LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers got a good start from one of the pitchers at the struggling back of their rotation and beat the New York Mets 6-2 Friday night to keep their lead over the San Francisco Giants at 3½ games.
How it happened: The jokes at Dan Haren's expense were flying fast and furious on Twitter after Curtis Granderson homered on the third pitch of the game. The home run was the 25th Haren has given up this season and it seemed as if Haren would have another rough first inning. He didn't. He got through the rest of the inning quickly and barely got into trouble after that, pitching seven strong innings and giving up only three hits to go with six strikeouts. Haren (11-10) has been strong in three of his past four outings, a huge boost to a rotation that has been battered by injuries.
The Dodgers remain stuck in a rut offensively, but Dee Gordon (3-for-4, RBI) and Justin Turner (2-for-3) helped scrape together just enough to win. It also helped that the Mets' infield played atrocious defense, committing four errors.
Hits: If you lower the parameters to 250 plate appearances, Turner is third in the National League in batting average (.318). According to Baseball Reference's WAR, he is the second-most valuable Dodger position player after Yasiel Puig and the fourth-most valuable Dodger overall behind Puig, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. So, yeah, it looks as though Turner was a good signing, especially when you consider it was a minor league deal right before spring training. His old team, the Mets, got a good look at what they lost when they non-tendered him last fall.
Misses: The Dodgers have lacked oomph at home, particularly on this homestand. The latest reason is that the middle of their order has been in a collective funk. Exhibits A and B are Adrian Gonzalez (4-for-24) and Matt Kemp (4-for-22), batting .174 collectively on this homestand. Gonzalez had one tough-luck at-bat, lining to the shortstop, but he also hit a harmless roller with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning. He hit another ground ball in the seventh with runners on, but shortstop Wilmer Flores threw it away for his second error of the game. Kemp may have broken out of his slump with a two-run double the same inning.
Stat of the game: Haren twice flubbed bunt attempts. He hit one too hard and grounded into a double play in the third inning, then he missed a squeeze attempt and left Turner out to dry between home and third. On the other hand, he had an RBI single. Dodgers pitchers have 13 RBIs and Haren has five of them.
Up next: The series continues Saturday at 6:05 p.m. with Zack Greinke (12-8, 2.75 ERA) pitching and testing his sore right elbow against the Mets' Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.87), who will come off the disabled list (shoulder) to make the start.