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CHICAGO (AP) — Max Muncy broke open the game with a three-run homer in the sixth inning after White Sox manager Tony La Russa ordered an intentional walk to Trea Turner with a 1-2 count, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Chicago 11-9 Thursday.
Muncy had five RBIs in his return after missing 11 games with left elbow inflammation. He entered hitting .150 to Turner’s .303.
“The baseball mind in me gets it,” Muncy said. “Obviously, my year has sucked up to this point. Trea’s been really good.”
Los Angeles trailed 4-0 before a six-run fifth and took a 7-5 lead when Freddie Freeman hit an RBI single in the sixth off Bennett Sousa. a 27-year-old rookie left-hander.
Sousa bounced an 0-2 slider for a wild pitch that allowed Freeman to take second. Wanting to set up a left-on-left matchup, La Russa ordered the intentional walk to the right-handed-hitting Turner, who had singled in a run in the fifth.
“He’s got two strikes, Tony!” a fan yelled.
“I was just confused,” Turner said. “I didn’t know if I should go to first or not, but I guess they liked the matchup.”
Muncy, whose two-run double off Dylan Cease put the Dodgers ahead 5-4 in the fifth, worked the count to 2-2 and sliced a slider to the opposite field and into the left-field seats, his fourth home run this season.
“Is there some question about whether that was good move or not?” said La Russa, a 77-year old Hall of Famer. “Do you know what (Turner) hits against left-handed pitching with 0-1 or two strikes? Do you know what Muncy hits with two strikes against a left-handed pitcher? Is that really a question? We had an open base and Muncy happened to be the guy behind him and that’s a better matchup. That wasn’t a tough call.”
Chicago closed with two runs against Daniel Hudson, who needed 35 pitches to get though the ninth. With two on and one out, Yasmani Grandal popped out, and pinch- hitter Gavin Sheets followed with a strikeout.
Tyler Anderson was seeking to become the major leagues’ first eight-game winner but allowed four runs, four hits and three walks in three-plus innings in his shortest start this season. The White Sox stopped Anderson’s string of scoreless innings at 28.
“Starting with Tyler, it was a grind,” Dodgers manager David Roberts said. “They were taking long at-bats and getting his pitch count up.”