LOS ANGELES (AP) — After muddling their way through the first two months of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are hitting their stride in June.
Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and Yasiel Puig homered off ageless wonder Bartolo Colon, and the defending NL champions broke loose for seven runs in the fourth inning to rout the last-place Texas Rangers 12-5 on Tuesday night and improve to 8-2 this month.
Los Angeles moved two games above .500 for the first time this season.
“Winning is contagious,” said Cody Bellinger, who reached base safely in four of five plate appearances. “When you’re winning, everything comes together.”
The Dodgers pounded out 16 hits in taking their second straight game.
“We’re taking a lot of good swings,” manager Dave Roberts said.
Colon, the 45-year-old right-hander, has allowed 19 homers this season. He recorded his 2,500th career strikeout against Muncy in the first.
Colon (3-4) got tagged for season highs in runs (eight) and hits (nine) over 3 1/3 innings after tossing at least five innings in 10 of 11 starts. He was trying to break a tie with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for most wins by a Dominican-born pitcher — they both have 243.
“They took advantage of me. They got heated up good,” Colon said through a translator. “That’s what happened, so I couldn’t do (anything). They were very aggressive and I couldn’t hold them.”
The Rangers lost their season high-tying fifth in a row in their first visit to Dodger Stadium since 2015. They fell to 14-19 on the road, having lost four of their last five.
Texas manager Jeff Banister liked Colon’s velocity early on before watching it tail off.
“Couldn’t get the sinker where he wanted it to. It seemed like all pitches were getting hit pretty good,” he said. “Fastball was elevated and couldn’t land the off-speed stuff down in the strike zone where he wanted to.”
Edward Paredes (1-0) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief.
Daniel Corcino pitched three innings for his first career save, but stumbled with two outs in the ninth when he allowed two runs. Jurickson Profar had an RBI single and Delino DeShields scored on a throwing error by Puig in right field.
Pederson’s two-run homer in the second — his seventh in eight games — gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead after Puig drove in their first run with a two-out double.
Pederson notched his fourth three-hit game of the season. He hit just one homer in the first 53 games, and now has seven in his last eight games since June 2.
“What I used to do in the past is worry about the results,” he said. “Used to get real frustrated with not getting results. Instead, I’m just sticking to the process. I’ve been hitting some balls hard on the ground. Now I’m able to get some balls in the air and do some damage.”
Muncy hit his team-leading 13th homer, going deep in his fourth straight game, to make it 4-2 in the third. He made his first start of the season at second base.
The Dodgers batted around in the fourth, with Puig powering a two-run homer to get the scoring started. Chris Taylor added an RBI single and scored on an error by Profar at shortstop. Bellinger had an RBI double and Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run single in extending their lead to 11-2.
Muncy’s groundout in the fifth made it 12-3.
Caleb Ferguson allowed two runs and five hits in four innings during his second major league start for the Dodgers after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day. The left-hander struck out three and walked two.
Adrian Beltre had an RBI single for the Rangers, and Shin-Soo Choo homered leading off the fifth.
Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus will be the designated hitter and play seven innings in the second game of a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco on Wednesday.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler went on the 10-day DL with a right rib microfracture, an injury sustained when he was hit by a 108 mph line drive by Colorado’s Trevor Story on May 21. … LHP Clayton Kershaw (lower back strain) threw a bullpen, and a simulated game will occur soon. “He’s reassured me he feels great,” Roberts said. … LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left groin strain) threw a bullpen.
HE SAID IT
“I had to face him and get hits off him when he was a lot better.” — Roberts on Colon.
STRUGGLING AGAINST LA
Colon has never fared well against the Dodgers. He is 2-7 with a 6.12 ERA in 11 career starts. He’s struck out 39 and walked 10. His eight runs were the most he’s allowed since June 5, 2017, when he gave up eight against the Phillies over 3 2/3 innings.
BELTRE AND ICHIRO
With two hits, Beltre tied Ichiro Suzuki for 21st place on the career list at 3,089.
LHP Cole Hamels (3-6, 3.86 ERA) goes for the Rangers in the series finale, having allowed 17 home runs, second-most in the majors. RHP Kenta Maeda (4-4, 3.61) makes his first start since May 29 after being on the DL with a right hip strain. He’s never faced Texas.