It was this time last year the Dodgers began to slide.
Following a 13-2 start to the 2021 campaign, the team went into an early-summer tailspin. They lost 15 of 20 games. They squandered their season-opening momentum. And it took them close to a month to snap out of the malaise, eventually contributing to their costly second-place finish in the National League West.
Last week, it seemed like the Dodgers were on the verge of another consequential skid.
They suffered a troubling series loss in Pittsburgh. Their pitchers were drummed in three straight defeats to the Philadelphia Phillies upon returning home.
“We put ourselves in a little hole at the start of this homestand,” manager Dave Roberts said.
But by the end of the home stretch Wednesday, the Dodgers were back on their feet again.
With a 5-3 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of their division rivals, salvaged a winning record on their eight-game homestand, and moved to 25-12 on the season — the most games they’ve been over .500 this year — with a fifth consecutive win.
“Credit to everybody,” Roberts said. “There was no panic.”
Just like in their previous four victories, the Dodgers had to come from behind Wednesday, reversing an early 2-1 deficit on Justin Turner’s go-ahead three-run home run in the fourth.
And unlike their rut from last year, they made sure a temporary tumble didn’t turn into an all-out face plant.
“Our bench coach Bob Geren always says every winning streak always comes after a loss,” Turner said. “Every day we show up, whether we won or lost the night before, I think we have the ability to go on a good streak.”
Wednesday was a group effort for the Dodgers.
The team started fast at the plate, scoring a run two batters into the game on a Mookie Betts double and Freddie Freeman RBI single.
They hung four more runs against Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies in the fourth, when Turner clobbered a hanging full-count changeup for his three-run homer and Gavin Lux added to the lead with an RBI single.
Despite batting just .203 this season, Turner now leads the team with 28 RBIs. That total ranks in the top 10 of the majors, as well.
“I feel like I’ve slowly been getting closer and closer and closer,” said Turner, who has driven in 15 of those runs in the past 13 games. “I don’t think it’s all the way perfect yet, but I do feel like I’ve been in a good position to be able to compete.”
Starting pitcher Walker Buehler was simply in compete mode, too. He failed to work past the fifth inning for the fifth time this year, yet still limited the Diamondbacks (18-21) to just two runs.
His best moment came at the end of the day, when he escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth. After striking out Jordan Luplow and Pavin Smith with two of his best fastballs all season — a pitch that hasn’t had its normal life through the opening month — Buehler pumped a fist after Christian Walker hit a soft ground ball for the final out.
“Kind of the first time all year I’ve really tried to try to reach back and grab something and it’s been there,” Beuhler said.
A short-handed bullpen came through, as well.
Justin Bruihl pitched a scoreless sixth. David Price returned from the COVID-19 list with three strikeouts in a perfect 1⅓ innings, bailing Brusdar Graterol out of a one-run seventh inning jam before retiring the side in order in the eighth.
Daniel Hudson got the save on a day closer Craig Kimbrel was down for rest — wrapping up a four-game series played over the course of less than 48 hours.
“To play four games in X amount of hours, it’s tough,” Roberts said. “But no one complained, wavered, and collectively we got it done.”