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Dodgers get late homers from Miguel Vargas, Shohei Ohtani to beat Brewers

Will Smith hits a two-run homer in the first inning, his fourth consecutive at-bat with an HR, but the Dodgers need Vargas and Ohtani to break a tie in the eighth in a 5-3 win

Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)
Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)
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  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is showered...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is showered with sunflower seeds after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers is showered with...

    Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers is showered with sunflower seeds after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting...

    Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates...

    Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit on...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit on the foot against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • First baseman Freddie Freeman #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

    First baseman Freddie Freeman #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers Tags out Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers at first base l in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates after hitting a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Right fielder Sal Frelick #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers can’t...

    Right fielder Sal Frelick #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers can’t reach a two run home run by Will Smith (not pictured) of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

    Starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

    Starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Right fielder Sal Frelick #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers can’t...

    Right fielder Sal Frelick #10 of the Milwaukee Brewers can’t reach a two run home run by Will Smith (not pictured) of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers steals second...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers steals second base as second baseman Brice Turang #12 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits for the throw in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

    Starting pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammates Freddie Freeman and Shohei Ohtani #17 after hitting a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Left fielder Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

    Left fielder Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Los Angeles Dodgers catches a drive by Rhys Hoskins (not pictured) of the Milwaukee Brewers in the second inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after hitting...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after hitting a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammate Freddie Freeman after hitting a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Left fielder Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

    Left fielder Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Los Angeles Dodgers grimaces after catching a drive by Rhys Hoskins (not pictured) of the Milwaukee Brewers as center fielder James Outman #33 looks on in the second inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds second...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers rounds second base after hitting a two run home run as Shohei Ohtani #17 scores on the play against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers steals second...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers steals second base as second baseman Brice Turang #12 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits for the throw in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Starting pitcher Freddy Peralta #51 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws...

    Starting pitcher Freddy Peralta #51 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws to the plate against the Los Angeles Dodger in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after striking out with bases loaded against the Milwaukee Brewers in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers steals second...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers steals second base as second baseman Brice Turang #12 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits for the throw in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with teammate Freddie Freeman after hitting a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives...

    Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers high fives teammates after hitting a two run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Relief pitcher Blake Treinen #49 of the Los Angeles Dodgers...

    Relief pitcher Blake Treinen #49 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws to the plate against the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting...

    Miguel Vargas of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Right fielder Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers can’t...

    Right fielder Christian Yelich #22 of the Milwaukee Brewers can’t reach a solo home run by Miguel Vargas (not pictured) of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers triples against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers workout at shortstop...

    Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers workout at shortstop prior to a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers workout at shortstop...

    Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers workout at shortstop prior to a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws in...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws in the outfield as athletic trainer Thomas Albert recored the speed prior to a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws in...

    Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws in the outfield as athletic trainer Thomas Albert recored the speed prior to a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

  • Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers workout at shortstop...

    Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers workout at shortstop prior to a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 6, 2024. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-ɫ̳/ SCNG)

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LOS ANGELES — Keeping Miguel Vargas out of the starting lineup is starting to look like a bad idea.

Vargas came off the bench to hit a go-ahead, pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning Saturday, helping to rescue a game that nearly got away from the Dodgers. Shohei Ohtani also homered in the eighth as the Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-3, on Saturday night.

“He was ready to hit coming off the bench and took a ball that was really in and kept it fair, put a good swing on it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Vargas’ homer. “Vargy, like I said, is just gaining more confidence each day. He’ll be in there tomorrow and he’s earning more opportunities and it’s good to see.”

The opportunities have been limited since Vargas was promoted from Triple-A in mid-May. He has started just 12 times since then. After playing him at third base in the minors and making him their every-day second baseman for the first half of last season, the Dodgers have apparently decided Vargas’ limited defensive ability is best kept in left field and he has played almost exclusively against left-handed pitching since he returned to the big leagues.

But he has made the most of those scattered at-bats, showing the skills that made him a top prospect on the way up the Dodgers’ minor-league system. He is 15 for 43 (.349) with three home runs, four doubles and a 1.049 OPS – numbers that beg to be in the lineup every day for a Dodgers’ team getting little production out of any number of spots in the bottom half of that order.

