LOS ANGELES (AP) — This is what happens when a team wins as much as the Los Angeles Dodgers: They believe they will find a way to win every night.
So when they fell behind 5-0 to Minnesota Twins ace Ervin Santana Wednesday night, they did not waver. When they pulled within one and the Twins called on All Star closer Brandon Kintzler, they simply wondered who would play the hero on this night.
Turns out it was Justin Turner, the Dodgers third baseman driving a single into left with two outs in the ninth to give the Dodgers a 6-5 comeback victory.
“There’s no exact recipe,” Turner said. “It’s different ways every night. Getting ahead, coming from behind, getting down to our last strike. There’s a lot of fight. A lot of guys who believe if we still have outs, we still have a chance to win the game.”
The victory was their fifth straight victory and 36th in their last 42 games. It was their 29th comeback win, 13th series sweep of the season and it left them 71-31, the first time 40 games over .500 since 1974.
“It feels like a special group,” said right-hander Brock Stewart. “If we just stay the course and grind it out, good things will happen.”
Stewart made his first start in the rotation for injured Clayton Kershaw and finished with an odd line.
The Twins scored all five runs against him, Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer each driving in two, but because the Dodgers made two errors, all five runs were unearned.
The Dodgers started their comeback against Santana on solo home runs from Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig. Chase Utley’s pinch hit double in the seventh pulled the Dodgers within one.
“They made more plays and had bigger hits down the stretch than we did,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor.
The Dodgers tied it in the eighth when Logan Forsythe hit a sacrifice fly against Kintzler (2-2). Singles by pinch-hitter Austin Barnes and Chris Taylor preceded Turner’s game-winner.
“It seems like different guys get the big hit every night,” Turner said. “And it’s been like that for a while now.
“Guys are hungry. They can’t wait to get up to the batter’s box right now. It’s pretty fun.”
Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to raise his record to 5-0 and complete the Dodgers’ three-game sweep of the Twins.
The Dodgers’ three-game sweep of Minnesota did not go unnoticed by the Twins.
“They have a real good thing going on,” Molitor said. “It’s a nice environment here obviously to play, loud ballpark and history and all those things. They are playing hungry, playing loose. They have a little bit of money in the bank to toy with and it kind of frees you up to let it fly and that’s what they are doing.”
Twins: Outfielder Byron Buxton (groin strain) was not activated for a second consecutive day because of a lingering migraine. … Third baseman Miguel Sano remained out of the lineup for a second night with a bruised hand.
Dodgers: Kershaw (strained lower back) said there was no timetable for his return. He said the discomfort was not nearly as severe as last season when he suffered a herniated disk: “It’s definitely not as painful this year. Everyday life isn’t really affected right now which is good. Last year, I couldn’t sit, couldn’t really bend in anyway.”
Kershaw appeared confident that, like last season, he would be able to return in time to get enough starts to build himself up for the postseason: “That’s how it worked out last year. I didn’t really have a choice. Ultimately, I’d just like to pitch every fifth day until the postseason and then pitch. That’s not what’s going to happen so I’m going to make this work.”
Twins: After an off-day, left-hander Jamie Garcia (4-7, 4.30 ERA) will make his debut for Minnesota on Friday in Oakland. Lost his only start against the A’s last season, allowing five runs in seven innings.
Dodgers: Will also be off Thursday. Alex Wood (11-1, 2.17) will try to rebound from his first loss of the season when he starts Friday against the Giants. In eight games against the Giants (four starts), he is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
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