Dodgers prevail in extra innings against Arizona Diamondbacks
In right field, Yasmany Tomas drifted back, toward the wall. Howie Kendrick had sent a line drive sailing across Chase Field.
Did it have enough? The Dodgers bench leaned up over the dugout railing.
Tomas pushed off the chain-link fencing on the wall and jumped, but he never had a chance. In the 10th inning Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kendrick had delivered a go-ahead home run.
He stepped across home plate, and, as he reached the dugout, he cracked a smile.
“I don’t ever know when I hit them,” Kendrick said of his home run. “That’s why I run hard.”
The blast propelled the Dodgers to a welcomed 6-4 win. It came at a good time. The day before, Manager Don Mattingly called the Dodgers’ loss perhaps the worst feeling of the year.
That loss Monday was a marathon — the Dodgers’ longest nine-inning game of the year. Mike Bolsinger, the starting pitcher, had fallen ill. A close review went against the Dodgers. The lineup hadn’t capitalized early, and the bullpen blew two leads.
“It didn’t really matter, it seemed like, what we did,” Mattingly said at the time. “Whatever we tried, it wasn’t the right guy.”
After the game, the mood was somber. Outfielder Yasiel Puig disappeared into the weight room, and a series of loud booms was heard. They abated when he exited. Not long after that, Mattingly issued a challenge.
“We got guys that have been around and done it a lot,” Mattingly said. “You can’t let this one be a carryover.”
The Dodgers responded with a comeback win of their own.
The team will nonetheless be happy to see June go. The offense has disappeared for long stretches. In their first 32 games this year, they averaged 5.3 runs. In June, it was 3.9.
Baseball’s most expensive team ended the month 15-15 and avoided posting a losing record in a month for the first time since September 2013. They also avoided coughing up first place in the National League West. The San Francisco Giants’ loss meant the Dodgers’ lead in the division bumped up to 11/2 games.
Tuesday began with a continuation of Monday’s troubles. A report from a forthcoming book on the Dodgers relayed simmering tensions involving Puig and teammates.
But inside the clubhouse, the team was loose. Players went about their business as usual. Some gathered on a couch to watch a Women’s World Cup soccer game.
In the second inning catcher Yasmani Grandal hit his second home run in as many games, but the Dodgers again blew the lead when Carlos Frias gave up a go-ahead, two-run home run to Nick Ahmed in the fourth inning.
This time, the bullpen recovered. Juan Nicasio, Pedro Baez and Joel Peralta held the Diamondbacks scoreless and could turn the lead over to closer Kenley Jansen. In the seventh inning, Kendrick tied the score with a single that scored Jimmy Rollins.
Kendrick has quietly become one of the lineup’s most important hitters. In games when he records a run batted in, the Dodgers are 21-2, the best record of any regular.
For the bullpen, some shock from Monday lingered. After Bolsinger’s exit Monday, the bullpen had given up two runs or more in each of the remaining four innings.
The ninth inning recalled that painful memory, but only for a moment.
Welington Castillo, who had driven in the decisive run Monday, hit a ball high and deep toward the 407-foot sign in center field at Chase Field. Apparently sensing dread, Dodgers reliever Peralta took a step toward the dugout.
The crowd roared until, a step before the wall, center fielder Joc Pederson plucked the ball from the air.
Peralta went back to the rubber and breathed. The Dodgers would not relive Monday’s pain again.
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