LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Taylor wasn’t even in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ plans when the season started. Now they’ve got to wonder where they’d be without him.
Taylor continued his torrid hitting Tuesday with two run-scoring doubles as the Dodgers became baseball’s first team to reach the 70-win mark with a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
The 26-year-old Taylor is 23 for 44 since the All-Star break. His two hits Tuesday gave him four consecutive multi-hit games. He’s hitting .321 on the season and has played second, third, shortstop, left and center. He opened the season in Triple-A and was expected to be a utility player when he was called up by the Dodgers on April 19.
“You don’t know what this young man’s ceiling is,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think the beautiful thing is he just continues to go out there and tries to compete and perform. He keeps getting big hits.
“He also making great defensive plays out there – saving runs, scoring runs, driving in runs. He’s a wonderful player.”
The Dodgers have won four consecutive games and 35 of their last 41. They have baseball’s best record at 70-31.
“I just learned that we won 70 games,” Roberts said. “I have such narrow vision. It’s a credit to those guys in the locker room. We have a lot of work to do, but at this point, it’s certainly a nice accomplishment.”
Kenta Maeda (9-4) went five solid innings for the Dodgers. Luis Avilan threw a scoreless sixth and Josh Ravin went the final three innings to earn his first career save.
Jose Berrios (9-4) held the Dodgers scoreless until they took command with a four-run fourth.
“They (Dodgers) did a really good job of battling back and fighting back, so I have to tip my cap to them,” Berrios said. “I did notice that I was getting too aggressive and that was making myself open up.”
The game was delayed for 18 minutes in the sixth when Roberts protested a double-switch by Twins manager Paul Molitor. The umpires huddled and forced Molitor to remove left fielder Eddie Rosario. Then they went to the headsets to check with MLB headquarters in New York to make sure they had interpreted the rule properly.
Roberts said the umpires told him reliever Ryan Pressly entered the game in the fifth spot where Rosario was batting, but Rosario had remained in the game.
Molitor said plate umpire Lance Barrett misunderstood where he wanted his reliever in the batting order.
“There was obvious miscommunication when I went out there to make the double-switch,” Molitor said. “What I think I said and what he thought he heard were two different things.”
Ravin said he was unfamiliar with the three-inning save rule and was unaware he was in position to earn one until pitching coach Rick Honeycutt told him before going out for the ninth.
“I thought I was only going to throw an inning,” Ravin said. “And I had no clue it was a save opportunity until Honeycutt told me.”
Ravin did not allow a hit and walked one. He was just recalled from the minors Monday.
“When he gets up here with us, the focus heightens and the stuff is really good,” Roberts said. “This is as good as I’ve seen his slider.”
Twins: OF Byron Broxton (left groin strain) was scheduled to come off the disabled list Tuesday, but Minnesota held off a least a day because he was experiencing a migraine. … 3B Miguel Sano, hit on the hand by a pitch Monday, was a late scratch for Tuesday’s game. He pinch hit in the eighth and struck out.
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez (herniated disk) continues to improve and Roberts said he could go out of rehab assignment next week. He has been out since June 12 and Roberts said he would need at least a week of rehab games … Roberts offered no timetable on the return of LHP Clayton Kershaw (lower back strain). Roberts called it a Grade 1 strain.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (11-7, 3.26 ERA) was scheduled in the series finale against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Santana is 4-5 with a 5.47 ERA in his last nine starts.
Dodgers: Temporary life without Kershaw officially gets underway Wednesday when the Dodgers place right-hander Brock Stewart in the rotation for a start. Stewart has not allowed a run in six relief appearances, but this would be his first start.
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