Dodgers sweep Cubs in four-game series

LOS ANGELES — For most of 11 home games, the Dodgers’ pitching staff carried the team. But Sunday was the offense that marked one of the most successful homestands in franchise history.

Behind a six-run outburst in the third inning, the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep over the Cubs with an 11-9 victory Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles swept the season streak against the Cubs for the first time in franchise history.

With the win, the Dodgers also wrapped up the season’s 11-game homestand with a 10–1 record, tying the 1976 and 80 teams for the best in Dodger Stadium history in a homestand of that length. Their only loss came last Sunday against the Padres after a failed save by Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.

“We played well, especially those 20 straight games we just played,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “And the key was our pitching team the whole time. They give us chances late in the game and allow us to get the big hits late in the game. It was nice to be able to pick them up, as they picked us up all the time.

All five runs against Urías came in the first set, which ended with a PJ Higgins grand slam. Urías received no help from his defense, but the southpaw’s command was off the jump; he hit two batters in the first inning and walked another. The five runs allowed in the first were the most Urías had ever given up in any frame, and he needed 45 pitches to pass the first, also a career high.

“I just didn’t have it and I missed my places,” Urías said. “Things happen, and it happened today. Now I just need to move on and try to learn from it for my next start.

The Dodgers’ offense, which has relied on late production lately, has stepped up significantly to bail out Urías. Los Angeles responded to Chicago’s five-run first inning with three runs all on its own in the bottom half.

Then in the third, the Dodgers used a pitch from Will Smith RBI, a base-laden walk from Gavin Lux, two runs on a throwing error from Patrick Wisdom and a two-run single from Trea Turner to take the lead.

Freeman, who was also cut from the NL All-Star team in his first season with the Dodgers, added some confidence with his 11th home run of the season. Freeman — a five-time All-Star with Atlanta — went 4 for 5 on Sunday. That was enough for the Dodgers bullpen, which had to bear the load with seven combined innings of work.

“For the offense to come in and do that and grind it down,” Freeman said, “that’s what special teams do.”

With the Dodgers trying to stay clear of Kimbrel and Evan Phillips, they called on Brusdar Graterol to record the game’s final six outs. He inherited a two-no-out situation in the eighth, but ended the threat with a forced out and an end-of-inning double play. He then completed his first career six-out save with a clear ninth.

Despite 27 games above .500, the Dodgers looked to get hot for the first time this season. It happened over the past week and a half at Dodger Stadium.

“This homestand is the best baseball we’ve played in the last few weeks,” Roberts said. “It’s Dodger baseball.”