any pain and this might help him,” manager Pedro Grifol said.
Dodgers: 3B Max Muncy (hamstring) has a low-grade strain, not Grade 2 as manager Dave Roberts admitted he misspoke a day earlier. Muncy took grounders and ran, but is unlikely to be back in the lineup Friday. “I’m trying to pass tests each day and see where it’s at,” said Muncy, whose biggest concern is playing defense. … RHP Daniel Hudson (knee) is shifting his rehab to Triple-A Oklahoma City from Arizona. If it goes well, he could return to the team later this month.
On Clayton Kershaw’s bobblehead night, his four children took the mound to throw first pitches. Or at least try. Cali, his 8-year-old daughter, toppled over after throwing the ball on a bounce to her father. Charley, who’s 6, had the best throw, getting it all the way to the plate. The scene turned chaotic, with the kids scrambling around until mother Ellen came to collect 3-year-old Cooper and 1-year-old Chance, who appears to be a lefty like his dad. The family was delightfully out of sync when giving the traditional shout of “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”
White Sox: RHP Michael Kopech (3-5, 4.03 ERA) starts Friday at Seattle to open a three-game series.
Dodgers: Plan a bullpen game Friday in the opener of a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants.