By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer     

As the 2022 MLB season continues the L.A. Dodgers picked right up where the mid-summers classic gave nearly everyone a break.     

They began the second half with a four-game sweep over longtime rival San Francisco. In the series finale the “Men in Blue” were clicking on all cylinders as Jake Lamb batted fourth for Will Smith who had a scheduled day off. Gavin Lux batted fifth for the first time all season was followed by Max Muncy. Trayce Thompson has been clutch since his return to the team  in the seventh slot.     

With the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh Freddy Freeman ripped a slicing double to left that faked the heck out of the Giants Yermin Mercedes. Lamb then hit a ground ruled double in to the right field seats putting the Dodgers up 5-4.     

Lux then singled to center. Muncy hit into a fielder’s choice. But Mr. ‘Clutch’ Thompson doubled to right center giving the Dodgers a 7-4 lead. The bullpen had 4 2/3 scoreless innings on the day.   

 The 6-3, 220-pound Thompson came to the team by way of trade with Detroit. He was supposed to fill in for the injured Mookie Betts. But Chris Taylor (foot) went down the veteran was ready for the everyday role.  

 Thompson has four multi-hit games with a homer, a triple and a pair of doubles in that span. He’s up to a .262 with three long balls, nine runs scored and a stolen base in 25 games with the Dodgers. He’s got the starting role in left field until Taylor returns.   

The series opened as Freddy Freeman homered in the first. Thompson had an RBI double in the second.   

In the third Justin Turner doubled to right scoring Freeman and Trea Turner. Then Hanser Alberto doubled in Turner giving L.A. a 5-0 lead.   

The game changed for the Giants in the seventh as Evan Longoria homered off of Evan Phillips to make it 5-1. A few batters later Darin Ruf came up with the bases loaded and smacked a 390-foot homer to left center to tie the game at five.   

In the bottom of the eight trailing 6-5 Gavin Lux doubled to left. He then scored as Thompson legged out a triple making it 6-6. Cody Bellinger followed with a walk. Then it was Mookie Betts launching a 406 shot to left field giving the Dodgers a 9-6 lead in front of 53,165 the largest home crowd of the season. It was the former MVP 21 first of the season.  

Mitch White had thrown six plus inning of no-hit ball. He threw 82 pitches and walked just two during the outing. Greg Kimbrel came in and got his 16th save in 19 opportunities.  

In game two it was 1-1 in the eight when Freeman singled to center, then went to second on a wild pitch. Muncy reached on a fielding error and Lamb was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  

Bellinger stepped up with two outs and had a 0-2 count. 0-2 count he went “Uptown” with a 383-     foot blast over the right field fence. ”Not gonna lie, it feels pretty good,” said the former MVP. He had been 0-3 for the night and just batting over two hundred (.206).  

“He’s been grinding all year,” said Dodger skipper Dave Roberts.  “So when you have those moments you’ve got to enjoy them.” It was Bellie’s seventh career slam.   

Tyler Anderson had gone six innings given up just a run and help lower the teams ERA to a MLB best 2.71. Alex Vesia (2-0) got the win.  

The following day the stars aligned as Betts, Freeman and Trea Turner all homered in a 4-2 win over the Giants. It was the first time the trio homered in the same game this season. 

Betts homer was his 200th of his career. He’s just the 20th active player to reach the mark. When asked is there any significance to the milestone. “Not at all,” said the former MVP. “We won the game and that’s all that matters.” 

Julio Urias (9-6) got the win tossing six scoreless innings while giving up two hits and walking two. David Price got the save in front of 47,749. 

“I just think were playing good baseball,” said Roberts. “When we can do that consistently with what we have you win a lot of ballgames.”  

ADD DODGERS: Freddy Freeman has been reliable having only missed seven games in the last five season. He’s batting .322, with 63 RBI’s and 15 homers. The DODGERS (at Press time) are 63-31 record including 17-3 in July. They have an 11.5 game lead over San Diego and 16.5 over the Giants.