Dodgers fall to Diamondbacks, 5-4, in longest regular-season game in Dodger Stadium history
After six hours and five minutes, after A.J. Pollock tormented his former team and Joe Kelly blew two leads, after the postgame fireworks were canceled to the ire of fans and a mass exodus followed, after an exceedingly long replay review bewildered those remaining and a few bleacher brawls erupted, and after a woozy umpire exited to produce another extended delay, the Dodgers lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 in the longest regular-season game in Dodger Stadium history Friday night.
The Diamondbacks broke the weird evening’s stalemate in the 13th inning on Carson Kelly’s 0-2, jam-shot double down the right-field line off Yimi Garcia. The hit scored Nick Ahmed from second base. Ahmed had reached on a two-out walk the Dodgers thought he didn’t earn.
Garcia’s struggles were possible because of Kelly’s forgettable Dodgers debut and the offense’s failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities. A night after slugging eight home runs to set a major-league record for opening day, the Dodgers left 17 runners on base and went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Kelly’s Dodgers career began with him squandering a three-run lead in the seventh inning and a one-run lead in the eighth. The trouble began in the seventh when Pedro Baez struck out Nick Ahmed swinging at a fastball but had the ball bounce away from Russell Martin, who was playing his first game as a Dodger since 2010. The catcher couldn’t retrieve it and throw out Ahmed at first base in time. Next, Baez walked Alex Avila. An infield meeting followed. It proved to be the Dodgers stalling to get Kelly extra time in the bullpen. Once the group dispersed, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Baez and gave the ball to Kelly.
“I wouldn’t do anything different,” Roberts said. “We got beat.”
The blunders soiled Ross Stripling’s strong start. The right-hander, in the starting rotation only because of injuries, held the Diamondbacks scoreless over 5 ⅓ innings. He allowed three hits, had five strikeouts, walked one, and threw 76 pitches. Roberts decided to replace him with left-hander Scott Alexander with the bases empty in the sixth inning to face David Peralta, a left-handed hitter. Alexander was the first of the seven Dodgers relievers used. Brock Stewart was the only pitcher left in the bullpen.
“I was a little bit surprised, but I understand,” Stripling said. “And that’s the way it went.”
Pollock was wondering on Thursday morning whether facing his former team to start his tenure with the Dodgers was a good thing. The center fielder decided it was for the best. The opening day fervor rendered the reunion a secondary — if that — storyline. He could play and lay low against the Diamondbacks.
His performance a day later blew his cover. Pollock haunted his previous employer Friday, reaching base five times in six plate appearances. He began the night at the plate by cracking a solo home run. He followed with a two-run single, a walk, a double, and a scorching line drive that bounced off Diamondbacks first baseman Jake Lamb’s glove to lead off the ninth inning.
It ignited a scoring opportunity for Los Angeles but wasn’t cashed in.The Dodgers got another shot with Pollock at the plate in the 10th inning. First, Enrique Hernandez cracked a two-out single off Andrew Chafin, who was then replaced by right-hander Matt Andriese to face Justin Turner. Andriese plunked Turner on the left wrist. It was the same wrist he fractured a year ago, but after the game Turner said it caught him on the protective pad he wears. Andriese’s wildness continued when a pitch drilled home-plate umpire Scott Barry square in the face. The ball ricocheted off his mask to the Diamondbacks’ dugout, allowing the runners to advance.
Andriese then walked Austin Barnes before Pollock stroked a groundball back to the pitcher, who made a miraculous behind-the-back stop to escape. The magic remained in the 11th inning. After working a two-out walk, Cody Bellinger attempted to steal second base. He was called out, but a crew chief review was conducted. Three minutes and 41 seconds later, after the remaining fans grew restless and the players observed in annoyance, the umpires finally made a decision. The call was upheld, but made, unusually, with the crew chief Brian Gorman still wearing the headset and talking on it. A confused Roberts emerged to argue to no avail.
“That was a first for me,” Roberts said. “I didn’t know what more they needed to talk about.”
Another delay followed before the start of the 12th inning to allow Gorman to put on the necessary gear to replace Barry behind the plate. Barry left the game feeling the effects from Andriese’s wild pitch from the previous inning.
Ray created his own mess in the third by falling behind 3-0 on four of the first five hitters he faced and walking three of them to load the bases for Pollock. He continued torturing his former club with a two-out, two-run single up the middle.
Ray was laboring again in the fourth inning when Hernandez stepped to the plate with two on and two out. He nearly busted the game open. Hernandez cracked a 2-2 fastball down the left-field line into the seats, but a few feet foul. He struck out swinging on the next pitch.
The stress, however, was accumulating on Ray’s arm. He escaped the peril with 83 pitches. He lasted one more inning. He struck out nine but issued five walks as his fastball hovered between 90 and 92 mph — a couple ticks below his usual velocity last season.
The Dodgers failed to take advantage. Their final opportunity with runners on base surfaced, fittingly, with opening-day starter Hyun-Jin Ryu at the plate to pinch-hit in the 12th inning. Runners stood at first and second. Ryu grounded out. Moments later, Arizona finally pounced.
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