An unconventional rally in the eighth inning that saw two run-scoring wild pitches and a balk turned the tide in the Dodgers’ 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks to earn a split of their four-game series on Thursday afternoon at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Trailing 2-1 to start the eighth, the Dodgers cobbled together two hits and a walk against reliever Fernando Salas before an out was recorded. Jorge De La Rosa was brought in to clean up a mess, but he did anything but. First came a sinking liner to center by Cody Bellinger that went for a sacrifice fly. Then the weirdness started.
De La Rosa balked the two remaining runners to second and third, then issued an intentional walk to Austin Barnes, who homered earlier for the Dodgers’ first run. With the bases re-loaded De La Rosa uncorked two wild pitches, each scoring a run, then Kyle Farmer singled home the fourth run of the inning for a three-run lead.
It was the earliest RBI of Farmer’s young career, and it gave the Dodgers their third comeback win of the season.
Barnes’ home run in the second inning snapped an 0-for-16 skid. It was the only run allowed by Patrick Corbin in his six innings, with five strikeouts, his lowest total of the season.
Corbin has 60 strikeouts against only nine walks with a 2.15 ERA this season. Thursday was an explosion compared to the Dodgers’ last outing against him, when Corbin struck out 12 in 7⅓ scoreless innings on April 4, allowing just one hit and one walk.
The Dodgers got doubles by Matt Kemp in the fourth inning, Bellinger in the fifth, then Alex Verdugo in the seventh against reliever Andrew Chafin. But the Dodgers were unable to bring any of them home, which is why they trailed entering the eighth.
Alex Wood struck out eight in his five innings, but also needed 96 pitches to do it, including 51 in the first two innings. He was burned by an eight-pitch walk to Jeff Mathis followed by a seven-pitch at-bat by pitcher Patrick Corbin that ended with an RBI single.
That was the only run allowed by Wood.
This wouldn’t be a Dodgers game without a trainer making a field visit, and for Wood that came before the fifth inning when he started stretching his left leg after making his final warmup pitch. With a crowded infield around the mound included assistant trainer Thomas Albert, manager Dave Roberts the entire infield and a pair of umpires, Wood threw a few more warmup pitches and remained in the game.
Wood pitched a perfect fifth after the mound visit to end his day.
Yimi Garcia entered in the sixth inning on Thursday for his first major league game since April 22, 2016, and after his two-plus year wait was fully indoctrinated into the 2018 Dodgers bullpen experience.
A ground ball to third base by Paul Goldschmidt was booted by Kyle Farmer, then A.J. Pollock followed with a ground ball single to center field to open the frame. One out later Garcia induced another ground ball, a bouncer by Ketel Marte that found its way through the hole between shortstop and third base. Verdugo uncorked a strong throw home but it was just high enough for Goldschmidt to slide in with the go-ahead run.
So after over two years away from the majors, Garcia induced three ground balls in his four batters faced and got hung with an unearned run. Welcome back to the bigs.
Plenty of firsts
Tim Locastro was recalled from Triple-A on Thursday and made his first major league start. He made a nice catch in center field ...
... then he checked off a few boxes in the ninth inning. He was hit by a pitch from Silvino Bracho, the first HBP of Locastro’s major league career after averaging 30 HBP per year in his four full minor league seasons. He then stole second base for his first major league steal.
Three in a row
Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his first 1-2-3 inning of the season. Jansen pitched in each of the final three games of this series, the first time he has done that since Aug. 26-28, 2016.
It was the first time any Dodger has pitched three games in a row during the regular season since last May 28-30, when Sergio Romo did it. Tony Watson and Brandon Morrow also turned the trick during the 2017 World Series, which each one pitching in Games 3-5 in Houston.
During the third inning of Thursday’s game Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was on the Facebook broadcast and said he will join the team this weekend in Mexico, and hopes to take live batting practice either Saturday or Sunday. Turner has missed 31 games so far this season with a non-displaced fracture in his left wrist.
I went into Thursday’s game fully expecting to hate this Facebook broadcast, but it turned out to be just fine, outside of the inconvenience of not being able to see the game on my television. The picture quality was excellent, and the expected distractions were minimal (especially after swiping right and finding quiet mode to get rid of the on-screen comments).
There were no commercials during this broadcast, and the MLB Network-produced broadcast did well to fill time between innings, either with interviews from both dugouts (Alanna Rizzo ably did double duty in this regard) or with highlights from this and past seasons relevant to both teams.
The Dodgers move on to the third and final leg of their road trip, a three-game weekend series against the Padres in Monterrey, Mexico. a Walker Buehler is expected to get called up again to start on Friday, a 6:10 p.m. PT start, with left-hander Joey Lucchesi starting for San Diego.
Home run: Austin Barnes (1)
WP - JT Chargois (1-0): 3 up, 3 down
LP - Fernando Salas (3-2): 0 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk
Sv - Kenley Jansen (5): 3 up, 3 down