Down three runs in the middle innings, the Dodgers notched yet another comeback win, this one a 7-4 win that featured persistent rallies against Aaron Nola and the Phillies bullpen on Saturday night in Philadelphia.
Mookie Betts was heavily involved in all facets of this one. His home run off Nola in the third inning was the Dodgers’ first run, and Betts hit a two-run double in the fifth. Betts has reached based in nine straight games, and during that time has 10 extra-base hits.
The seventh inning saw two plays that could have cost the Dodgers dearly. In the top of the inning, Betts got picked off second base in by José Alvarado. That diminished a first-and-second, one-out situation that ended with no runs scoring.
In the bottom of the frame, the Phillies had two runners in scoring position with one out, when a ground ball to third left Odubel Herrera dead to rights, but catcher Will Smith held on to the ball too long in a rundown, allowing Herrera to safely get back to third. With loaded bases in a tie game, the stage was set for Betts yet again.
This time, it was snagging a low liner from Alex Bohm, then firing home to erase Herrera, ending the inning with no damage.
Betts wasn’t alone, though his three hits, a walk, and outfield assist proved paramount in the win, the seventh straight by the Dodgers. In six of those wins, the Dodgers have trailed.
Smith also homered off Nola, tying the game in the sixth. Austin Barnes, who scored the go-ahead run as a pinch-runner in the eighth, hit his fourth home run of the season in the ninth.
The winning rally in the eighth began with singles by Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger against Alvarado. Gavin Lux delivered the go-ahead single, off Seranthony Dominguez, whose wild pitch brought home a second run.
Los Angeles had eight hits against the Phillies bullpen on Saturday, continuing a theme from last weekend’s four-game series at Dodger Stadium.
In six games over the last week and a half, Philadelphia relievers have allowed 15 runs on 25 hits in 23⅓ innings, with more walks (23) than strikeouts (22).
Ups & downs
The plan for nominal starter Mitch White was roughly three innings and 45 pitches, of which he was within reasonable range entering the third inning. With left-hander David Price warming in the bullpen, it was clear White wasn’t going to face Harper a second time.
A silver lining for the Dodgers was that Harper didn’t bat with anyone on base that inning, but only because Alec Bohm hit White’s final pitch into the stands for a two-run home run, breaking a 1-1 tie.
Despite the disappointing ending to his outing, White did have a memorable moment against Harper earlier in the game. White entering Saturday had thrown nearly a thousand pitches in the major leagues, 962 to be exact. Only 10 of them were changeups, all to left-handed batters, all coming in the final two months last season. That’s roughly one percent of the time, or two percent if we limit it to just lefty batters.
He threw one changeup all game, and it finished off a swinging strikeout of Harper in the first inning, which could qualify White for some sort of medal. It was the first game back for Harper, who missed four games over five days after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow last Sunday in Los Angeles. A medical procedure was the only thing slowing down Harper, who in the three games he played at Dodger Stadium last weekend hit three home runs and four doubles, reaching base 10 times in 15 plate appearances.
Dodgers relievers were aces in this one, with seven pitchers combining to record the final 20 outs. Price allowed a home run to Schwarber in the fourth inning, the last time the Phillies scored in this one. After Price, no other Dodgers pitcher allowed a hit.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (9), Will Smith (4), Austin Barnes (4); Alex Bohm (3), Kyle Schwarber (10)
WP — Daniel Hudson (2-3): 1⅓ IP, zeroes
LP — José Alvarado (0-1): ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk
Sv — Craig Kimbrel (9): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
Tony Gonsolin gets the call in Sunday’s series finale (10:35 a.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), having allowed seven total runs in his first seven starts. Right-hander Zach Eflin, technically an old friend thanks to his inclusion in the Matt Kemp and Jimmy Rollins trades at the 2014 winter meetings, starts for Philadelphia.