By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — All-Stars Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman put on a show early, then took the rest of the night off.
Betts launched a 436-foot shot — his longest with the Dodgers — into the left-field pavilion off Hogan Harris (2-6) for his 70th RBI in the second, when Los Angeles scored four runs to lead 7-0. Betts doubled leading off the first and struck out before sitting down for good in the top of the fourth.
Freeman hit his major league-leading 37th and 38th doubles and singled. He scored twice and drove in another run before being pulled in the seventh. He was 4 for 5 in a 7-3 win in the series opener.
Although Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. is the favorite for NL MVP, Betts and Freeman are making their cases, too.
“He’s definitely in the MVP conversation,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Freeman, “and Mookie is not that far behind him.”
Tony Gonsolin (6-4) allowed one run and five hits over five innings in his first career appearance against Oakland. The right-hander struck out three and walked two after laboring in his last outing.
“Really good defense,” Gonsolin said of his teammates, who turned two double plays. “Felt like I was throwing more strikes, which was great.”
Miguel Rojas extended the lead to 8-1 in the third with his first homer since June 26, 2022, for Miami, earning the silent treatment from his teammates in the dugout. Jason Heyward, who replaced Betts, homered on the first pitch from Kirby Snead in the sixth.
Rojas had his home run ball resting in his locker after the game.
“Our hitting coach has been working a lot of hours with me,” he said. “I expect a lot from me, at least to be more productive on a daily basis. If I can get myself going these last two months, it’s going to be important for us.”
In the second, Freeman scored on Will Smith’s double. Amed Rosario followed and went deep on the first pitch for his fourth homer overall this season and first with the Dodgers since being traded by Cleveland last week.
The A’s have lost six of eight and dropped a season-worst 49 games under .500.
“These are games we expect to win,” Roberts said. “We’re taking care of business and that’s the sign of a very good ballclub.”
It’s the first time the A’s have been that far below since finishing the 1979 season 54 games under at 54-108. They are on pace to finish 45-117, which would tie the franchise record for losses set by the 1916 Philadelphia A’s.
For the second straight night, there were chants of “Sell the team” in the top of the fifth. A’s supporters had urged Dodgers fans via social media to call out owner John Fisher, who wants to move the team to Las Vegas and end the club’s 55-year run in the Bay Area.
“It’s a very good fan base, a very loyal fan base,” Roberts said. “They’re disgruntled and they have the right to voice their opinions.”
The Dodgers led 3-0 in the first. Freeman’s RBI single scored Betts. Freeman scored on Chris Taylor’s infield hit with the bases loaded. James Outman grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Smith.
The A’s got the leadoff hitter aboard in the first four innings, but only had a solo homer from Shea Langeliers in the third to show for it.
Harris lost his sixth in a row, giving up a season-worst eight runs and nine hits over three innings. The left-hander struck out two and walked three.
Tony Kemp made a spectacular effort on a foul ball off Freeman’s bat in the sixth. He nearly went all the way over the lower wall in left field but was held up by fans in the front row. A dejected Kemp walked slowly back to his spot as the crowd applauded him. He was replaced in the seventh.
Dodgers: DH J.D. Martinez will go through a full workout Thursday and might be available for the series finale. “It’s hard to pinpoint, but the epicenter of this is the back and manifesting itself in the hamstrings and groin,” Roberts said.
Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully died a year ago Wednesday at age 94. The grounds crew raked the letters V-I-N in the dirt before grooming the infield ahead of the game.
Scully was on the mind of fans, some of whom wore jerseys with his name on the back and watched the re-airing of a TV segment about his career on the videoboards. Dodgers broadcasters Rick Monday and Charley Steiner recalled their years of memories with Scully during the game’s radio call.
Athletics: LHP JP Sears (2-7, 4.09 ERA) makes his team-leading 21st start in the series finale. He’ll face the Dodgers for the first time in his career. He is 2-1 with a 2.94 ERA in six interleague starts.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urías (7-6, 4.98) has been dealing with an issue on the index finger of his pitching hand that caused his start to be pushed back two days.
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