Gallen, Diamondbacks Clip Dodgers

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Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1

PHOENIX, Apr. 27 — Six scoreless innings from Zac Gallen, along with a Nick Ahmed homer and some Dodger miscues, led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 3–1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday afternoon. It gave the Diamondbacks a series victory over the Dodgers for the first time since September 2019.

Neither starting pitcher — Gallen or Julio Urias — gave up a hit until the top of the third, when Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts singled. Urias did not give one up until the fifth, when Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed dumped a homer over the left-field fence. Ahmed admitted after the game that he was looking for a fastball. “My first at-bat, I was aggressive on two fastballs. Just missed one to center field — I was a little bit late on it. (This one), I knew he was gonna come back with a fastball at some point, so I was ready for it, and he made a mistake in the middle.”

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Diamondbacks Protect Narrow Lead over Dodgers

Gallen almost lost the lead in the next half-inning but escaped without damage. Shortstop Trea Turner smoked a two-out double to left before third baseman Max Muncy walked, but center fielder Cody Bellinger struck out to retire the side. Urias retired the Diamondbacks in order in the bottom of the sixth, keeping the score 1–0.

Noe Ramirez pitched the seventh for the Diamondbacks. He surrendered a one-out single to designated hitter Edwin Rios. A strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play followed, with second baseman Gavin Lux whiffing and Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly gunning Rios down at second. Ramirez said that double play sequence was, just like any other double play, “a relief. So much pressure off (my) shoulders there. It’s such a better feeling, especially to end the inning.”

Dodgers Tie It Up

Carson Kelly drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but it went to waste when Ahmed grounded to short. Setup man Ian Kennedy took the mound for the eighth and struck out pinch-hitter Will Smith for a quick first out. Betts followed with a single, his second hit of the game, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. First baseman Freddie Freeman lined to right for the second out, and a cannon of a throw by right fielder Jordan Luplow held Betts at second. Trea Turner rendered that play academic when he singled for his second hit of the game, scoring Betts with the tying run.

The Diamondbacks picked up their set-up man in the bottom of the eighth off new pitcher Daniel Hudson. Center fielder Daulton Varsho drew a leadoff walk, checking his swing on a 3–2 count to irk the Dodgers, who thought he went around. Third baseman Sergio Alcántara dropped a beautiful bunt to sacrifice Varsho to second. However, Muncy airmailed the throw to first. It sailed well over the head of Lux, covering first from his position at second base, and into right field. It turned into a three-base error, scoring Varsho with the go-ahead run and putting Alcántara on third. Left fielder Cooper Hummel hit an infield single, so Alcántara had to stay on third. Luplow grounded into a 6–4 force play, with Alcántara having to stay put again. Pavin Smith, pinch-hitting for designated hitter Matt Davidson, finally brought Alcántara in with a groundout to second.

Slamming the Door

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Mark Melancon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save of the season. However, the first batter did not lack drama. A high popup over the plate, coupled with the bright sun and the wind, turned into an adventure. Kelly could not stay with the ball. Alcántara, charging in from third, made a diving catch near the plate for a highlight-reel first out.

“That’s not an easy play,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “There’s a little bit of a breeze that nobody can really see or sense. You can tell by the way that (Kelly) and Serge were heading to it. They were both staggering. It wasn’t easy. Big league players can catch pop ups. It’s fairly routine. But when you add in that element of a breeze or some wind, it can be a little bit of a challenge. But it was a tremendous play to get the first out for us.”

Melancon retired the next two hitters on a called strikeout and grounder to second, respectively.

Postgame Reflections

Lovullo said this series win said “We’re a good baseball team, and we’re still learning and growing every single day. When we’re going out and take care of business and (only) worrying about today, good things can happen.” He continued, “This is a different team — a different group of guys with a different mindset. I’m watching that play out and watching these guys grow every single day.”

Lovullo opened the postgame media session by saying, “We’re still making our way and still trying to define ourselves. And any time you have the type of series we had, winning two out of three, whether it’s against Dodgers or not, validates things that you’re doing right. And we’re working hard. We’re working hard as a group. Our coaches are coaching their butts off; our players are responding. There’s still a lot of work that we got to do, but this was this was a good series for us. I’m really proud of these guys, the way they fought. We have learned to embrace close games and learned to embrace the importance of execution in the most critical moments. We’re prepared to play games like this all season long.”

Looking Ahead

Kennedy earned the win in relief, while Hudson took the loss. The Dodgers head home, where they will begin a three-game interleague series with the Detroit Tigers on Friday, while the Diamondbacks embark on a road trip. First on the Diamondbacks trip is a four-game stop in St. Louis, followed by a three-game stint in Miami. The four-gamer begins Thursday, where Humberto Castellanos (1–0, 3.00 ERA) will face Cardinals righty Dakota Hudson (1–1, 3.95 ERA). First pitch will be at 4:45 pm Arizona Time.

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Players mentioned:

Zac Gallen, Nick Ahmed, Julio Urias, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Max Muncy, Cody BellingerNoe Ramirez, Edwin Rios, Gavin Lux, Carson Kelly, Ian Kennedy, Will Smith, Freddie Freeman, Jordan Luplow, Daniel Hudson, Daulton Varsho, Sergio Alcántara, Cooper Hummel, Pavin Smith, Matt Davidson, Mark Melancon, Torey Lovullo, Humberto Castellanos, Dakota Hudson