PHOENIX — Since his rookie season in 2011, Freddie Freeman had never hit fewer than five home runs in his first 43 games of a season.
The Dodgers reached the 43-game mark Wednesday and Freeman had only three home runs, none since April 24. Freeman had joked about the lack of home runs a few times recently, which made one wonder if he was really bothering him.
“No, as long as I get to .300,” he said. “I keep playing the same way. I’ve always been a line hitter, space to space. The home runs will come.”
One finally came in the second inning Thursday night at Chase Field. The three-run homer ended a 128th plate appearance for Freeman and was part of another big day for the big three at the top of the Dodgers’ lineup as they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 14-1.
Mookie Betts reached base four times and scored twice. Freeman drove in five runs with his home run and two doubles. Trea Turner went 2 for 4 with an RBI triple.
Everyone in the Dodgers’ starting lineup had a hit. But the power trio at the top combined to go 8-for-11 with seven runs scored and six RBIs, through the first six innings alone.
The Dodgers have now scored 154 runs in the month of May, an average of 6.4 per game. Thursday marked the seventh time this month they’ve scored nine or more in a game. His 24 hits against the Diamondbacks are an MLB season high and fell short of the franchise’s Los Angeles-era record.
It took the Dodgers just 11 batters in the game to score six times against the Diamondbacks. They scored multiple runs in the first inning for the third time in their last four games.
The one exception in that time was Wednesday, Betts’ day off.
Betts was again at the top of the Dodgers’ lineup in Arizona, batting in each of the first three innings and reaching base each time, with a double, a walk and a single. Freeman followed up Betts’ double in the first inning with one of his own to drive in Betts.
Betts now has at least one extra-base hit in each of his last seven starts and has scored at least once in each of his last 13 starts.
Will Smith drove in Freeman with an RBI single and the Dodgers rallied in the second inning. Cody Bellinger led off with a single and scored on Chris Taylor’s double. After a fly ball, Betts took a walk.
That brought up Freeman, who was given a down-and-in slider by Diamondbacks starter Humberto Castellanos. He was neither down nor far enough in and Freeman hit him 389 feet into the right-field seats.
Freeman nearly hit a second home run in the sixth inning when he hit a ball off the wall in center field. The 418-foot drive went for his second double of the game and was one of the Dodgers’ five straight hits in a four-run inning.
Freeman has 18 doubles, tying Jackie Robinson (1950) for the most by a Dodger through the first 44 games of the season, and tying his replacement (Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson) for the league lead. Big leagues.
The Diamondbacks’ only run of the game came in traditional fashion: a home run by Christian Walker. Fifteen of Walker’s 64 career home runs have come against the Dodgers, including four of his 12 this year.
More to come in this story.