By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer

Even though the Dodgers are World Champions this week was the first time they had a chance to play in front of a full house of home fans.  

Mookie Betts sparked the ‘Men in Blue’ with three hits including a homer to give the team the lead in the seventh inning in a 5-3 win over Philadelphia. The crowd of 52,024 was frenzied up at the former MVP hit. Since COVID began it’s the largest crowd to watch a league sporting event. 

This was the first day California restrictions were lifted on restaurants, bars and other venues. 

“It was a great feeling knowing they were finally cheering on my behalf,” said Betts. “I definitely soaked it all in while I could.” 

Betts appears to be recovering well as earlier in the season he had problems with his shoulder, forearm and back. He would have days off and do treatment but he appears to have got over it for now.  

“I’m trying to take it one day at a time, all it takes is a pitch or a swing, but I have been so in and out that it’s been so tough to find a rhythm’ he added.  

He’s had 3 homers in the last six games. He’s upped his average to .296 batting (16 for 54) in the last 12 games.  Julio Urias went 5 and 2/3 innings and gave up six hits and three runs 2 unearned. He also had an RBI double that was his fifth straight game with a hit. He’s batting 231. On the year. 

The Bullpen  was solid though short-handed. Victor Gonzales shut the door in the sixth inning, Phil Bickford did well, the Mark Fidrych look-a-like got walked the first two he faced and got out of the jam. Blake Treinan closed out and got his third save of the season. 

“It was a team win it really was” said Dodger Skipper Dave Roberts. “To just make a decision to want to take care of guys in the pen and not over use them and make sure you  don’t put them in harms way.  I felt good with Phil and the run of hitters he faced. He made pitches when he needed to.  

The Dodgers have won the last 8 of nine while sweeping the Pirates having won 14 straight over the Bucs and taking two of three from the Rangers followed by two in a row vs. the Phillies. They are 41-26 (at press time) 15 games over .500 the best they’ve been all year. 

Over the last 14 months Dodger Stadium has been a COVID-19 Vaccination site, a testing site and has served as a Polling place for voters. It’s a good feeling to get back got to baseball there.