Tyler Anderson and Dodgers cap stellar road trip with sweeping performance
They visited three cities in 10 days. They traveled more than 5,000 miles. They played almost 33 hours of baseball.
The most important number from the Dodgers’ 10-game trip the last two weeks: They won eight games, the last of which came Sunday in a 3-1 defeat of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Behind six scoreless innings from Tyler Anderson, an early scoring barrage that included a Will Smith home run and RBIs from Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner, and another successful day from the bullpen, the Dodgers completed a four-game sweep at Chase Field and finished their trip with an 8-2 record.
Tony Gonsolin worked six innings in his latest strong start and improved to 5-0, and the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 on Saturday.
It was the club’s most wins during a trip since 1997.
“This is something we penciled and said, this is gonna be a long stretch for us, this road trip,” manager Dave Roberts said. “To look back for a second and say we went 8-2, it’s fantastic.”
The Dodgers (33-14) followed a familiar script Sunday.
Anderson dispatched the Diamondbacks (23-26) by attacking the zone, striking out six batters while giving up only five hits and one walk. The left-hander lowered his ERA to 2.90 and has a 20-inning scoreless streak stretching to a start on May 17.
“I just wanted to be on a team that was gonna win, and have a chance to maybe do something special,” said Anderson, who was signed in the spring and began the season in the bullpen but has since helped compensate for injuries in the starting rotation. “Just do whatever I can to help.”
The lineup provided some early run support, too.
In the second inning, Smith battled Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies during a 12-pitch at-bat. Davies stayed stubborn with his sinker, throwing it six times once the count was full.
Smith fouled off the first five, then hammered the last one the other way, a solo blast into the Chase Field pool area for his fifth home run of the season.
The Dodgers tacked on two more runs an inning later.
After Gavin Lux singled and Austin Barnes drew a walk, both runners advanced on a Mookie Betts fly ball to left.
That set up Freeman for an RBI single, the first baseman slicing a two-strike single the other way against the shift. Turner drove in another run with a soft ground ball in the next at-bat.
Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel intimidates on the mound. But his real persona has quickly become a favorite with teammates.
The Dodgers didn’t do much at the plate the rest of the day, finishing the afternoon with four hits.
They also suffered a couple of misplays defensively, and were picked off once on the bases, when Turner got caught with too big a lead at second.
But unlike their last visit to Arizona, when a string of sloppy play led to a series loss in April, the Dodgers wrapped up their second four-game sweep of the Diamondbacks this month thanks to three solid innings from the bullpen.
David Price struck out two in the seventh. Evan Phillips benefitted from a double play in the eighth, the Dodgers’ third of the game.
Craig Kimbrel gave up a run in the ninth — raising his ERA to 4.50 — but stayed perfect in save opportunities by securing his 10th of the season.
“The last two games haven’t been the best baseball we’ve played,” Freeman said. “But when you got the pitching staff like we do, we were able to battle through and get the win.”
Pillar makes Dodgers debut
Kevin Pillar always dreamed of playing for the Dodgers while growing up in the San Fernando Valley and attending West Hills Chaminade High and later Cal State Dominguez Hills.
On Sunday, he took the field in their uniform for the first time, marking his club debut with a diving catch in left field in the fourth inning.
Pillar, 33, signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers this spring after spending most of his nine-year career with the Toronto Blue Jays.
In triple A this year, tweaks to his approach and swing netted impressive results as the outfielder hit .315 with nine home runs in 36 games. He was recalled Saturday when Max Muncy went on the injured list.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to come up here and prove to myself, and prove to this league, that I’m a better version of myself,” Pillar said. “That I’m ready for this opportunity.”
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