Peralta Homer, Stellar Defense Lead Diamondbacks to Comeback Victory over Dodgers

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Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 3

PHOENIX, Apr. 26 — David Peralta hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to push the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5–3, Tuesday night. Defensively, the Diamondbacks turned five double plays — one shy of the team record — to keep the Dodgers at bay.

The Dodgers took it to Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies early. First baseman Freddie Freeman and shortstop Trea Turner drew consecutive one-out walks in the top of the first before third baseman Justin Turner struck out. A single by Max Muncy loaded the bases for catcher Will Smith, whose double cleared the bases and gave the Dodgers a 3–0 lead.

“It’s always tough giving up three in the first inning and letting them get out to a lead,” Davies said after the game. When Davies returned to the dugout after the first, he had a strategy. “I treated it as a 0–0 ballgame. You don’t want to give up runs in the first place, so reset your thinking, don’t think you have to do too much. Just figure out your mechanics, figure out your way back into the zone, and get guys out.”

Diamondbacks Even Score with Dodgers

It worked for Davies, as he only faced one batter over the minimum during his remaining three innings. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks tied the game in the bottom of the third, largely aided by a blooper-reel throwing error. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo led off with a single and advanced to second on a follow-up walk by catcher Jose Herrera. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Center fielder Daulton Varsho hit a grounder to second that should have been the first out while plating a run, but Gavin Lux’s throw to first missed wide by several feet. Consequently, two runs scored, and Varsho ended up on second. Right fielder Pavin Smith followed with a single, scoring Varsho with the tying run.

Both starters saw the hook after four innings. Diamondbacks lefty Kyle Nelson and Dodgers righty Justin Bruihl each pitched a 1-2-3 fifth for their respective clubs. J.B. Wendelken hurled a scoreless sixth, but it had a few wrinkles. Trea Turner beat out an infield single, but a double-play grounder by Justin Turner (4–3) erased him. Muncy walked, but Will Smith rendered it moot when he grounded into a 6–4 force for the third out.

Wendelken said about the play, “Once I walked Muncy, I knew I had to make my pitch. My main goal was to focus on keeping my sinker down, my changeup down — everything, keep it down so I can get a quick rollover. He ended up taking the first heater. That let me get into the bat a little bit more. Then I went to the slider down, and he rolled over. It was probably the best tailor-made ball you can have right there.”

Evan Phillips pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth, with a two-out walk as his only blemish.

A Pitcher’s Best Friend

Joe Mantiply ran into trouble in the top of the seventh when Chris Taylor and pinch-hitter Hanser Alberto hit consecutive one-out singles. That brought up right fielder Mookie Betts, who crushed a liner to left. Taylor was off on the crack of the bat, rounding third in an effort to score the go-ahead run. Peralta charged in hard and caught the liner. Seeing that Taylor was a dead duck, Peralta made the easy throw to second for a side-retiring double play. Taylor told reporters after the game that he got a bad read, saying that he thought the ball was off the end of the bat and was going to fall in front of Peralta.

Peralta said, “I was playing a little bit toward the line to the pull side. This line drive came. In the beginning, when I saw the ball, it was coming down. But it stayed straight, so I was able to make the play.”

Mantiply said he “knew (Taylor) didn’t hit it that well. I thought it was going to fall short, actually. The way he hit it, I could tell he didn’t really get it. Then David came crashing hard. When he caught it, Taylor was rounding third. I thought he must have thought it was two outs. But I was obviously ecstatic that he made that play.” Mantiply smiled as he later added, “A double play, however you get it, is a pitcher’s best friend.”

In the dugout, according to Mantiply, “everybody was pumped. It seemed like stuff was starting to speed up a little bit there. They were getting a little momentum, so to be able to stop that right there was huge.”

Another Double Play

Despite the good feeling in the dugout, Alex Vesia pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh for the Dodgers, keeping the teams knotted at three. Mantiply stayed on the hill to pitch to the left-handed Freeman in the top of the eighth, with righty Ian Kennedy set to pitch the rest of the frame. Freeman hit a high fly off the handle into shallow left, but it fell in the Bermuda Triangle before any fielders could reach it.

In came Kennedy, who locked up Trea Turner with a called third strike. Justin Turner smoked a double to the left-field corner, but Peralta got to it quickly enough to keep Freeman from scoring. The Diamondbacks intentionally walked Muncy after falling into a 2–0 count, loading the bases for Will Smith. A sharp grounder to third turned into a 5–4–3 double play, ending the Dodgers rally with a whimper.

Diamondbacks Take Lead, Vanquish Dodgers

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo sent switch-hitter Cooper Hummel out to pinch-hit for the left-handed Pavin Smith to lead off the bottom of the eighth. With Alex Vesia being left-handed, Lovullo said he thought Dodgers manager Dave Roberts “might bite on” the substitution, “and I would be able to leave David in the game.”

That is exactly what happened.

When Hummel was announced, Roberts pulled Vesia and brought in righty Brusdar Graterol. “We were loaded up,” Lovullo said, “and we had a couple of options there. I thought Cooper — who’s an on-base guy — was gonna be the right guy to lead off the inning. Whether it’s hitting right- or left-handed, I thought he was gonna do a really good job of getting on base, and it worked out…to the highest level possible.”

Hummel walked. “He’s an above-average runner,” Lovullo added. “With him getting on base, I thought he was going to be a really good catalyst to help us score a run.” With Hummel dancing off first, Peralta belted a towering fly to the home run porch in right-center, giving the Diamondbacks a 5–3 lead. “I wasn’t looking for anything specific — just trying to make good contact,” Peralta said.

Mark Melancon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to finish off the Dodgers, earning his third save in as many tries.

Looking Ahead

Ian Kennedy earned the win in relief, while Graterol took the loss. The Diamondbacks (7–11) and Dodgers (12–5) will play the third and final game of the series Wednesday afternoon. Diamondbacks righty Zac Gallen (0–0, 0.00 ERA) will face Dodgers lefty Julio Urias (1–1, 3.00 ERA). First pitch will be at 12:40 pm Arizona Time.

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Players Mentioned:

David Peralta, Zach Davies, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Will Smith, Geraldo Perdomo, Jose Herrera, Daulton Varsho, Pavin Smith, Kyle Nelson, Justin Bruihl, J.B. Wendelken, Evan Phillips, Joe Mantiply, Chris Taylor, Hanser Alberto, Mookie Betts, Alex Vesia, Ian Kennedy, Torey Lovullo, Cooper Hummel, Dave Roberts, Brusdar Graterol, Mark Melancon, Zac Gallen, Julio Urias