By JOE REEDY
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Freddie Freeman is dialed in at the right time as the Los Angeles Dodgers picked up a much-needed series sweep.
The All-Star first baseman had three hits and continued his torrid pace at the plate Thursday night as the Dodgers beat the Oakland Athletics 8-2.
Freeman, second in the majors with a .341 batting average, has gone 32 for 63 (.508) since July 17. He hit two doubles, extending his major league-lead to 40, before leading off the eighth with a solo shot to right field for his 22nd homer of the season.
“He has a calmness and peace. He’s playing MVP-caliber baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Whether it is hitting a double the other way vs. a lefty, a home run to the pull side, making a great play defensively. I can’t praise him enough.”
Miguel Rojas and Amed Rosario both drove in two runs as the Dodgers completed their first-three game sweep over the Athletics. They have gone 11-2 against the AL West this season.
Julio Urías (8-6) bounced back with five scoreless innings after allowing 11 runs in 11 innings in his previous two starts. Emmet Sheehan went the last four innings for his first major-league save.
Despite the sweep, Los Angeles (62-45) has only a 2 1/2 game lead over San Francisco before a pivotal four-game series at San Diego. The Giants have kept pace with their own sweep over Arizona.
“They’ve got a young team over there, guys getting their feet wet in the big leagues. And obviously, we got to take care of business when we play those guys and we were able to do that,” Freeman said of sweeping the Athletics. “This time we were able to complete the sweep which was good for us. Hopefully we can carry the momentum over to the weekend.”
Oakland (30-80) is only the third team since 1960 to drop at least 80 of their first 110 games. The 2003 Detroit Tigers and 1962 New York Mets both went 29-81.
Rookies Zack Gelof and Tyler Soderstrom homered for the Athletics, who have dropped four straight and seven of their last nine.
JP Sears (2-8) took the loss after allowing two runs in five innings.
“These young kids, they’ve come up together. It is a good sign for them to homer in a game together,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “Overall to see JP compete like he did and walk off the mound after giving up only two in five innings is another good sign.”
Los Angeles outscored Oakland 25-6 and had 20 extra-base hits in the series, including six doubles in the finale.
“I’m just trying to be a good hitter,” Freeman said. “It’s one of those times where you’re not fouling off pitches you are supposed to hit. They go forward and find grass.”
Rojas drove in the first two Dodgers’ runs on doubles to left field in the second and third innings.
After Gelof’s solo shot to left got Oakland within a run, Los Angeles broke it open with four in the sixth off Lucas Erceg. Rosario had a two-run double to left while Will Smith and David Peralta added RBI base hits.
Soderstrom hit his first big-league homer in the eighth inning before the Dodgers responded in the home half on Freeman’s solo shot and Chris Taylor’s RBI single.
Dodgers: 1B Max Muncy left the game in the sixth inning due to a bruised left wrist. He was hit by a pitch in the fifth. Roberts said after the game X-Rays came up negative. … DH J.D. Martinez missed his third straight game due to left hamstring tightness, but Roberts said Martinez will face live pitching during batting practice on Friday in San Diego and that he could return to the lineup on Saturday. … LHP Clayton Kershaw (left shoulder tightness) threw four innings in a simulated game on Thursday. He will have a bullpen session in a couple days, and if all goes well he could return to the rotation next week.
The Athletics recalled INF Jonah Bride for the third time this season and selected the contract of RHP Zach Neal. INF Tyler Wade was designated for assignment and LHP Hogan Harris was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Athletics: Have a rare Friday off before the Bay Bridge rivalry series resumes against the San Francisco Giants. A starter has not been named for Saturday’s game in Oakland.
Dodgers: RHP Bobby Miller (6-2, 4.37 ERA) faces the Padres for the first time as a four-game series begins in San Diego.
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