LOS ANGELES — The home-run derby came to Dodger Stadium early.
The Cubs and Dodgers scored most of their runs via the long ball Thursday as the Cubs fell 5-3.
“You could see these guys grind to the end,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “That’s something that’s ... stood out about this group.”
All-Star banners graced the roads outside of the stadium, and a sign looked down on right field, serving as reminders that Dodger Stadium is set to host All-Star festivities in less than two weeks.
On Thursday, Mookie Betts showed one reason he’s an All-Star-ballot finalist, book-ending the Dodgers’ scoring with leadoff home runs in the first and eighth innings.
The Dodgers hit two more home runs off Cubs starter Mark Leiter Jr. for a total of three. Gavin Lux drove a two-run shot to right in the second inning, and Justin Turner got ahold of a high heater for a solo homer in the fourth.
The Cubs responded in the fifth. Rookie Christopher Morel cut the Dodgers’ lead in half with a two-run home run of his own.
But Betts wasn’t finished.
The Cubs again fought back in the ninth against Dodgers closer and former Cub Craig Kimbrel. Ian Happ started the rally with a two-out single.
“Just trying to be on the heater and trying to keep him in the zone,” Happ said. “He’s so dominant at the top of the zone, trying to push him down. He made good pitches there and got me to a two-strike count, and I was just able to fight something off.”
Seiya Suzuki drove in Happ with a double for the first RBI of the game that didn’t come on a homer.
With runners on first and third, lefty Alex Vesia replaced Kimbrel and struck out pinch hitter Nelson Velázquez to end the game.