Turner helps Dodgers beat Cubs 5-2
CHICAGO (AP) — Justin Turner had the best season of his career last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and then he kept working on his swing over the winter.
All that hard work is paying off.
Turner and Adrian Gonzalez homered, and Los Angeles snapped Chicago’s four-game win streak with a 5-2 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday night.
“Justin’s been that guy that I’ve been able to put in all different spots in the order, play in a number of spots in the field, use him in different ways,” manager Don Mattingly said. “So he’s a valuable piece for us, that’s for sure.”
Gonzalez connected for a leadoff drive in the second and Turner belted a three-run shot in the third, helping Los Angeles bounce back after it scored just two runs in the first two games of the four-game series. Joc Pederson added an RBI single in the eighth for the NL West leaders, who had lost four of five overall.
Turner was let go by the Mets in December 2013, and then signed a minor league deal with Los Angeles. He set career highs with seven homers and a .340 batting average in 109 games last year, and the drive against the Cubs was his fourth in the last six games and No. 10 on the season.
“I just kept working on the mechanics of my swing over the offseason and progressing and trying to get into the best hitting position I could,” Turner said, “and for whatever reason, the ball seems to be flying I think for everyone this year, not just myself.”
J.P. Howell (3-1) replaced Mike Bolsinger with two out in the fifth and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. Kenley Jansen got three outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.
Addison Russell had two hits and drove in a run for Chicago, which had won five of seven. The Cubs finished with nine hits, but left eight runners on base.
“We had opportunities,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We had guys out there, the right guys hitting, but it just did not want to play.”
Russell’s RBI double got Chicago on the board in the fifth, and the rookie came around to score when Anthony Rizzo bounced into a double play. Bolsinger then walked Kris Bryant before Howell struck out Miguel Montero for the final out.
“The win’s important,” Bolsinger said. “I don’t care if it’s next to my name or not.”
Bolsinger allowed six hits and walked two while throwing 87 pitches, 54 for strikes. The Chicago native also doubled over the head of center fielder Matt Szczur in the third and scored on Turner’s two-out drive to left-center for his 10th homer.
Kyle Hendricks (2-4) lasted just five innings for Chicago. He hasn’t recorded an out in the sixth in any of his last four starts.
“I’m not putting enough balls where I want them to go,” Hendricks said. “I’m just not making enough good pitches, and these hitters, any mistakes you make are gonna get hit.”
WHAT A RELIEF
Howell hasn’t allowed an earned run in 19 2/3 innings over his last 24 appearances. Jansen has allowed just one earned run in 13 2/3 innings this season for a microscopic 0.66 ERA.
Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig was scratched because of an open callous on his left hand. Alex Guerrero replaced Puig in the fifth slot in the lineup, and Andre Ethier moved from left to right field. ... RHP Brandon League (right shoulder impingement) pitched two innings in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Oklahoma City. “We’ll see how he comes out tomorrow,” Mattingly said.
Cubs: CF Dexter Fowler (sprained left ankle) was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day. He grounded out as a pinch hitter in the sixth. ... LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (cramping in the back of his left arm) played catch again, and manager Joe Maddon said he is still experiencing some soreness. “We’re not prepared yet to say yes or no on the next start,” Maddon said. “We’re going to wait probably just a little while longer to evaluate all that.” ... RHP Jacob Turner (shoulder inflammation) was shut down after his right elbow “flared up,” according to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.
Cubs LHP Jon Lester (4-5, 3.80 ERA) goes for his first win since May 16 in the series finale on Thursday afternoon. Lester, who signed a $155 million, six-year contract with Chicago over the winter, is 0-3 with a 3.93 ERA in his last six starts. The Dodgers counter with RHP Carlos Frias (4-5, 4.68 ERA), who is 0-3 with a 5.25 ERA in four June starts.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap