LOS ANGELES — It was a sloppy game rife with errors and base running mistakes, but Yasiel Puig helped smooth a lot of that out, reaching base four times and driving in four runs to lift the Dodgers over the Diamondbacks 8-4 on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
Alex Wood was the pitching safety net for the Dodgers, providing 3⅓ scoreless innings in relief after a short start by Kenta Maeda. Wood struck out three and didn’t allow a hit to get the Dodgers into the eighth inning with a lead.
“With the top of the order coming up, with dominant left-handed hitters. You have Alex Wood on four days rest,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I felt confident he could get one time through the lineup and get us to the back end of the bullpen.”
Wood almost fell victim to the aforementioned bad defense, with errors on back-to-back plays in the fifth inning, but Jeremy Hazelbaker got greedy and was thrown out at third base, neutering Arizona’s chances at a big innings.
The Dodgers scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning on a steal attempt with runners at the corners. Scott Van Slyke stole second, and after a pump fake by catcher Chris Herrmann, Kiké Hernandez was caught off third base. But Herrmann’s throw hit Hernandez in between the shoulder blades and caromed behind third base, allowing Hernandez to score.
While that run may have been a gift, it was the fifth of the night scored against Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin, who is left-handed. The Dodgers tallied nine hits and three walks against Corbin, who fell to 0-7 with a 6.30 ERA in his last eight starts against the Dodgers.
Logan Forsythe was 3-for-3 with a double, scoring once and driving in another, but left after four innings with tightness in his right hamstring.
Puig drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning, then collected two singles and a walk. The two hits ended his reverse-split drought of 0-for-15 against southpaws this season. He added a three-run home run against right-hander Fernando Rodney in the eighth inning to break open a one-run game.
Corey Seager was 1-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly against Corbin, driving in two runs, then added a double in the ninth inning.
Maeda out early
Judging by the first inning, it looked like Maeda was heading for a stellar start. He was hitting 94 mph on the radar gun, got David Peralta looking on strikes then struck out Paul Goldschmidt swinging on four pitches.
But after the 1-2-3 opening frame, Maeda was anything but perfect. A single and a walk in the second inning were cashed in on a three-run home run by Nick Ahmed, undoing the Dodgers’ two-run first.
A double to Brandon Drury in the fourth inning brought up Ahmed again, and this time he singled to give the Diamondbacks a 4-3 advantage.
Maeda was pulled after just four innings and 71 pitches, allowing four runs on four hits. He has yet to reach the sixth inning in any of his three starts this season, and has allowed 11 runs in 14 innings to open the season.
“There were some misses in there that I didn’t like seeing,” Roberts said. “The curveball was up. There were some misses with the secondary that I didn’t feel comfortable about.“
The home run by Austin Barnes in the second inning was his first major league home run.
Justin Turner was 1-for-3 on Saturday, and his first-inning double gave him a National League-leading seven doubles on the season. He was also hit by two pitches, and leads the Dodgers with three HBP this season.
Kenley Jansen got the final four outs for his third save of the season, and first appearance longer than one inning in 2017.
The Dodgers made three errors, a season high, and the Diamondbacks made two on Saturday. It was the Dodgers’ third game with multiple errors this season. Hernandez made one of the errors, but he also made two fantastic plays on defense. One was a jump throw from up the middle at second base in the sixth inning, and the second was an over-the-shoulder grab in short right field -- with a diving Puig in the vicinity — to end the eighth inning and prevent the tying run from scoring.
“It’s just something people take for granted, that versatility and that unselfishness to move all over the diamond, to come off the bench, and get a spot start. I don’t take it for granted. He had a huge night,” Roberts said of Hernandez. “He’s a great defender and a heck of a baseball player.”
The Dodgers improved to 11-3 on April 15 since it became Jackie Robinson Night throughout MLB. “The Dodgers have to win on Jackie Robinson Night,” Roberts said.
Rich Hill will be activated from the disabled list to start Sunday afternoon for the Dodgers, with Taijuan Walker getting the start for Arizona.
Home runs: Austin Barnes (1), Yasiel Puig (4); Nick Ahmed (1)
WP - Alex Wood (1-0): 3⅓ IP, 3 strikeouts
LP - Patrick Corbin (1-2): 6 IP, 9 hits, 5 runs (3 earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (3): 1⅓ IP, 2 strikeouts