By GREG BEACHAM | AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have reached the point in their latest roll when a five-run deficit and the early exit of a 20-game winner don't even seem like particularly daunting obstacles.
“We weren't going to be denied today,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I just had a feeling we were going to come out on top.”
Indeed, the Dodgers did it again Sunday — just as they did on nearly every day of their stellar homestand.
Freddie Freeman went 4 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs, and the top team in the National League rallied from a pair of huge early deficits for its seventh consecutive victory, 11-9 over the Chicago Cubs.
Trea Turner and Will Smith also drove in two runs apiece as Los Angeles finished 10-1 on a homestand for the first time since 1980 despite falling behind 5-0 in the first inning and 8-3 in the third. Gavin Lux reached base four times while Los Angeles surged from behind early and eventually held on to win its final home game before hosting Dodger Stadium's first All-Star Game in 42 years.
“This homestand, it's the best baseball we've played in the past couple of years,” Roberts said. “It's Dodger baseball.”
With a seventh straight win over the Cubs, the Dodgers swept their season series with Chicago for the first time in the venerable NL franchises' history. Los Angeles beat the Cubs for the 10th straight time overall, matching the longest winning streak in this rivalry since 1947, and swept a four-game series with Chicago at Chavez Ravine for the first time since 1965.
“We just put together good at-bats, one after the other,” Smith said. “We're playing well right now.”
P.J. Higgins hit his first career grand slam during Chicago’s five-run first inning, and David Bote had a three-run homer in the third to put the Cubs up big.
But Chicago's bullpen again failed to contain Los Angeles' powerhouse lineup, blowing a lead for the third time in four games. Chicago finished 2-5 on its road trip and dropped to 0-7 at Dodger Stadium since throwing a combined no-hitter here last July 24.
“We continue to grow and pull from some moments and assess where we could have been better,” manager David Ross said. “We'd been playing really good baseball up until this series, and we had a chance to win several of these games. We had some good moments, but bottom line, we've got to win baseball games.”
Turner’s RBI single put the Dodgers up 9-8 after a six-run third inning in which Los Angeles sent 11 batters to the plate. The inning was extended when Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom botched a simple throw to first on Mookie Betts’ two-out grounder, allowing two runs to score.
Shortly after Freeman was left off the NL All-Star team, he got his 11th homer of the season in the sixth off Anderson Espinoza. The five-time All-Star added an RBI single in the seventh for his third four-hit game since joining the Dodgers this season.
Nelson Velazquez homered off $30 million left-hander David Price on the first pitch of the eighth for Chicago, but Brusdar Graterol escaped a two-on, nobody-out jam to end the inning. Graterol also pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
Both starters were done early in a nearly four-hour game.
Julio Urías' four-start winning streak ended when he lasted just two innings, and he matched his previous season high in runs allowed after the first six Chicago batters. The former 20-game winner's ERA went from 2.57 to 3.01 while he equaled his shortest start of the season.
Drew Smyly yielded five hits and four runs in two-plus innings for Chicago during his first start since May 30. He spent the past month on the injured list with a right oblique strain.
Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford then struggled on his 27th birthday, giving up Bote's first homer of the season.
Cubs: 2B Nick Madrigal felt tightness in his groin during his rehab appearance for Triple-A Iowa. ... OF Jason Heyward (right knee inflammation) did light baseball activities.
Dodgers: LHP Andrew Heaney will throw a simulated game Tuesday on LA's road trip before taking a four-inning rehab assignment. He has pitched only once since April 17 due to shoulder inflammation.
Cubs: After a day off, Adrian Sampson (0-0, 2.91 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday at Wrigley Field against Baltimore to open a six-game homestand.
Dodgers: After a day off, Mitch White (1-1, 3.38 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday in St. Louis for a series opener against the Cardinals.
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