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'Lucky bounce' helps Dodgers win 4th straight

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers got a win on Sunday over the Diamondbacks, but not without a little help from lady luck. J.P. Howell took a page out of ownership partner Magic Johnson's playbook with his behind-the-back, no-look tag of Jordan Pacheco at home plate to end the top of the 13th inning.

Pacheco was the first runner by either team to reach third base safely on Sunday. Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick tried to do so four innings earlier but was thrown out trying to stretch his double in the ninth inning, thanks to Yasmany Tomas blocking third base.

So when Howell bounced a pitch to Cliff Pennington, it was the Dodgers' chance to return the favor.

"I was just trying to get in his way a little bit, not block, but tag him. I knew I was there, right in the middle of [the plate]," Howell said. "I just put it down and hoped he didn't do a creative slide."

Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, who pinch hit for A.J. Ellis in the 10th, would hit a walk-off home run to end the game in the bottom of the inning. But first he needed to retrieve Howell's errant slider.

"That was a pretty interesting play. It was a backdoor slider that maybe bounced a little more than we would have liked to. I tried to stay in front of it and keep it as close to me as I could," Grandal said. "I know they're trying to do whatever they can to score. For me, next thing is to make sure I get to the ball as fast as I can and give him a good pass."

Howell said he didn't get spiked on the play, that Pacheco hit all leather. Howell picked up his second win of the season.

"It was a lucky bounce, man. A great feed from Yas. It was a good play, but it was lucky," Howell said. "But I'll take the luck."

As someone against whom opposing batters have a .429 (12-for-28) batting average on balls in play this season, maybe Howell was due a little luck in his favor.

Moves coming?

The Dodgers used seven relief pitchers on Sunday, with only Chris Hatcher getting a day off. Manager Don Mattingly said he would have used Hatcher had the game lasted longer but was trying to avoid the right-hander. This was a day after the club used long man Juan Nicasio for three innings followed by another inning Sunday. In addition, the bullpen got the final 11 outs of Friday's win.

Asked if any roster moves were pending, perhaps to bring up a fresh arm, Mattingly said, "It's something we'll talk about before heading to Milwaukee."

One move that could be coming is starter Scott Baker getting designated for assignment, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Baker is scheduled to pitch next for the Dodgers on Thursday, but a possible replacement could be Mike Bolsinger, who was scratched on Sunday for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The Dodgers could first use the roster spot to add an extra bench player or reliever for three days until that spot in the rotation comes up. Nothing yet has been announced by the team.

Up next

The Dodgers hit the road for seven games, beginning with four in Milwaukee. In Monday night's series opener, Clayton Kershaw gets the call for the Dodgers, with Kyle Lohse starting for the Brewers.