Betts Hits MLB-Record 10th Leadoff Homer in First Half to Help Dodgers Rout Angels 10–5

LOS ANGELES—The Dodgers ended the first half of the season with a bang.

All-Star Mookie Betts hit his 10th leadoff homer—tying the most in the first half in major league history—and Los Angeles homered five times for the second straight game to beat the slumping Angels 10–5 on Saturday night, July 8.

“I think Mookie might be the only guy that wants to play through the break,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

The Dodgers head into the All-Star break a season-high 13 games over .500 with a record of 51–38, a half-game behind NL West-leading Arizona.

“We wanted to finish strong through the first half,” Roberts said. “Once we get going again, there’s another finish line at the end of October.”

The Angels dropped their season-high fifth straight to fall below .500 at 45–46. It was their 10th consecutive loss in the Freeway Series, the club’s longest-ever skid against the Dodgers. The Angels gave up 11 hits in an 11–4 loss Friday.

Angels All-Star Shohei Ohtani hit his major league-leading 32nd homer, a 433-foot, two-run blast in the seventh. He came up a double shy of hitting for the cycle. The two-way superstar had a single in the first and a triple, his MLB-leading sixth, in the third.

Betts’ 408-foot solo shot, his 26th of the season, came on the second pitch of the game by Reid Detmers. Betts tied the mark for first-half homers set by San Francisco’s Bobby Bonds in 1973.

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts (50), right, celebrates after his solo home run with Freddie Freeman (5) during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Los Angeles on July 8, 2023. (Kyusung Gong/AP Photo)

Betts set the Dodgers franchise record. His 46th career leadoff homer tied Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins for seventh on the career list.

“Seems like every swing he’s barreling up the ball,” fellow All-Star Freddie Freeman said. “Sometimes breaks can come at the wrong time, but I think Mookie found something in his swing and he’s been able to lock it in. For 30, 35 games now, it’s been that special.”

The Dodgers extended their lead to 6–0 with five more runs in the second.

Taking a page from Betts, Max Muncy led off with his 21st homer over the wall in center.

Betts was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs to get to Freeman, who hit a slicing double to left field. Luis Rengifo was playing deep and the ball dropped in, scoring Miguel Vargas and James Outman.

Rengifo started the game at second base and replaced injured left fielder Jo Adell in the second.

Will Smith followed with a single to left. Rengifo airmailed the throw to the plate for an error as Betts and Freeman scored and Smith took second.

Detmers (2–6) had a nightmarish outing on his 24th birthday. He hit Vargas, Muncy and Miguel Rojas, along with home-plate umpire Will Little. The left-hander gave up seven runs and six hits, struck out four and walked one.

Michael Grove (1–2) got the victory with six innings of relief after Alex Vesia pitched the first. Grove allowed four runs and six hits, struck out six and walked one.

“Just getting some runs early and then being able to get a shutdown inning is huge,” Grove said. “For them to keep piling them on as the game went on was awesome and just lets you be a little bit more loose and just attack guys.”

The Dodgers led 8-0 in the fourth on Freeman’s 17th homer and Muncy’s RBI single off José Soriano. J.D. Martinez went deep for his 22nd homer in the sixth off Chris Devenski. Pinch-hitter David Peralta homered with two outs in the eighth.

Trainer’s Room

Angels: Adell left the game after his first at-bat with left oblique discomfort. … INF-OF Brandon Drury (shoulder) had a cortisone shot to deal with inflammation and will be re-evaluated on Thursday. … INF Anthony Rendon (shin) was on the bench again. … OF Taylor Ward (tight groin) got the day off. … LHP Matt Moore (oblique) faced hitters in a bullpen session and will repeat it next week. … SS Zach Neto (oblique) will go to Arizona on Sunday to get more work in and then face live pitching again before rejoining the team Thursday.

Dodgers: It remains uncertain whether LHP Clayton Kershaw (shoulder) will return for the first road series after the All-Star break. … INF-OF Chris Taylor (knee) has been playing in Arizona and the team is optimistic he will rejoin them in New York when the season resumes.

Up Next

RHP Shohei Ohtani (7–4, 3.32) will start for the Angels against Houston on Friday in the opener of a nine-game homestand.

LHP Julio Urías (6–5, 4.76) gets the nod for the Dodgers at the New York Mets on Friday in the opener of a nine-game road trip.

By Beth Harris


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