Riley Smith’s 1st MLB win snaps D-backs’ skid vs. Dodgers
PHOENIX, Ariz. — The Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t the team you want to see when you’re slumping. And the Arizona Diamondbacks have definitely been slumping.
That didn’t matter Thursday night at Chase Field, though. Madison Bumgarner gave the D-backs five solid innings, Riley Smith stepped up in long relief and Carson Kelly provided the offense as Arizona toppled LA by a final of 5-2.
“We did a lot of things right tonight,” Torey Lovullo said. “When we play that type of baseball — get that type of pitching, have the timely hitting — that’s what we get used to here. We’ve got to continue to expect and prepare to play that type of baseball. I was really proud of these guys.”
Bumgarner’s performance wasn’t dominant by any means, but he played the much-needed role of stopper by holding the Dodgers to just two runs over five innings. Those two runs came courtesy of back-to-back solo home runs by Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock in the third inning, but Bumgarner wasn’t fazed.
“I’m pretty sure if the conditions were right, I could kick one out of the parks these days,” Bumgarner explained. “Just keep making pitches is the main thing. I didn’t mind both of those. I thought they were pretty decent pitches. Maybe the one to Seager could be a little bit lower but, for the most part, I was pretty happy with it.”
The big lefty did his most important work in the fourth, wiggling out of a jam with runners on second and third and no outs. He got Austin Barnes to fly out, then coaxed Seager into a double play after a walk to Mookie Betts to get out of the inning unscathed.
“It started with Bum,” Lovullo pointed out. “He gave us five solid innings. I know that he gave up a couple early runs but – in true Bum fashion – it doesn’t affect him. He continues to just pound the zone, get big outs. None bigger for me than the Seager double play to end the fourth inning.”
Bumgarner left after throwing 93 pitches — his most since the season opener — dividing them pretty evenly between a cutter, a curve and a four-seam fastball.
The headlines for D-backs pitching tonight belonged to Smith, though. The 25-year-old out of Lufkin, Texas picked up his first MLB win by limiting Los Angeles to just two hits over 3.1 innings of work. He did issue five walks — something he said he hates doing more than anything else in baseball — but he never allowed a run.
That set the stage for a Diamondback hitter to step up and Kelly answered the bell. An RBI triple off the bat of Daulton Varsho gave Arizona a 3-2 lead in the sixth and Kelly ripped his third homer of the season to left center two pitches later. That made the score 5-2 and it was all the D-backs needed.
Smith lasted into the ninth before Travis Bergen got the final two outs to pick up his first career save.
The win snaps Arizona’s five-game losing streak, bringing Lovullo’s group to 16-29 on the year. They won’t see the Dodgers again, so they finish 2-8 against their rivals in 2020. All three games in this series were close though, with the first two going to extras before the Diamondbacks got the win tonight.
Now they’ll look to carry some momentum into a weekend series with the Mariners.
Caleb Smith will make his first start in an Arizona uniform Friday to begin that series. Seattle will counter with Yusei Kikuchi.