LOS ANGELES -- Fake crowd noise blared from the Dodger Stadium speakers. Actual cheering emanated from the Los Angeles Dodgers' first-base dugout.
Having been kept quiet for most of Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers' bats finally made noise in the seventh inning, roaring to life on AJ Pollock's two-out, three-run, go-ahead blast in a 6-2 rubber-match win over the San Francisco Giants.
Through six innings, it wasn't clear the Dodgers would get even six hits, let alone runs. Giants starter Kevin Gausman was in a groove, throwing with increased velocity and sharp command. The Dodgers' lineup was missing its hottest hitter, injured shortstop Corey Seager, and struggling to get the ball out of the infield.
A day after recording a season-low two hits, MLB's highest-scoring offense was creeping toward its first shutout this season.
But then Cody Bellinger singled with one out in the seventh and Giants manager Gabe Kapler emerged from the dugout.
Though it was only the third hit against Gausman, and despite the fact the right-hander's pitch count had yet to exceed 80, Kapler turned to his bullpen. Three batters later, Pollock made him pay.
In a full count against sidearm reliever Tyler Rogers, Pollock crushed a hanging curveball to left, smashing his three-run blast into a blue tarp advertisement covering a section of empty outfield seats.
A pitch earlier, Pollock was certain he'd drawn a walk on a Rogers fastball he thought missed inside. But as he started toward first, plate umpire Adam Hamari called him back, extending two fingers for a called second strike.
Pollock's disbelief didn't last long. After his fourth home run of the season cleared the wall, he raised a fist while rounding the bases.
Mookie Betts broke the game open an inning later, sending newly inserted reliever Shaun Anderson's first-pitch slider into the seats in left for a three-run home run. Once again, the fake crowd cheered, the Dodgers dugout clapped and the shell-shocked Giants stood in silence.
The late offense got Dodgers starter Walker Buehler off the hook. In his third start of the season, the right-hander allowed only one hit but struggled with command, walking four batters and hitting another in a 5 2/3-inning, two-run outing.
Both runs against Buehler came on the one hit he allowed, when Mike Yastrzemski singled home Pablo Sandoval and Austin Slater with two out in the fifth.
But the Dodgers bullpen kept the deficit there, then put the Giants away, thanks to scoreless innings from Caleb Ferguson (who relieved Buehler in the sixth), Jake McGee (who was credited with the win) and Kenley Jansen (who finished the game in the ninth), plus a one-out hold from Blake Treinen.
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