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James Outman hits grand slam to propel Dodgers to 7-3 victory over Twins

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Dodgers

May 17, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder James Outman (33) runs after hitting a grand slam home run against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES - James Outman has struggled since being named the National League’s Rookie of the Month in April. The Dodgers outfielder though showed signs of possibly getting back to his earlier form with a big game.

The outfielder hit a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning as the Dodgers rallied for a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

“It felt good to finally come through in a big spot,” Outman said. “I’m glad that we got the go-ahead run right there in that situation. The grand slam was kind of like the cherry on top.”

Byron Buxton and Joey Gallo homered for the Twins, who dropped two of the three in a matchup of division leaders.

The Dodgers trailed 3-2 in the seventh before scoring five runs all with two outs. Will Smith tied it after Emilio Pagan walked Miguel Vargas with the bases loaded and Outman put them on top when he drove a first-pitch fastball over the wall in center. It was the rookie outfielder’s ninth home run of the season and second career grand slam.

Outman had two hits in the game. He broke out of an 0-for-13 slump with a hit in the fourth inning.

Outman was batting .289 at the end of April but has had a rough May. He came into the game not only hitless in his last five games, but was 5 for 33 in his last 11.

“It was no secret I was grinding. My teammates were keeping me positive and centered,” he said.

José De León (0-1) took the loss after he allowed two-out base hits to Smith and Max Muncy in the seventh.

Brusdar Graterol (2-1) got the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings in what was largely a bullpen game for the Dodgers. Starter Dustin May left after the first inning due to right elbow pain. May had Tommy John Surgery two years ago.

Manager Dave Roberts said after the game that May had a flexor pronator strain and will be going on the injured list. He also admitted that his feelings were a little conflicted after the game.

“Still excited that we won the game and a series against a really good ballclub, but I’m also thinking about Dustin right now,” he said.

May wasn’t the only one injured as there was attrition on both teams. Minnesota center fielder Nick Gordon fractured his right shin after he a fouled a pitch off his leg in the fifth inning. Second baseman Jorge Polanco left in the seventh due to a hamstring strain and Gallo suffered a bruised shin after taking a foul ball of his leg in the ninth.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Gordon will be out at least a month. Gordon finished his at-bat, but struck out.

“There’s almost nothing that can take them out of the game, and sometimes we have to step in and take them out,” Baldelli said. “I wish Nick didn’t have to take that last swing, knowing now that his leg was fractured. Doesn’t look like it’s displaced, or he further hurt himself talking that extra swing, but I’ll bet it was painful as hell.”

Mookie Betts had two hits and factored in the Dodgers’ first two runs. He hit his first triple of the season to lead off the third and scored on Freddie Freeman’s sacrifice fly.

After Buxton’s homer tied it, the Dodgers answered back in the fourth when Betts drove in Outman on a two-out base hit to center.

Gallo evened it in the sixth on a solo shot to center. The Twins grabbed the lead in the seventh when Willi Castro stole third base and scored on pitcher Caleb Ferguson’s throwing error when it looked like Castro might be caught in a rundown between second and third.

NOT GRAY’S DAY

Minnesota’s Sonny Gray came into the game leading the majors with a 1.39 ERA but struggled in four innings.

The right-hander faced constant traffic in his four innings of work. He allowed two runs on five hits and walked three. He also struck out four.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Justin Bruihl was optioned to make room for Covey. ... RHP Jimmy Nelson (right elbow inflammation) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Joe Ryan (6-1, 2.16 ERA), who has recorded double-digit strikeouts in three of his eight starts, gets the call in the opener of a three-game series at the Los Angeles Angels.

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urías (5-3, 3.61 ERA) will make his first career start against the Cardinals on Thursday to start a four-game set at St. Louis.