Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 8
PHOENIX, June 20 — The club-record losing streak has reached 17 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but they did not go down without a fight. Despite falling into a 9–1 hole, they made a valiant comeback with a six-run bottom of the eighth. It was not enough, as the Los Angeles Dodgers hung on to defeat the Diamondbacks, 9–8, in Father’s Day action Sunday afternoon.
A pair of two-out singles in the top of the first off Diamondbacks starter Alex Young amounted to nothing. Neither did a one-out single in the top of the second by Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux or a two-out single in the bottom of the second by Diamondbacks right fielder Josh Reddick off Tony Gonsolin. The Dodgers broke through in the third with one out. Singles by Chris Taylor and Justin Turner sandwiched a walk by AJ Pollock, bringing Taylor in for the first run. Albert Pujols, up next, cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left, his 11th of the season. The future Hall of Famer’s 673rd career home run gave the Dodgers a 4–0 lead. It increased to 5–0 when, after Andy Burns walked, Steven Souza Jr. tripled to the right-field corner.
It went from bad to worse for the Diamondbacks in the top of the fourth off reliever Corbin Martin. Gonsolin grounded Martin’s first pitch into the left-field corner for a double before a bunt single from Taylor put runners on the corners. Pollock scored both with a double to the gap in left-center. With the score now 7–0, it seemed like the rout was on.
Diamondbacks Take a Step Forward, Dodgers Force Them Two Steps Back
The Diamondbacks notched a run in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff double by center fielder Ketel Marte and follow-up single by third baseman Eduardo Escobar combined for the scoring. It chased Gonsolin out of the game in favor of reliever Garrett Cleavinger. This was only a finger in the dam, however, as the Dodgers scored two more in the top of the fifth. A leadoff walk by Lux and single by Austin Barnes put runners on first and second with nobody out. Cleavinger laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error by Josh VanMeter allowed him to reach safely. Lux and Barnes both scored on a double by Pollock, his second of the game.
The Diamondbacks began chipping away in the bottom of the sixth. Their second run came off reliever David Price. Marte led off the frame with a double off the wall in right-center. A one-out single by David Peralta advanced Marte to third, and a two-out single by Reddick brought him home.
Big Inning Makes for Close Game
In the bottom of the eighth, off relievers Edwin Uceta and Victor Gonzalez, the Diamondbacks cut the lead to 9–8. It started with a walk by Marte. After Rojas struck out, Peralta singled, advancing Marte to second. A walk to Asdrubal Cabrera loaded the bases for Reddick. With angry boos raining down from Dodger fans who are still bitter over the 2017 World Series, Reddick smacked a single to center. This brought both Marte and Peralta home, cutting the score to 9–4. After Varsho whiffed for the second out, pinch-hitter Christian Walker singled in Cabrera, making it a 9–5 ballgame.
New pitcher Victor Gonzalez looked like he would get the Dodgers out of it when the first hitter — pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt — hit a slow roller behind the bag at first. However, Vogt outraced Albert Pujols to the bag, and the Diamondbacks had the bases loaded for VanMeter. His bases-loaded walk brought in Reddick, making the score 9–6. That brought up Marte, batting for the second time in the inning. His single scored both Walker and Vogt, bringing the Diamondbacks to within a run. The rally ended when Rojas grounded to first unassisted for the third out.
Diamondbacks reliever Stefan Crichton ran into some trouble in the top of the ninth, leaving the game after three batters. Noe Ramirez put out the fire, entering the game with runners on second and third and one out. He struck out pinch-hitter Will Smith and retired Zach McKinstry on a fly to center, retiring the side.
There was no more magic for the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the ninth, as Kenley Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 inning for his 18th save of the season.
Making a Game Out of It
“I was super pleased with (coming back). It just shows that this team is continuing to stay engaged and continuing to give a great effort,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “We piled up a number of runs in that inning (while) we only had one extra-base hit on the day.” Lovullo explained the adaptability shown in that situation, given that it was all based on singles and walks. “Sometimes, you have to be versatile. You have to adapt to what is happening. I’ve talked about…taking what the pitcher is giving you and finding a way to create some traffic. We did that. It was a heck of a lot of fun to watch — ton of energy. It just goes to show you that we’re never out of any baseball game and can build big innings like that.”
Lovullo, however, did not like what put the Diamondbacks in such a deep hole. “We got there by making plenty of mistakes. For me, it’s about putting the ball on the plate. I think they had 17 baserunners through five innings. That’s unacceptable. We’ve got to put the baseball on the plate, attack, follow gameplans, and expect good results. That was unacceptable today, what we saw on the mound.”
Something to Build On
The eighth-inning rally “says a lot for our mindset,” according to Reddick. The last 30 days have been “hellacious. For us to go down early, then grind back and put them on the edge right there. I think that’s a big step for us. We can make a smaller picture looking at the last week. (The team has scored) a lot of runs, (but) just haven’t been able to get them on the other side. We’re grinding it out, trying to do our best to stay in games.”
He continued, “Signs like that are always a positive, because you can get out of it pretty quick when teams like that put you down early. That something that we can (roll into the next series). The win would have been great, but we can find little things to build off of. This is something we can look back on tomorrow. We went down against one of the best teams in the league. But we grinded back and fought tooth-and-nail and got back in it really quickly. Just like that.”
Reddick concluded, “We’ve got the potential to do it. We just have to come back tomorrow and switch gears on a new ballclub.”
That new ballclub is the Milwaukee Brewers, who roll into town for a Monday-Wednesday series. The Brewers (40–32) are tied for the NL Central lead with the Chicago Cubs. Monday evening, Brewers lefty Brett Anderson (2–4, 4.24 ERA) will face Diamondbacks righty Merrill Kelly (2–7, 5.40 ERA). First pitch is at 6:40 Arizona time.
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Alex Young, Gavin Lux, Josh Reddick, Tony Gonsolin, Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, AJ Pollock, Albert Pujols, Andy Burns, Steven Souza Jr., Corbin Martin, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Garrett Cleavinger, Austin Barnes, Josh VanMeter, David Price, David Peralta, Edwin Uceta, Victor Gonzalez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Christian Walker, Stephen Vogt, Stefan Crichton, Noe Ramirez, Will Smith, Zach McKinstry, Kenley Jansen, Torey Lovullo, Brett Anderson, Merrill Kelly