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Edwin Ríos continues to capitalize on his starts

Ríos hit one of three LA home runs in win

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Edwin Ríos is making the most of his sudden increase in playing time, even taking advantage of a rare start against a left-hander with a home run in the Dodgers’ 6-4 win over the Diamondbacks on Friday at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Friday was the sixth straight start for Ríos, all at designated hitter, and hit he did. Ríos turned around a 1-2 fastball from Madison Bumgarner in the second inning, a towering drive down the right field line and just inside the foul pole for a two-out, three-run home run.

The Dodgers hit just a pair of three-run home runs in their first 35 games this season. But they’ve done so five times in the last 10 contests, including two by Ríos.

Ríos has started 15 games this season, two-thirds of them coming in the last three weeks. Nearly all of his starts have been against right-handed pitchers, with Friday marking the second start for Ríos against a southpaw.

Ríos has driven in three runs in four of his last 10 starts. During that latest stretch, in which Ríos has started 10 of the Dodgers’ last 18 games, he has four home runs and 13 runs batted in.

Despite ranking 10th on the team with 72 plate appearances, Ríos is second on the Dodgers with six home runs this season.

Leading the team is Mookie Betts, who followed Ríos in the second inning with a solo shot of his own, Betts’ league-leading 13th home run of the season.

Betts has scored in each of his last 14 starts, and has at least one extra-base hit in his last eight starts. His 29 runs scored in May are tied for the most in a calendar month in Los Angeles Dodgers history, along with Jim Gilliam (June 1959) and Davey Lopes (May 1979). The last Dodger to score 30 runs in a single month was Duke Snider for Brooklyn in July 1954.

Trea Turner added a solo home run in the sixth inning, extending his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest in the majors this season. He later added an RBI single.

Three home runs matched the Dodgers’ most against Madison Bumgarner, one of their most familiar opponents. They also went deep three times against the left-hander once each in 2014 and 2015.

Most runs in a calendar month, LA Dodgers

Player Month Runs
Player Month Runs
Jim Gilliam Jun 1959 29
Davey Lopes May 1979 29
Mookie Betts May 2022 29
Since 1958; Cody Bellinger scored 32 runs in “March/April” 2019, which included 7 runs in March and 25 runs in April Source: Baseball Reference

Friday was Bumgarner’s 40th career game against the Dodgers, and 39th start.

Ryan Pepiot struggled again with command, throwing only 55 percent of his pitches for strikes, but lasted the longest of his three major league starts, pitching into the fifth inning for the first time.

Pepiot walked three and hit a batter, and left with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth. Brusdar Graterol put out the fire by retiring the next two batters, with just one inherited runner scoring on a sacrifice fly.

Graterol added a scoreless sixth inning as well to earn the win. His last three outings have been multi-inning affairs, recording six, six, and five outs.

Pepiot struck out five in his 4⅓ innings, and through his first three major league starts has a 25-percent strikeout rate to go with his 21.2-percent walk rate. Pepiot’s 11 walks are tied for third-most on the Dodgers despite just the three games pitched to date.

Of note

Dave Roberts was away on Friday, as his daughter Emme graduated high school. Bench coach Bob Geren stepped into the big chair in his absence. Roberts is expected back for Saturday’s game.

Friday particulars

Home runs: Edwin Ríos (6), Mookie Betts (13), Trea Turner (4)

WP — Brusdar Graterol (1-2): 1⅔ IP, 1 hit

LP — Madison Bumgarner (2-3): 6 IP, 7 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Up next

Tony Gonsolin got an extra day of rest before his start on Saturday, the Dodgers’ first game of the season on Fox (4:15 p.m.). Merrill Kelly makes his third start this season against the Dodgers, against whom he’s allowed 11 runs in eight innings. Against everyone else, Kelly this year has allowed eight runs in 41 innings.

Adam Amin and Eric Karros will call the game on Fox. Joe Davis is on the call for Phillies vs. Mets in New York.