Extra innings have been an adventure this season for the Dodgers, winning games after the ninth on a leadoff two-run home run and a leadoff sacrifice fly, both firsts in MLB history. But on Wednesday, trailing by a run in the 10th, the winning rally began on a bunt by Chris Taylor that Junior Guerra stumbled as he fielded, then compounded things by throwing wildly to third base, allowing the tying run to score.
Taylor advanced to second on the play, then moved to third on a ground out. Will Smith walked it off with a single to left, giving the Dodgers their fourth straight victory.
Will Smith's walkoff hit for the @Dodgers tonight was the 3rd of his career in just his 75th career game.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) September 3, 2020
He's the second MLB player in the last 40 years to have 3 walkoff hits in his first 75 career games, along with the Royals' Jon Nunnally (3 in 1995).#Dodgers
Two outs away from being shutout for the first time all season, Mookie Betts hit a game-tying solo shot over the center field wall off Kevin Ginkel, promoted to closer by a Diamondbacks team that traded Archie Bradley earlier in the week.
“You have to play 27 outs, and sometimes more,” Betts said after the game. “I think the most important thing is just put the pressure on for all 27, and we did a decent job with that today. Gallen threw the ball really, really well. But we did a good job of staying in the game.”
Arizona snatched the lead without the benefit of a hit in the top of the 10th. Kenley Jansen was wild, with two walks and a hit by pitch after the free runner on second base to start the inning. Christian Walker lived up to his name with one of those walks to force in a run, but Jansen was able to limit further damage with a pop out and a strikeout to end the frame.
The Dodgers didn’t even have a runner in scoring position until the ninth inning thanks to Zac Gallen, who pitched seven-plus innings and didn’t allow a run, continuing his mastery of the western divisions.
Betts singled to lead off the first inning, and Will Smith walked in the second. But after that it was a whole lot of nothing for the Dodgers against Gallen, who retired 16 straight batters before Joc Pederson led off the eighth inning with a walk.
That ended Gallen’s night, but reliever Stefan Crichton prevented any sort of storybook ending by inducing a double play grounder by Smith to neuter the Dodgers rally.
Gallen has allowed 10 runs in eight starts this season, sporting a 1.80 ERA in a National League-best 50 innings. That the Dodgers got Gallen for two runs back on July 31 feels like a win, since that matches the most he has allowed all year. Gallen has 16 strikeouts in 13 innings in his two starts against Los Angeles this season.
Walker Buehler was able to match Gallen for five innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while keeping Arizona off the scoreboard. Buehler struck out six, but his night was done after just 71 pitches. After missing a start last week with a blister on his right index finger, Buehler was seen in the dugout after the fifth inning with manager Dave Roberts, with both looking at his right hand.
Buehler didn’t have a recurrence of the blister. This was a planned early exit, since his last start was 11 days ago, Roberts said after the game.
“I’ve been a lot more upset before coming out of a game,” Buehler said on a conference call. “Coming off the IL, around 75 pitches roughly, I don’t know if I’ll necessarily be on a pitch count. It was just, you know, given the stress of the second inning and trying to be careful with it, I think.”
Walker hit a solo home run off reliever Caleb Ferguson in the sixth inning for the Diamondbacks’ first run of the game.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (12), Christian Walker (5)
WP — Kenley Jansen (2-0): 1 IP, 1 unearned run, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
LP — Junior Guerra (1-1): ⅓ IP, 1 hit, 2 unearned runs
Clayton Kershaw got extra rest and will start Thursday’s series finale, another 6:40 p.m. PT start (SportsNet LA), with right-handed Luke Weaver starting for Arizona.