Late rally comes up short, D-backs fall to Dodgers in extras

Sep 9, 2020, 12:24 AM
Los Angeles Dodgers' A.J. Pollock scores on a ground ball by Chris Taylor as Arizona Diamondbacks c...
Los Angeles Dodgers' A.J. Pollock scores on a ground ball by Chris Taylor as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Daulton Varsho makes the late tag during the 10th inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX – Giving the Dodgers free baserunners is a recipe for disaster. The Arizona Diamondbacks got a brutal reminder of that on Tuesday night.

Arizona pitchers walked 12 LA hitters in a 10-9, 10-inning loss to the Dodgers. They also threw three wild pitches — and the defense behind them committed a pair of errors — ultimately squandering leads of 5-1 and 6-2 while wasting a rare offensive outburst.

“You’re giving them a ton of opportunities to put pressure on you and eventually something’s going to break,” Torey Lovullo pointed out after the game. “We were making some pitches early and getting out of some jams, but the name of the game is throwing strikes. We’ve got quality arms, and they can throw quality strikes. We’ve just got to put it over the plate.”

For all the extra outs they gave LA, the Diamondbacks did take a couple back with some remarkable defense though. Josh Rojas made a spectacular play at short in the seventh, dragging his toe across second base while making a lunging play on a Corey Seager chopper, then firing to first for a double play that kept the game tied at 6-6.

Christian Walker made a nice play of his own at first to close out the eighth on an Edwin Rios grounder. But the Rojas play was Sportscenter-worthy.

“I can’t go without making a mention of what a tremendous play that was,” Lovullo said. “That’s got to be in the top-10 for sure.”

“Luckily that ball kicked off the mound and slowed it down just enough for me to be able to reach it and touch the bag at the same time,” Rojas explained.

Arizona wasn’t done fighting back either. After the Dodgers erupted for four in the top of the 10th inning, the Diamondbacks pushed three runs of their own across the plate. The tying run reached base too, before rookie Wyatt Mathisen struck out to end the game.

One inning prior, Tim Locastro was thrown out at home trying to score the winning run.

Luke Weaver got the start in this one, and was OK. He only allowed two runs, but he also got his pitch count up to 86 in a hurry, and could only give Lovullo four innings. Still, he’s been better of late. After giving up six runs in each of his first two starts this season, he’s surrendered four runs or less in all seven outings since.

In four of his last five starts, he’s allowed just two runs or less.

The short outing forced Arizona to use eight pitchers just to get through the evening though. Hector Rondon stood out among the group, fanning all three batters he faced in the sixth inning. But Joe Mantiply gave up three runs in the seventh, Stefan Crichton surrendered another and Yoan Lopez got tagged for four in the tenth to blow the game open.

Gavin Lux did most of the damage for the Dodgers, clubbing his first two home runs of the season while driving in five runs.

Kole Calhoun, Daulton Varsho and Christian Walker all homered for the D-backs, who scored their most runs in a game since a 10-1 win over Oakland on Aug. 18.

That’s a thin silver lining for Lovullo’s group, though. They’ve now dropped 17 of 19, and sit last in the National League with a .349 winning percentage. Adding salt to the wound, they’re 1-7 against the Dodgers now.

To put it in perspective, it took them 56 games to lose 28 last season. They’ve done it in just 43 games this year.

Game two of the final series between these two clubs this season is Wednesday at 6:40. Taylor Clarke takes the mound for Arizona, against Clayton Kershaw.

“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” Lovullo said. “We’ve got to make something happen here.”

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