Before a deluge of runs that seemed as if it would never end Saturday, the Los Angeles Dodgers were looking like a team that desperately needed the approaching All-Star break.
And after a run of improved play, the Arizona Diamondbacks appeared to be the team that was hitting pause at the wrong time.
That all changed Saturday when the Dodgers matched a franchise record with eight home runs and scored the most runs in a single game in Dodger Stadium history in a 22-1 victory. All eyes will be on the Diamondbacks’ response when the teams meet again Sunday afternoon.
Justin Turner and Mookie Betts hit grand slams, while AJ Pollock and Albert Pujols hit two home runs each, as the Dodgers scored nine runs in the first two innings and 13 over the final two.
“I think I saw that it was a Dodgers record,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s hard to score runs in this game and to put up crooked numbers like we did. It’s as good as I’ve ever seen.”
The Dodgers could use another laugher Sunday in the first-half finale in order to not tax a bullpen that has been stretched thin of late.
Tony Gonsolin (1-0, 2.11 ERA) will pitch for the Dodgers in just his seventh appearance (sixth start) since dealing with right-shoulder inflammation to start the season. Gonsolin has pitched more than four innings in an outing just once, throwing 5 1/3 in his most recent start — a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins last Tuesday. He took a no-decision in the game.
There have been Dodgers roster moves aplenty this month, with 10 different relievers either called up, sent down or placed on the injured list since July 2.
While right-handed reliever Joe Kelly got a day to recharge Saturday, Roberts said he intends to have all of his relievers available Sunday, including late-inning workhorses Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen.
“We’re going to do whatever we can to win,” Roberts said. “And then they can have four days off.”
In five career appearances (four starts) against Arizona, Gonsolin is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA.
Before the Diamondbacks were rocked for the most runs they have given up in a game in franchise history, Arizona had won three of four. It was the first time the Diamondbacks had won three games in four tries since April 29-May 2.
That is now a distant memory, although manager Torey Lovullo said Saturday wasn’t the season’s low point. The Diamondbacks, after all, had losing streaks of 13 and 17 games.
“That ought to tell you the type of season we’ve had,” he said.
Added Lovullo: “I process it one way: We got our butts kicked. I don’t like it, I don’t think anybody in that clubhouse likes it, I know the coaches don’t like it. We have to find a way to get better and stop games like that from happening. It’s unacceptable.”
The Diamondbacks still can win their second consecutive series when right-hander Merrill Kelly (5-7, 4.60) takes the mound. He is 0-2 in four starts against the Dodgers with a 4.70 ERA.
It would be Arizona’s first series victory on the road since winning series against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves on the same trip in late April.
While Diamondbacks veteran infielder Asdrubal Cabrera (hamstring) went on the injured list Saturday, veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun (hamstring) returned for his first game action since April 27.
–Field Level Media