February 3, 2023

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Castellanos, D-backs hit hard by Dodgers

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PHOENIX — For much of the 2022 season the story for Humberto Castellanos had been “bend but don’t break.” Frequently pitching into the sixth inning and keeping his team in the game had become the expected. But on Thursday, he was roughed up for six early runs by the Dodgers’ star-studded lineup, leading to a 14-1 D-backs defeat.

Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman led off the game with back-to-back doubles. One out later, Will Smith singled home Freeman, staking L.A. to a 2-0 lead. The hit parade continued in the second inning as the Dodgers sent nine men to the plate, scoring four more runs on six hits. The big blow was Freeman’s fourth homer of the year, a three-run shot to right.

Castellanos gutted through two scoreless innings after that, coming out after the fourth. His final line was six runs allowed on 10 hits and one walk with one strikeout. Twenty-seven of his 96 pitches were foul balls (28%), and he induced only four whiffs on 53 swings.

The D-backs had opportunities to get back in the game early, but the Dodgers’ defense helped out starter Mitch White. Second baseman Gavin Lux made two diving stops on sinking line drives to rob base hits, the second of which came with runners on first and third and two outs in the second inning.

The D-backs had runners on first and third again in the third inning, but right fielder Mookie Betts ran down a couple of fly balls, one to the gap in right-center and the other down the right-field line to shut down Arizona once again. A couple of two-out singles by Daulton Varsho and Josh Rojas in the fifth went for naught as Ketel Marte grounded out to third on the first pitch he saw.

From there, the game got out of hand. The Dodgers scored four more runs in an ugly sixth inning that included three doubles off reliever Luis Frías. The inning was punctuated by a miscommunication on Edwin Ríos’ ground ball up the middle between Geraldo Perdomo and Marte. They both went for the ball, and Perdomo was closer, and manager Torey Lovullo indicated it was Perdomo’s ball.

“Whoever’s close to the ball needs to retrieve it,” Lovullo said.

But Perdomo pulled up to go back to the bag as the ball went by Marte, resulting in a base hit. Marte threw his hands up in frustration, demonstrably upset with Perdomo. Lovullo was visibly unhappy describing the situation and the body language displayed.

“That’s not how we play the game here,” Lovullo said. “I think everybody was down, it looked down. By me looking at them, I shouldn’t be able to tell if we’re having a good game or bad game.”

Caleb Smith, pressed into a game in which he wasn’t supposed to appear, gave up a long two-run homer to Chris Taylor in the seventh inning. In the ninth, Lovullo was forced to go to position player Jake Hager, who gave up the final two runs of the game. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts responded in kind, sending Hanser Alberto out to pitch the bottom of the inning.

By the time it was over, the Dodgers had 24 hits and every starter had recorded at least two hits for just the second time since the franchise relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.

Christian Walker hit his 12th home run, tying him for the NL lead, to put the D-backs on the board in the sixth inning.

The D-backs dropped back to .500 at 23-23. They are 2-6 against the Dodgers this year and 7-30 against them since 2020.

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