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Dodgers rally off Diamondbacks gloves to win 3rd straight game

3-run rally in 7th turns the tide for LA

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers’ hit-it-to-the-outfield strategy worked wonders in the seventh inning, rallying for three runs in a 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The rally began with a pair of walks to start the seventh, the first off Taylor Clarke and the second off Joe Mantiply. Then the weirdness started.

Pinch-hitter Albert Pujols lofted a fly ball into short right field that clanged off first baseman Pavin Smith’s glove for a single to load the bases, the first pinch hit for Pujols since September 5, 2009, when he homered off Matt Capps in Pittsburgh.

With one out Will Smith hit a fly ball into deeper right field, this one biffed by Josh Rojas to score two runs, giving the Dodgers the lead.

“We caught a break. That’s sometimes baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We got a little good fortune. But we also created some breaks by making some plays ourselves.”

They added a run when Mookie Betts hit a ground-rule double beyond a diving Tim Locastro in center field.

Joe Kelly pitched a perfect seventh inning to pick up the win. After allowing four extra-base hits and four runs in his first game off the injured list on May 7, Kelly didn’t pitch for a week, and since then has retired all nine batters he faced.

Kenley Jansen retired the side in the ninth for his ninth save of the season, and the 321st save of his career, third-most all-time with one team. Jansen trails only Hall of Fame closers Mariano Rivera (652 saves with Yankees) and Trevor Hoffman (552 with Padres).

For starters

Neither starting pitcher allowed a hit until the fourth. Clayton Kershaw walked a batter before giving up his first hit, so when Eduardo Escobar’s drive cleared the center field wall that gave Arizona a 2-0 lead.

Max Muncy’s double in the bottom of the inning was the first hit off Matt Peacock, a 27-year-old rookie making his second major league start. Muncy scored on a single by Yoshi Tsutsugo, the latest in the Dodgers cleanup roulette to drive in a run.

That was it for the scoring against either starter, and with Kershaw only at 83 pitches, having struck out eight and allowed only four baserunners through six innings, in most games he’d keep pitching. But with the Dodgers down a run and Kershaw’s spot leading off the bottom of the sixth, Dave Roberts opted for a better offensive chance, pulling his pitcher, much to the chagrin of Kershaw in the dugout.

The ploy worked to a point, with Luke Raley getting his first pinch hit of the year, and a Muncy single put runners at the corners with one out. But Justin Turner flew out and Tsutsugo flew out to end that particular threat.

Old friend alert

Kershaw hit former Dodger Locastro with a pitch in the first inning. That’s rare for Kershaw, whose two HBP this season match his high for the last five years. But for Locastro, getting plunked is a key part of his game. In 440 major league plate appearances, the outfielder has been hit by 32 pitches. This has been a thing for Locastro dating back to his days in the minors, when from 2014-18 in the Blue Jays and Dodgers systems he was hit by 148 pitches in 525 games.

Wednesday particulars

Home run: Eduardo Escobar (10)

WP — Joe Kelly (1-0): 1 IP, 1 strikeout

LP — Joe Mantiply (0-1): ⅓ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Sv — Kenley Jansen (9): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers are rolling with a bullpen game on Thursday night (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network). Right-hander Merrill Kelly starts the series finale Arizona.