Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a feeling Tuesday afternoon.
The night before, his team had suffered an uncharacteristic game at the plate. The Dodgers hit plenty of balls hard in their series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates but mustered only five hits and one run in a rare lopsided loss.
Roberts anticipated a response.
“Last night was an ugly one,” he said. “I expected to see a different result tonight.”
That he did, with the Dodgers putting on an exhibition with the bats to rout the Pirates, 11-1, at PNC Park.
The Dodgers recorded a season high in runs and hits, racking up 15. They collected eight doubles, tying the most since relocating to Los Angeles. They also had a triple, a home run and two walks, going eight for 14 with runners in scoring position.
“It was a really good offensive night,” Roberts said. “Just good to see guys break out.”
The Dodgers (20-8) opened the scoring quickly, striking twice in the first on doubles from Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner and Justin Turner.
They added two big innings, tallying five runs in the third and four more in the seventh.
And they did it all without Chris Taylor, who was out with a left knee bone bruise he suffered Monday, and Will Smith, who missed his second straight game with right pectoral tightness but is expected to play Wednesday.
Justin Turner had the best – and most needed – night. After entering the game with a .168 batting average and team-worst .496 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, he went four for five with three doubles and four RBIs, both season highs.
“I’ve been feeling better this whole road trip,” Turner said. “Taking better at-bats, seeing the ball better, hitting balls harder. It was good to get results tonight, but at the same time, happy with the process and hitting balls hard and swinging at good pitches. “
He wasn’t alone. Edwin Ríos had three RBIs and homered for a second straight game, the highlight of a three-for-five night in his first start since April 27. Trea Turner and Gavin Lux each added two hits. Austin Barnes had a two-run double. Max Muncy had a triple.
Even the only player to go hitless, Mookie Betts, contributed on defense by throwing out a runner at home on a fly to the right – the closest the Pirates came to scoring against Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin, who pitched five scoreless innings.
“Up and down there’s people that feel like there’s a lot more in the tank and we take pride in that,” said Trea Turner, one of several Dodgers who came into the game scuffling at the plate. “The pitching has been really good and kind of carried us. But I think nights like tonight are going to happen a lot more often when we get going. “
Smith missed his second straight game, but Roberts said the issue isn’t believed to be serious.
He said the team was being cautious with the catcher and expected Smith back in the lineup Wednesday.
“It’s not something that’s concerning,” Roberts said. “It’s just early so make sure we kind of nip it.”
Taylor said he was feeling much better after leaving Monday’s game with a left knee bone bruise resulting from a foul ball.
Even before the injury, Taylor was scheduled to have Tuesday off. But he did take batting practice.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.