The baseball was flying out of Dodger Stadium in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. The six home runs are the most in any Dodgers game this season, and the home team hit four of them to beat the Diamondbacks, 7-6.
Tuesday afternoon followed a pattern similar to Monday night, with Arizona taking an early lead, and the Dodgers offense getting handcuffed in the early going by the D-backs starting pitcher. After not scoring until the fifth inning against Madison Bumgarner in the series opener, the Dodgers finally got on the board in the fourth inning on Tuesday, when Will Smith homered off Tyler Gilbert.
The sixth inning was when the floodgates opened, with four hits, two walks and five runs against Gilbert. Three of those hits were home runs, including the third long ball by Mookie Betts in his last four games, and the first time Trea Turner and Justin Turner homered in the same inning.
Four home runs, all hit off Gilbert, match a season high for the Dodgers offense, and the six total home runs hit by both teams are the most in any Dodgers game this season, one more than Saturday night against the Phillies.
Betts also doubled and singled, giving him nine extra-base hits in 14 games in May, a month in which he’s hitting .317/.354/633.
On the season, Betts is up to .269/.353/.493, a 143 wRC+ and leads the majors with 32 runs scored,
Another Monday pattern repeated in this one was Arizona making Craig Kimbrel work. The Dodgers closer allowed a run and needed 29 pitches to finish off the ninth inning, leaving the potential tying run on base to end it.
Finding the zone
After a debut in which the strike zone proved elusive, Ryan Pepiot was wild out of the gate on Tuesday, walking his first two hitters faced in the first inning. That helped run Pepiot’s pitch count to 27 in the opening frame, but just like last Wednesday in Pittsburgh, he kept those walks from scoring.
Two strikeouts paved the way for Pepiot’s first inning escape, the start of eight straight batters retired. But with two outs in the third inning, Josh Rojas walked and advanced to second base on a passed ball. That was the eighth walk of the season for Pepiot, and the first one to score, thanks to a Pavin Smith single.
Most LA Dodgers walks in first 2 career games
After striking out on a fastball in the first inning, Christian Walker turned one around off Pepiot in the third, a two-run home run that gave Arizona a 3-0 advantage.
Pepiot showed improvement in his second time out, this time with more strikeouts (five) than walks (three), and he got through four innings this time instead of three. He introduced his slider more on Tuesday, getting two whiffs and three called strikes in 11 pitches, after throwing the slider only four times in his debut. Overall, Pepiot got 12 swing-and-misses against the Diamondbacks, double the amount of his debut.
But at 87 pitches, his day was done, with three runs charged to Pepiot’s ledger.
Game 1 particulars
Home runs: Will Smith (3), Mookie Betts (8), Trea Turner (2), Justin Turner (3); Christian Walker (8), Alek Thomas (2)
WP — Mitch White (1-0): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP — Tyler Gilbert (0-2): 5⅔ IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv — Craig Kimbrel (7): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
These two teams are back at it tonight (7:10 p.m.; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with Tyler Anderson starting the nightcap for the Dodgers against D-backs right-hander Merrill Kelly.