Dodgers Hand Diamondbacks Their Worst Loss in Franchise History

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Dodgers 22, Diamondbacks 1

LOS ANGELES, July 10 — Right fielder Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a grand slam and four runs scored, while every Dodgers starter — including the pitcher — had at least one hit as the Los Angeles Dodgers smoked the Arizona Diamondbacks, 22–1, Saturday night. This gave the Diamondbacks their most lopsided loss in franchise history.

Dodgers Abuse Diamondbacks Pitching from the Get-go

Diamondbacks starter Caleb Smith had a rough first inning, to put it mildly. A leadoff walk by Betts and single by shortstop Chris Taylor, up next, put two with nobody out. After third baseman Justin Turner flied to right, second baseman Max Muncy laced a double to the right-field corner. This scored both runners, giving the Dodgers a 2–0 lead. Muncy scored two batters later on a home run by center fielder Cody Bellinger. When left fielder and former Diamondback AJ Pollock followed with a home run of his own, the Dodgers led, 5–0. This marked the sixth time in 2021 that the Dodgers have hit back-to-back home runs. Smith finally got out of the inning after 35 pitches when the next hitter — catcher Austin Barnes — flied to left.

Smith ran into more trouble in the bottom of the second. Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler, Betts, and Taylor led off with a single and two walks, respectively. This loaded the bases for Turner, who blew the game open with a no-doubt grand slam into the left-center-field bleachers. Exit stage left for Smith in favor of Matt Peacock, who sat the next three hitters down to stop the bleeding.

Scoreless Relief until the Seventh

The Diamondbacks looked like they were doomed to cough up more in the bottom of the third when a Pollock single and Buehler walk sandwiched a Barnes fly to right. Peacock got out of this one, however, inducing a 6-4-3 double play groundout by Betts.

Peacock and Alex Young, who returned Saturday from a stint in Triple-A Reno, pitched five scoreless innings of relief. This sent to the game to the seventh with the Dodgers holding a 9–0 lead. In that inning, their bats woke up. Bellinger led off with a grounder to second, but the next four batters all reached base. First, Pollock singled before Young hit Barnes with a pitch. After pinch-hitter Matt Beaty singled, Mookie Betts clubbed the second Dodger grand slam of the game, the fifth of his career and first with the Dodgers. Lux grounded to second for the second out, and the inning looked like it would end when new callup Zach Reks hit a routine fly to left. David Peralta, however, dropped it, and Reks was safe at first.

It got even worse for the Diamondbacks after that. The next hitter — Zach McKinstry — smacked a two-run homer to make the score 15–0. First baseman and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols followed with a solo shot. The inning finally ended when Bellinger, who led off the inning with an out, finished with one. When the dust settled, it was 16–0.

Diamondbacks Avoid Shutout, but Dodgers Keep Hitting

Meanwhile, Buehler shut down the Diamondbacks, limiting them to three hits and two walks while striking out seven over six innings. After reliever Phil Bickford pitched a 1-2-3 inning, the Diamondbacks broke through against Garrett Cleavinger. Andrew Young led off the top of the eighth with a home run to dead center, his fifth of the season and sixth of his young career.

The bottom of the eighth spelled more doom for Diamondbacks relievers. The first victim was Jordan Weems. Pollock opened the inning with his second home run of the game. After Barnes walked and Beaty singled, Betts drew a walk to load the bases. Gavin Lux cleared them with a triple, making the score 20–1, before Reks fanned for the first out.

Into the game came Josh Reddick, a perennial villain to Dodger fans. As expected, he took the mound to a deafening chorus of boos. When McKinstry — the first hitter to face him — lined to Varsho in right, the crowd briefly went quiet. They exploded into cheers when Pujols followed with his second home run of the game, a blast to left that finalized the score.

Postgame Reflections

“We got our butts kicked,” manager Torey Lovullo said bluntly after the game. “I don’t like it, (and) I don’t think anybody in that clubhouse likes it. The coaches don’t like it. Nobody likes it. We have to find a way to get better and stop games like that from happening. It’s unacceptable.”

This was the third time in franchise history that the Arizona Diamondbacks allowed 20 runs or more. More specifically, this was the most runs the franchise has ever allowed in one game. For the Dodgers, they tied their franchise record with eight home runs in one game. They also had two grand slams in the game and had two sets of back-to-back home runs. Despite all this, Lovullo said that this is not the lowest point of the season. “We’re on the rise,” he said. “(We lost) 20-plus straight games on the road, (we fought) a 16- or 17-game losing streak, whatever that was…. We’re in a different spot. I think we’re well beyond our worst days here.”

Looking Ahead

Buehler (9–1) earned the win, while Caleb Smith (2–6) took the loss. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will conclude their three-game series Sunday afternoon before heading into the All-Star Break. Tony Gonsolin (1–0, 2.11 ERA) and Merrill Kelly (5–7, 4.60 ERA) will start for the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, respectively. First pitch will be at 1:10 Pacific.

Main Photo:
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Players/managers mentioned:
Mookie Betts, Caleb Smith, Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, AJ Pollock, Austin Barnes, Walker Buehler, Matt Peacock, Alex Young, Matt Beaty, Zach Reks, David Peralta, Zach McKinstry, Albert Pujols, Phil Bickford, Garrett Cleavinger, Andrew Young, Jordan Weems, Gavin Lux, Josh Reddick, Torey Lovullo, Tony Gonsolin, Merrill Kelly