Dodgers fumble their way to a split with the Diamondbacks

The Dodgers staggered through a doubleheader Tuesday with two oddly similar games with wildly different outcomes.

The opener lasted more than three hours as of noon, and the Dodgers eventually went from flat to focused, exploding for five runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 at Dodger Stadium.

Another more than three hours elapsed before the second game began, and the Dodgers again fell behind early, giving up their third unearned run of the day in the second inning and two more in the sixth, giving them a season-high four game errors — and six in the double header.

Max Muncy hit a two-run home run in the sixth, but Ketel Marte answered with a solo shot in the seventh and kept the Diamondbacks ahead. Muncy finished eighth and scorched a line drive with two outs and a runner on, but right fielder Jordan Luplow stopped him. The Diamondbacks continued a run in the ninth round and won 5-2.

More from the Mirror: The Dodgers amassed 12 singles and a homer from Austin Barnes in the first game and seven singles and Muncy’s homer in the second game.

In both games, the Dodgers reached base frequently but scored few goals. In the second game, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman singled in the first inning. Cody Bellinger singled and Trea Turner went in third. Will Smith and Justin Turner finished fourth. All were stranded.

“We didn’t play good baseball,” said manager Dave Roberts. “It’s hard to win when you’re giving up outs and bases.”

Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson continued to plead for inclusion in the postseason rotation, giving up three unearned runs and two hits in six innings while striking out five and lowering his ERA to 2.52.

But Anderson had to own a base-loaded no-out jam in the sixth. He hit a batsman, dropped a pitch first on a grounder to Freddie Freeman and hit another batsman. Then the Dodgers’ defense, which had been shaky all day, got worse and worse.

Carson Kelly hit Mookie Betts with a sacrificial fly that saw Jake McCarthy move up to third. Betts’ shot went past Muncy and McCarthy scored. Anderson assisted the game, but his throw home flawed, allowing Christian Walker to move up to third place.

The balance? Three errors in the inning – two by Anderson – and the Diamondbacks led 3-0.

“I felt good [pitching] but I turned into a one-man bear of the bad news for an inning,” Anderson said.

The first game caused similar frustration for the Dodgers through the eighth inning. An RBI single by rookie Miguel Vargas from the glove of Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Josh Rojas capped the five-run rally. It was the second hit of the inning for Vargas, who started the frame with a sharp single followed by Barnes’ home run to reduce the lead to 5-3.

“This is a big moment for him,” Justin Turner said of Vargas. “It’s not easy going from playing in the subclasses every day to appearing and adapting to a role, maybe playing once or twice a week.”

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte is hit by a pitch as Dodgers catcher Will Smith looks on.

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte is hit by a pitch as Dodgers catcher Will Smith looks on during the sixth inning Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Dodgers planned to have rookies Michael Grove and Ryan Pepiot field the entire first game to rest the veterans, but as the table turned toward nine, Roberts chose right-hander Chris Martin, who pulled the Diamondbacks back to his second place gain save since joining the Dodgers at the close.

“We came out flat so it was good to see life in the later innings,” said Barnes, who hit singles twice and hit the home run that went 394 feet.

Roberts denied the characterization, saying flatly, “I don’t think we were floored. We sanded the bats early and raised the pitch. They gave us extra outs in game eight after we had previously done everything we could to give them the game.”

Grove hit seven in five innings but gave up nine hits, including two home runs. He relied on an effective curveball in his fifth major league appearance and fourth start.

“He has a very good curve,” said Barnes. “He fights, he competes out there.”

However, Grove’s four-seam fastball triggered zero swings and misses. He fell victim to errors from Freeman and Vargas that resulted in unearned runs, and the Dodgers were 5-1 behind when Pepiot took the mound to start the sixth inning.

Pepiot shrugged off a shaky start and pitched three scoreless innings. With two ons and one out in the sixth, he was late on a groundball by the speedy McCarthy to Freeman, who turned first to throw for the second, changed his mind and spun around to throw to Pepiot, who covered the pocket.

Referee Adam Beck called McCarthy safe, but replay showed he was out. Pepiot settled, knocked out Christian Walker to finish the sixth, then left the Diamondbacks in the seventh and eighth in turn.

Vargas made two bad shots, one coming right after he made an exceptional catch in the fifth inning. Marte followed up Walker’s 35th home run with a sharp shot into left field, which Vargas caught while rotating his body to the right after opening his left shoulder when the ball was hit.

Ten hours after the opening game’s first pitch, the Dodgers had a split to show, their record still at a smashing 103-45 with 14 games to play in the regular season. Dodgers fumble their way to a split with the Diamondbacks

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