Turner has his second consecutive three-hit game in the 4-1 win and is 15 for 32 since moving into the leadoff spot during Mookie Betts’ absence
ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman returned to his former home and couldn’t stop crying.
Trea Turner has returned to his former home and hasn’t stopped hitting.
Turner had his second consecutive three-hit game Friday night as the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-1, in the first game of a three-game series at Truist Park.
Primarily a leadoff hitter throughout his career, Turner returned to that spot a week ago when Mookie Betts went to the injured list with a cracked rib. In seven games back on top, Turner has gone 15 for 32 with two doubles, two home runs, seven runs scored and five RBIs.
“There’s no secret that he enjoys the leadoff spot. So we have two guys that can really, that really embrace that role,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “With the absence of Mookie, Trea’s really stepped up. He’s got on base, he’s slugged and he’s creating havoc, creating situational opportunities. He’s playing great shortstop. He’s playing, right now, that type of MVP-caliber baseball.”
The Dodgers’ fourth consecutive win also came with a loss, however.
With one out in the eighth inning, veteran reliever Daniel Hudson’s left knee buckled when he delivered a pitch and pivoted the opposite way to try and chase a weak grounder off Ronald Acuña Jr.’s bat.
Hudson fell to the ground in obvious pain and had to be helped off the field by a trainer. Preliminary exams indicate a serious injury to the ACL – likely a season-ending injury for the 35-year-old reliever.
“It doesn’t look good from all indications,” Roberts said. “I just don’t see how it’s not the end of his season. So it’s potentially a huge loss for us.”
With Blake Treinen and Tommy Kahnle subtracted from the Dodgers’ bullpen, Hudson had stepped in as the steadiest hand in the late innings. Losing him makes pitching – both starting and relief – a must-get before the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
“Huddy’s a guy that we count on in a lot of different ways – on the field, one of the leaders in the clubhouse, always doing the right thing, saying the right thing and obviously with Blake down we’ve relied heavily on him in leverage spots,” Roberts said. “To not have him with us, there’s an exponential effect to our ballclub.”
That was a sour note on a night that began with a sellout crowd feting Freeman pregame in a ceremony that saw him receive his 2021 World Series championship ring.
When that was over, the Dodgers went to work trying to maintain the offensive momentum they built in a sweep of the woeful Cincinnati Reds.
Turner led off with a single and each of the Dodgers’ first four hitters against Braves starter Ian Anderson reached base. After a minute-long standing ovation, Freeman drew a walk – the first of three times he reached base against his former team (two walks and a single). An RBI single from Will Smith drove in Turner with the first run of the game. After Max Muncy walked, Justin Turner drove in another run with a sacrifice fly and the Dodgers sent Julio Urias to the mound with a lead.
Facing a Braves team that had won 18 of its first 21 games this month while averaging 6⅓ runs per game, Urias continued his own June surge.
He allowed just one hit in the first five innings, showing more life on his fastball than has been seen most of this season. Urias’ four-seam fastball averaged 93.4 mph – a jump from his season average of 92.6 mph – and got 12 of the 20 swings-and-misses he induced from the Braves.
“I feel like I’m feeling a lot better with my mechanics,” Urias said in Spanish. “We’re making all the necessary adjustments and I feel like I have the gas to get into the late innings and still maintain my velocity and I proved that today.”