James Outman hits grand slam as Dodgers beat Cubs 6-2
CHICAGO - James Outman looked back at the dugout, clapped and yelled as he rounded first base.
It was another big swing on a big night for the impressive rookie.
Outman hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the ninth inning for his second homer of the game, and the Los Angeles Dodgers cooled off the Chicago Cubs with a 6-2 victory on Thursday.
"I definitely think that was the biggest situation of my career so far," Outman said. "Yeah, it was cool. It was really cool."
Max Muncy also homered for the banged-up Dodgers, who had dropped three of four. David Peralta and Miguel Vargas each had two hits in the opener of a four-game series.
It was the first career grand slam and multihomer game for the 25-year-old Outman. The outfielder also threw out a runner at the plate in his 24th big league appearance.
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"He just keeps getting better, which is scary," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said.
Chicago had won a season-high four straight. Cody Bellinger homered against his former team for the second time this season, but Michael Fulmer (0-2) struggled with his location in the ninth.
With runners on first and second and one out, pinch-hitter Jason Heyward reached on a nine-pitch walk after falling behind 1-2 in the count. Outman then drove a full-count pitch deep to right for his fifth homer of the season.
It was Heyward's first game at Wrigley Field since he was released by the Cubs in November.
"I don’t know what’s going on, but I better figure it out pretty damn quick," said Fulmer, who has allowed at least one run in three of his last six outings.
Five LA relievers combined for six innings of one-hit ball after Michael Grove departed with a right groin strain. Caleb Ferguson (1-0) got three outs for the win.
Roberts said Grove is going to be placed on the injured list. He likely will get some testing done on Friday.
"They just didn't want to take any chances," Grove said. "It's nothing crazy. Just a little groin strain."
Javier Assad pitched three innings of two-run ball in his first start of the season for Chicago. Assad was brought up from Triple-A Iowa after right-hander Jameson Taillon went on the 15-day injured list with a left groin strain.
The Cubs tied it at 2 when Nico Hoerner grounded a one-out single into right field in the fourth. Trey Mancini also tried to score on the play, but he was cut down at the plate on a great throw by Outman. Dansby Swanson then walked before Phil Bickford retired Ian Happ on a bouncer to second.
The Dodgers activated outfielder Mookie Betts from the paternity list and recalled right-hander Andre Jackson from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Right-hander Evan Phillips was placed on the paternity list, and infielder Yonny Hernández was optioned to the team’s top farm club. Betts’ wife gave birth to their second child Tuesday.
Betts had a pinch-hit single in the seventh, and then stayed in the game at shortstop. It was his first career appearance at the position. He fielded a grounder up the middle in the eighth and started a nice double play.
"A lot of fun," Betts said. "That was like a dream come true."
Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (sprained left ankle) struck out seven in three-plus innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Roberts said Gonsolin is part of the conversation when it comes to replacing Grove in the rotation. ... INF Chris Taylor tested his sore left side on the field before the game. ... Roberts said he is hoping to get C Will Smith back at some point during the team’s next series at Pittsburgh. Smith was placed on the seven-day concussion IL on Sunday.
Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (shoulder strain) threw a bullpen session at the team's facility in Arizona. He is slated to pitch in an extended spring game on Saturday. "He's coming. I know he feels good," manager David Ross said.
Left-handers Julio Urías (3-1, 1.90 ERA) and Drew Smyly (1-1, 4.70 ERA) start on Friday afternoon. Smyly pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a 3-2 victory over Urías and the Dodgers on Sunday. Urías was charged with two earned runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.