Once thought to be one of baseball’s most disappointing teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers have surged into the NL West lead and are on the verge of their longest road winning streak in 58 years.
The Toronto Blue Jays still hold that distinction, as they’ll be attempting to avoid a seventh straight defeat in Wednesday night’s series finale.
Los Angeles was 12 games below .500 after a loss to San Diego on June 21, but it has since won 22 of 27 after rallying for a 10-9 victory Tuesday.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer while Andre Either and Mark Ellis also drove in three runs for the Dodgers (52-47), who have scored 33 runs over the last three games and hold a slim lead over Arizona atop the division.
“We’re starting to be able to throw some big innings together,” manager Don Mattingly said. “If you can get to the point where you don’t feel like you’re out of games, I think that’s important.”
A victory Wednesday would give the franchise its first 10-game winning streak away from home since the then-Brooklyn Dodgers won their first 11 road games in 1955.
Ricky Nolasco, who is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in three starts since being acquired from Miami on July 7, will be on the mound looking to help Los Angeles accomplish that feat.
Nolasco (6-9, 3.75 ERA), who gave up two runs in 5 1-3 innings of the Dodgers’ 3-2 win over Washington on Friday, was one of the few highly paid Marlins not sent to Toronto in a blockbuster trade in November that included former teammates Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio.
The right-hander’s only start versus Toronto came in 2009, though he’s had some experience against some of the current Blue Jays. Reyes is hitting .340 with three homers, a triple and double, while Melky Cabrera is 6 for 13 (.462) with a homer off Nolasco.
Cabrera went 0 for 4 to snap his seven-game hitting streak Tuesday as the slumping Blue Jays (45-54) have dropped the first five of their 10-game homestand.
“It doesn’t get any worse than that, considering where we’re at,” manager John Gibbons said.
Reyes hit a two-run homer and finished with a season-best three RBIs, but Toronto was unable to end its season-high skid despite holding a players-only meeting before the game.
“Maybe it sparks something, maybe they air some things out, maybe they feel they need to try and do some things different, whatever it might be,” Gibbons told the team’s official website earlier Tuesday. “If the results change, it was a good meeting. If the results don’t change, it wasn’t a good meeting. It’s that simple.”
Gibbons will turn to Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.84) as Toronto looks to get on track.
Rogers is 2-2 with a 3.62 ERA in nine starts this season after giving up four runs - all solo homers to match a career worst allowed - in 5 2-3 innings of Toronto’s 8-5 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday.
Gibbons, though, felt the right-hander pitched well otherwise.
“When he was on, he was dominating,” Gibbons said. “He never really got into trouble, it was just the solo home runs.”
Rogers hasn’t had much success against the Dodgers, going 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three starts while pitching for Colorado in 2010 and ’11.