LOS ANGELES -- Starting pitcher Bud Norris lasted just one out, but that hardly mattered as an offensive outburst from the Dodgers covered an unexpected bullpen game in a 14-3 victory for Los Angeles on Sunday.
After falling behind, 3-0, in the fourth inning, the Dodgers' offense went to work quickly. A rally in the bottom of the fourth tied the game, then home runs from Yasmani Grandal, Corey Seager, and Joc Pederson topped off three more multi-run innings. Grandal's homer, his eighth of the month, tied him for the lead among MLB catchers this season. He also doubled and finished 3-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs.
"Yasmani's really been swinging the bat well over the last five, six weeks," manager Dave Roberts said. "All year long, he's been squaring the baseball up, but didn't get any luck. But he's continued to grind and do what he does and now he's starting to really see some fruits. He's picking us up big time."
The offense came at the expense of Patrick Corbin and the D-backs' bullpen. Corbin was pulled in the sixth inning after allowing eight hits and six runs, three earned. That's at least an improvement on his last start against the Dodgers less than two weeks ago, when he allowed six earned runs in four innings.
"We didn't play a very good ballgame today," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Patrick Corbin pitched very well. We cost him a bunch of pitches with errors. The [Jake] Lamb error, that's a double-play ball all the way and [shortstop Chris Owings] threw the ball wide there. Those cost him numerous pitches where he might have been able to go through the seventh inning today. Our defense really hurt us in that game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Seager's shot: Corey Seager's three-run homer in the seventh gave the rookie shortstop his first of July and tied him with Justin Turner for the team lead with 18. While it's tempting to say the Home Run Derby could have had an effect on his swing, it's worth pointing out that he was also homerless in the 10 games before the All-Star break and it isn't exactly like he's been hurting at the plate. In 55 plate appearances since the break, Seager is hitting .396/.418/.625.
"Yeah, [the Derby] really killed me," a sarcastic Seager said. "Home Run Derbys are apparently a curse for not being able to hit. I was doing everything, but hit home runs I guess, so it's just one of those things."
Bullpen struggles: Once again the D-backs' bullpen struggled and was unable to keep the game close. Right-hander Dominic Leone allowed a three-run homer in the sixth and then Steve Hathaway, who was making his big league debut, gave up a three-run homer in the seventh. Finally, Evan Marshall, who was called up from Triple-A Reno earlier in the day, allowed three runs, two of which came on a Joc Pederson homer.
"When he pitches down, when he get in on guys he's really good," Hale said of Leone. "But he leaves that one pitch up and people are taking advantage of it. He's got to work down in the zone. He's got to keep pounding it, keep working in the bullpen and get better."
That's a new one: The D-backs found an unusual way to score in the fourth inning when a wild pitch from Stripling briefly disappeared. The pitch bounced in the dirt and hit Grandal in the face mask, then fell behind the catcher's chest protector. The ball fell out seconds later, but home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor ruled the ball to be lodged and out of play, allowing the runners on the corners to advance and scoring a run.
Both Roberts and Vin Scully said after the game that they had never seen that happen before, while Stripling said he he had never heard of the rule. More >
Defense struggles: The D-backs committed two errors -- a fielding miscue by Lamb in the third, which allowed a pair of unearned runs to score, and a throwing error by Owings in the fifth. There were also plays where no error was committed, but the play still could have been made.
"He's pitched pretty well the last few starts," Lamb said of Corbin. "And I feel like we're just not making plays for him, myself included. At the same time you have to keep making pitches and staying locked in on defense. Really frustrating loss. It was ugly."
NORRIS EXITS EARLY
Shortly after walking leadoff hitter Jean Segura, Norris grabbed his side while grimacing and paused the game for a visit from the team trainer. He threw a pair of practice pitches and stayed in the game, but after a popout from Michael Bourn, Roberts opted to pull his starter and bring in long reliever Ross Stripling. In 3 2/3 innings, Stripling allowed three hits and two runs while throwing 51 pitches. Six relievers were used by the Dodgers. Roberts said after the game that Norris has a right lat strain and is expected to make his next start. More >
TOLES TOO Andrew Toles is a player who is rarely pinch-run for. Starting pitchers are rarely used as pinch-runners. So imagine the surprise at Dodger Stadium when Roberts opted to use Kenta Maeda as a pinch-runner for Toles after the outfielder reached base on a single. Roberts said after the game a minor foot problem for Toles prompted the move.
"Toles had something going on with his foot last night," Roberts said. "He was wearing some different spikes and the feet didn't respond well. It was really bothering him today. He said he can go out there and give us an at-bat, but to go out there and run and make it any worse, I didn't want to do that."
"I was in the training room just kind of doing my normal shoulder stuff, my pregame routine and getting ready. I see [Norris] tweak something and [Roberts] goes out there. I look at [Adam Liberatore] and I'm like 'Should I go out there?' and he goes 'Yeah, run.' Then you hear our bullpen coach yell 'Strip!' He's screaming down the hallway and I'm like 'I'm coming!'" -- Stripling on how he was called to the bullpen
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Jake Lamb fielded a grounder from Yasiel Puig and stepped on third base for a close force out of Scott Van Slyke. Los Angeles challenged the call, saying Van Slyke's foot reached the base first, but the call stood to end the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs:Archie Bradley will get the start Monday when the D-backs kick off a six-game homestand with a three-game series against the Nationals. Bradley was outstanding in his last start when allowed just one run over seven innings against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Dodgers: After an off day Monday for the Dodgers, Brandon McCarthy will make his sixth start since returning from Tommy John surgery. He lasted just four innings his last time out, his shortest start as a Dodger, but there's no denying his numbers (2.39 ERA, 11.3 K/9) have been excellent since coming back.