“I’ve been patient. I’ve been working on myself trying to get this type of opportunity. I’m grateful to have it and be successful,” Vargas said.

“A hundred percent it’s a hard job to do it. But at the end of the day, this is a team sport. That’s why we do it. That’s all I can control is to worry about myself and be ready when the moments come.”

Roberts acknowledged that Vargas looks like a different player than the first half of last season when hand injuries contributed to a .195 batting average at midseason.

“He’s certainly working hard. He had success in Triple-A,” Roberts said. “I think this is his second time around where I think he’s just slowed down. I think there’s just more clarity.

“Everyone wants to be out there, I understand that. But only eight guys can play, nine guys can play. He’s continuing to do his work and he’s just focusing on, when he gets the opportunity, to perform. I just think his mechanics are in a good spot, he’s in a good spot physically, in his head. It’s really fun to see that he’s coming of age. I think it’s certainly sustainable.”

The Dodgers led for most of the game after a three-run first inning, featuring Will Smith’s fourth consecutive home run. But Evan Phillips gave up a game-tying home run to Christian Yelich in the top of the eighth.

The Dodgers saw that eighth-inning homer and raised them one. In fact, they have hit seven home runs in the first two games of this series. Vargas has hit two of them and Smith four.

A Will Smith hasn’t had such a good weekend since “Men In Black” opened.

The Dodgers catcher made it home runs in four consecutive at-bats with his two-run home run in the first inning Saturday,

Smith had just two home runs in 99 plate appearances before Friday but hit three in the series opener against the Brewers then made it four in six plate appearances (he walked twice Friday) with another opposite-field shot in the first inning Saturday. He hit a 367-foot drive in his second at-bat – but it was caught by Brewers centerfielder Blake Perkins just short of the warning track.

Smith is only the third Dodger to hit home runs in four consecutive at-bats, joining  Adrian Gonzalez who did it over a two-game span in April 2015 and Shawn Green who had four home runs in a game against the Brewers on May 23, 2002.

“I mean, I don’t know. Swing is the same,” Smith said when asked to explain his power surge. “Just stick to my approach and barrel the ball in the air. I’m not doing anything differently or anything. It’s kind of just happening.”

Smith’s home run Saturday off Brewers starter Freddy Peralta followed a walk of Ohtani. Freddie Freeman and Teoscar Hernandez followed Smith with singles and a third run scored on a fielder’s choice by Andy Pages

After striking out in 15 of 29 at-bats before Saturday, Ohtani reached base five times on two walks, a hit by pitch, a 101-mph laser off the right-center field wall for a triple in the sixth and his National League-leading 28th home run of the season.

But the Dodgers stranded him three times including after the two-out triple and in the fourth inning when his walk loaded the bases with one out. Smith struck out to end an 11-pitch at-bat and Freeman grounded out – part of an 0-for-7 day with runners in scoring position by Dodgers hitters.

That left a one-run lead to protect most of the day. Starter James Paxton gave up a first-inning run on a two-out RBI single by Willy Adames and  solo home run to Rhys Hoskins in the fourth then handed the ball to the bullpen after the fifth inning.

Even that modest length was an improvement for the Dodgers. Tyler Glasnow went six innings in Friday’s win, giving the Dodgers back-to-back starts of five innings or more for the first time since Glasnow and Paxton also did it on June 22-23.

“Paxton was fine,” Roberts said. “I thought he mixed better. I thought the command was better.”

The Dodgers’ bullpen – which has covered 21⅔ innings over the first five games of this homestand – was left to walk the one-run tightrope for the final four innings. Called on to face the middle of the Brewers’ lineup in the eighth rather than close it out in the ninth, Phillips left a 2-and-2 slider over the heart of the plate and Yelich tied the score.

But Vargas came off the bench in the bottom of the inning and lofted a fly ball that came down on the padding atop the left field wall, just eluding Yelich’s reach. Two batters later, Ohtani crushed a 430-foot home run to make it a two-run lead.

“I wasn’t seeing very well where the ball was going,” Vargas said. “But when I heard the fans yelling and screaming I knew.”

Originally Published:

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