Rios, Betts hit back-to-back HRs, Dodgers top D-backs 6-4
PHOENIX (AP) — Mookie Betts was almost apologetic about a lack of offense for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
Then the slugger was reminded that the team’s lineup still smacked three homers and had nine hits in a 6-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The way the Dodgers are hitting the ball these days, a bad day is relative.
“It seemed a little slow,” Betts said. “But if you take a look from your point of view, yeah, it makes sense, we scored six. That should win a game.”
And it did. Again.
The Dodgers continued their recent roll, winning for the 11th time in 13 games. Edwin Ríos and Betts hit back-to-back homers in the second inning and Trea Turner added a solo shot in the sixth.
It was the second win of the series for the Dodgers, who had a season-high 24 hits in a 14-1 victory on Thursday. This game wasn’t as lopsided, but Los Angeles was still in control for most of the night.
Batting ninth in the stacked Dodgers lineup, Ríos pulled a fastball from Madison Bumgarner over the right-field wall for a three-run homer and a 3-0 lead. It was his sixth homer this season.
The 28-year-old has struggled to find consistent playing time over the past four seasons because the Dodgers are so deep, but has usually produced when his number is called. He has 19 homers in 242 career at-bats and is starting to force his way into the lineup on a more regular basis.
“I’m always ready,” Rios said. “It feels good knowing when you’re coming to the field that you’re going to play. Definitely soaking it in and trying to take advantage of it.”
Betts followed with a no-doubter to left that pushed the advantage to 4-0.
It was obvious Bumgarner (2-3) didn’t have his best stuff. The lefty struggled with command for much of the night — even throwing a pitch behind Justin Turner — and gave up five runs over six innings.
The Dodgers have won 11 of 13 and lead the National League with a 31-14 record.
Los Angeles rookie Ryan Pepiot gave up one run over 4 1/3 innings in his third big league start. The right-hander threw four scoreless innings before running into trouble in the fifth. The Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out, but reliever Brusdar Graterol (1-2) got out of the jam, allowing just one run to score on a sacrifice fly.
The D-backs rallied in the ninth off closer Craig Kimbrel, but couldn’t finish the job. Josh Rojas had an RBI double and Christian Walker knocked in another with a run-scoring groundout to pull within 6-4, but Kimbrel got David Peralta on a game-ending groundout.
“We just dug ourselves too big of a hole,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We fought back, made some noise in the ninth, had the right guys in the right spot with runners out there, but just couldn’t get the big hit.”
Betts’ homer was his 13th this season and kept up a sensational stretch. He’s hit safely in 28 of 33 games since April 19 and entered Friday batting .341 with 27 RBIs and 41 runs scored over the same stretch.
ODDS AND ENDS
Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts was not at the game. He returned to Southern California for his daughter’s graduation and is expected back Saturday. Bench coach Bob Geren managed the team Friday. … RHP Phil Bickford was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Pepiot on the roster.
Diamondbacks: Called up LHP Tyler Holton from Triple-A Reno and optioned RHP Luis Frias to Triple-A. … JaVale McGee, the backup center for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, took batting practice and shagged fly balls in the outfield. He also threw out the first pitch. McGee was promoting his 6th Annual Juglife Foundation Water For Life Charity Softball game on June 22 … Leadoff hitter Daulton Varsho (right shoulder soreness) left in the fifth inning. He was hit on the shoulder by a pitch in the first inning. Lovullo said Varsho is “day-to-day” and that X-rays are negative.
The teams meet again Saturday night The D-backs will start RHP Merrill Kelly (3-2, 3.49 ERA). The Dodgers will counter with RHP Tony Gonsolin (4-0, 1.62).
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