Diamondbacks Blow Another Late-Inning Lead, Bow to Dodgers

Dodgers Diamondbacks

Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 4

LOS ANGELES, July 11 — Max Muncy slammed a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to complete a six-run rally and give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 7–4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon. Diamondbacks reliever Noe Ramirez surrendered three runs in the bottom of the eighth, blowing a 4–1 lead and setting the stage for Muncy’s heroics.

Mookie Betts put the Dodgers on the board with a leadoff home run, the 27th of his career, seventh as a Dodger, and fifth of the 2021 season. He also got the second Dodgers hit of the day, a two-out single in the bottom of the third, but he advanced no further, as Muncy followed with a fly to center for the third out.

Diamondbacks Rally, Take Lead

The Diamondbacks tied the game in the top of the fourth when catcher Stephen Vogt sent a 1–2 fastball into the right-center-field bleachers. One inning later, they took the lead. Shortstop Josh Rojas started the rally with a one-out ground-rule double to right off new pitcher Darien Nuñez. Second baseman Josh VanMeter drove him in with a single to left. On the throw home, VanMeter tried to take second, but an alert cutoff and throw to second by Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner nabbed VanMeter by a slight margin.

Kelly left the game with one out in the sixth, accompanied by Ken Crenshaw of the Diamondbacks medical staff, after surrendering a double to Max Muncy. It turned out to be right leg cramping for Kelly. Reliever Brett de Geus left Muncy stranded on second, as Turner and Bellinger both flied to center to end the inning.

More scoring came in the top of the seventh off new pitcher Scott Alexander. After Vogt led off with a single for his second hit of the game, center fielder Daulton Varsho deposited an 0–1 sinker into the home run seats in left-center. His first homer of 2021 and fourth of his career gave the Diamondbacks a 4–1 lead. A two-out double to the gap in right-center by VanMeter put another runner in scoring position, but he advanced no further. After Alexander walked third baseman Eduardo Escobar intentionally, new pitcher Phil Bickford got Walker to ground into a force play at third, escaping further damage.

Diamondbacks Relievers Fall Apart, Dodgers Take Advantage

Noe Ramirez, who has been effective in a set-up role since joining the Diamondbacks, fell apart in the bottom of the eighth. The first hitter — pinch-hitter Zach McKinstry — drew a walk. Three singles (Betts, Muncy, Turner) followed, making the score 4–2. Turner’s single clanked off right fielder Josh Reddick’s glove, much to the delight of the Dodger Stadium crowd. After center fielder Cody Bellinger struck out for the first out, Ramirez hit Smith with a pitch, bring in Betts and making the score 4–3. Chris Taylor followed with a single to tie the game at four.

Kenley Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth for the Dodgers. Diamondbacks reliever J.B. Bukauskas took the mound in the bottom of the ninth. The only out he managed was one that the Dodgers gave up on purpose. First baseman Albert Pujols led off with a single, giving him career hit 3,283 and tying him with Willie Mays for 11th all-time. Zach Reks came in to run for the slow-legged Pujols. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by McKinstry. An intentional walk to Betts — who was 3-for-4 in the game — put runners on first and second for Muncy. On 2–1, Bukauskas threw a fastball just above the knees. Muncy pounced, sending the 96-mph offering deep into the right-center-field bleachers for the win.

“It’s Frustrating”

Manager Torey Lovullo said after the game, “Losing stinks. Nobody likes it. We’ve got to complete the cycle, finish the job, and expect to get the job done. Go into a place we want to go and we’ve got to win these baseball games and close out good teams. When you don’t, the thing that stands out (is that) when you give them a little wiggle room, good teams take advantage of it.”

It was “frustrating” to see yet another catchable fly ball drop in the outfield. Lovullo said, “It’s all maddening, it’s all craziness. But it’s part of the game. We’ve got to overcome, we’ve got to fight. The next guy’s got to pick up the situation, execute, and pick up his teammate. Those are things we preach here. But there’s certainly some plays there that we should have been able to make that would have changed the ending.”

Looking Ahead

The winning pitcher Sunday was Jansen (1–2), while Bukauskas (1–2) took the loss. After a much-needed All-Star Break, the Diamondbacks resume their schedule Friday. They will have a six-game homestand against the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates (three games each).

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/managers mentioned:

Max Muncy, Noe Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Stephen Vogt, Josh Rojas, Darien Nuñez, Josh VanMeter, Justin Turner, Brett de Geus, Scott Alexander, Daulton Varsho, Eduardo Escobar, Phil Bickford, Zach McKinstry, Josh Reddick, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Kenley Jansen, J.B. Bukauskas, Albert Pujols, Willie Mays, Zach Reks, Torey Lovullo

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