Betts hits leadoff HR, sparks Dodgers over D-backs 3-2
PHOENIX (AP) — Mookie Betts led off Saturday night’s game with a homer. Dave Roberts — sarcastically — said he was disappointed there weren’t many highlights that followed.
“He only got two hits tonight,” the Dodgers manager said with a grin. “Kind of a slow night for Mookie.”
Betts started the game with his 14th homer of the season, Justin Turner added four hits and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2.
Betts hit his 32nd career leadoff home run, ripping a fastball from Merrill Kelly over the right-field fence for his sixth long ball over the past eight games. The five-time All-Star has been the catalyst for the Dodgers, who have a 27-5 record when he scores a run.
The 29-year-old is in the midst of an MVP-caliber stretch, batting .341 (46 for 135) with 14 homers and 29 RBIs since April 19. He leads the majors with 49 runs scored this year and is on pace to cross the plate more than 170 times this season.
Roberts said Betts’ ability to put up huge numbers while contributing small boosts — such as moving Gavin Lux from first to second with a groundout in the sixth — are evidence that the slugger can contribute in a variety of ways.
“He’s still playing the team game of baseball,” Roberts said. “He’s been fantastic.”
Turner added two doubles and two singles, contributing four of the team’s 10 hits. Daniel Hudson threw a scoreless ninth for his third save, working around Ketel Marte’s leadoff double.
The D-backs responded to Betts’ homer, taking a 2-1 lead in the second thanks to two run-scoring triples, first by Jake McCarthy and then by Geraldo Perdomo. Both were line drives into Chase Field’s cavernous right-center field gap.
The Dodgers won despite several baserunning mistakes. Edwin Rios and Freddie Freeman were picked off first base, Trea Turner was caught stealing and Gavin Lux was thrown out at third after trying to tag from second base on a fly out.
Tony Gonsolin (5-0) had another good start for the Dodgers, giving up just two earned runs over six innings. The right-hander hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in any of his nine starts this season and has a 1.80 ERA over 45 innings.
“I liked the efficiency, I liked everything,” Roberts said. “Today was just an all-around good performance. It’s kind of commonplace now.”
L.A. has won three straight and 12 of its past 14.
The Dodgers go for the four-game sweep on Sunday.
Kelly (3-3) gave up three runs over five innings. After a stellar start to the season, the Arizona right-hander has given up 17 earned runs over his last 17 innings.
It was a frustrating ninth inning for the D-backs, who were in good position after Marte’s double into the left-center gap. But Christian Walker grounded out before David Peralta and McCarthy struck out to end the game.
“The name of the game is coming through at the most critical moment, having your competitive best when your competitive best is needed,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I felt like we could do a little bit better in those key situations.”
TREA AT 20
Trea Turner extended his current hitting streak to 20 games with an RBI single in the fifth.
DODGERS ADD PILLAR
The Dodgers have added veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar, who gets a one-year contract calling for a $2.5 million salary while in the major leagues and $180,000 while in the minors.
He can earn an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses for plate appearances, getting the maximum for 550.
The 33-year-old Pillar is in his 10th big league season. He played for the Mets last year, batting .231 with 15 homers.
Dodgers: RHP Michael Grove was called up from the minors. RHP Ryan Pepiot was sent to the minors after his start on Friday and the team placed IF Max Muncy (left elbow inflammation) on the injured list. RHP Tommy Kahnle was transferred to the 60-day IL. ... Roberts returned to the Dodgers after missing Friday’s game to attend his daughter’s high school graduation in California.
Diamondbacks: OF/C Daulton Varsho (right shoulder soreness) was scratched from the starting lineup and replaced by Pavin Smith. Varsho was hit in the back of the right shoulder with a pitch on Friday. Manager Torey Lovullo said medical tests on Varsho came back clean, so it was just a matter of dealing with soreness. ... LHP Kyle Nelson was activated from the injured list and LHP Tyler Holton was sent to Triple-A Reno. ... RHP Luke Weaver (right elbow inflammation) was transferred to the 60-day IL.
The teams wrap up their four-game series on Sunday. The D-backs are scheduled to start RHP Zach Davies (2-2, 4.81 ERA). The Dodgers will counter with LHP Tyler Anderson (5-0, 3.30).
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