PHOENIX (AP) — Christian Walker hit a three-run double in the eighth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks broke out of their offensive funk to rally past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 Friday night.
“I know what this team has been going through and how hard they’ve been playing, so come through and be there for my teammates meant a lot to me,” Walker said.
The Diamondbacks labored through the first seven innings, managing one run on five hits.
Trailing 3-2 in the eighth, Arizona loaded the bases against Blake Treinen (0-1) and Walker lined a double just past the outreached glove of center fielder Mookie Betts. David Peralta followed with a run-scoring single to make it 5-3.
Hector Rondon (1-0) got one out in the eighth for his first win with Arizona. Archie Bradley walked a batter and gave up a double to Betts in the ninth before getting Cody Bellinger to pop out for his second save in three chances.
The Diamondbacks entered the game 29th in the big leagues hitting .196 and had scored 20 runs the first seven games.
“I think everybody can feel the emotion of this win,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I know the stadium is empty, but I think you all can understand the excitement we had when that ball landed and we took the lead.”
Betts hit his first homer with the Dodgers, had three hits, drove in two runs and made a sensational, long throw for an out at third. Corey Seager homered for the third straight game.
The Dodgers’ bullpen had been one of the best in baseball early in the season, holding opponents to four earned runs in 35 1/3 innings. Walker’s hit came after the Dodgers walked Eduardo Escobar to load the bases.
“For me, on the road, guy on second and third, open base, I just like the matchup against Walker,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It just didn’t work out.”
Betts signed one of the richest contracts in baseball history, agreeing to a $365 million, 12-year deal on the eve of opening day.
The 27-year-old got off to a slow start in his first season in Los Angeles, entering Friday’s game hitting .206 with a pair of doubles.
Betts had an immediate impact Friday night, throwing from deep in the right field corner to third base on the fly to get Ketel Marte, who was trying to stretch a double in the first inning.
“It was pretty impressive,” Roberts said. “That’s over 300 feet in the air on a dime.”
Betts hit his first homer with the Dodgers in the fourth inning, a towering solo shot just inside the foul pole in left. He added a run-scoring single to put the Dodgers up 2-0 in the fifth.
Betts finished 3 for 5 after opening the season hitting .206.
“I was kind of searching, trying to find the right mechanics for my swing,” Betts said. “It’s kind of hard with everything going on to get enough work in, but I was able to put in some good work today and have a good game.”
Kole Calhoun hit a run-scoring double in the fifth inning to pull the Diamondbacks within 2-1, but Gonzalez worked out of a jam to limit the damage.
Seager hit a long solo homer in the eighth inning off Kevin Ginkel to put Los Angeles up 3-2.
Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen had a no-decision in his opening start after holding San Diego to a run on two hits in four innings of a 4-3 win. He walked four in the opening inning of that game, but was much more aggressive against the Dodgers, striking out the first four hitters he faced.
Gallen gave up Betts’ homer and ran into more trouble in the fourth, but struck out Joc Pederson to strand two runners. He allowed two runs on five hits.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw is expected to make his season debut Sunday against Arizona. He was slated to be the Dodgers’ opening day starter, but was scratched due to back stiffness. His return pushes Walker Buehler’s next scheduled start to Monday.
Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed was out of the lineup for a rest day after opening the season 2 for 24. He grounded out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias will start Saturday’s game against Arizona after giving up a run and five hits in five innings of a no-decision against San Francisco last Sunday.
Diamondbacks: RHP Luke Weaver will look to bounce back against the Dodgers after giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings against San Diego in his 2020 debut.
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