After every unusual thing that had already happened between the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks this week, two catchers taking the mound wasn’t even the height of wackiness for this weird series.
There’s nothing weird about the Dodgers’ prolific offense, which shook off the disappointment of a 13-inning loss and just kept pounding away.
Cody Bellinger hit two homers and drove in a career high-tying six runs, Justin Turner added five RBIs and Los Angeles rebounded splendidly from that early-morning defeat with an 18-5 victory over Arizona on Saturday night.
Bellinger had four hits and Joc Pederson had three after leading off the game with his third homer for the Dodgers, who got 19 hits from 11 players. The two-time defending NL champions have scored 34 runs in their first three games, hitting 13 homers and looking like a powerhouse even before April begins.
“It’s tough to navigate our lineup,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
These NL West rivals’ seasons are just three games old, but they’ve already been extraordinarily eventful. The Dodgers set a franchise single-game record by hitting eight homers Thursday to win on opening day, but they stranded 17 runners Friday night while losing the longest regular season game in Dodger Stadium history, a 365-minute affair.
By comparison, this win was a fairly ordinary blowout — except for the two catchers making their big league pitching debuts in the late innings.
Arizona backup John Ryan Murphy gave up seven runs in two innings of mop-up relief, including homers by Bellinger and Austin Barnes in the eighth.
Dodgers backup Russell Martin also made his first pitching appearance, closing it out with a perfect ninth inning on 10 pitches.
“It would have been really, really hard to blow that lead,” the 36-year-old Martin said. “It was weird going toward the catcher (after the final out). I’ve never had that happen before.”
Turner, Bellinger and A.J. Pollock had consecutive RBI singles during the Dodgers’ four-run third inning, while Corey Seager, Bellinger and Max Muncy drove in runs during a five-run sixth.
Jarrod Dyson hit a leadoff homer for the Diamondbacks. Alex Avila, Adam Jones and David Peralta also homered for Arizona, but only after the Dodgers had built up a big lead.
Zack Godley (0-1) had the Diamondbacks’ third straight disappointing start, but he stayed in even after eight consecutive Dodgers reached base in the third. Manager Torey Lovullo didn’t have many other options.
“It’s got to get better, there’s no other way to look at it,” Lovullo said of his starting pitching. “We depend on the starters, and they’ve just got off to a slow start. We haven’t quite hit our stride on the mound.”
Both managers let their starters go long in a bid to save their bullpens, and Kenta Maeda (1-0) gave the Dodgers 6 2/3 innings of five-hit ball in the third straight excellent start by Los Angeles’ rotation. Maeda even chased Godley in the sixth with a bloop double over the head of a badly fooled Peralta in left.
Godley yielded eight hits and seven earned runs while pitching into the sixth, but he lamented his throwing error early in the Dodgers’ big third inning.
“That inning is the big thing for me,” Godley said. “I’ve got to be able to minimize it a little bit more, and cut it down from four runs to maybe one or two.”
Jones’ homer in the seventh was his second in three games with his new club after 11 years in Baltimore.
Down by eight runs, Arizona sent Murphy to the mound in the seventh, and the former high school pitcher nearly escaped unscathed. The Dodgers loaded the bases but didn’t score in the seventh against Murphy, whose pitches rarely topped 65 mph.
“I’m not a huge fan of it, but sometimes you have to do it,” Lovullo said of his decision to put a position player on the mound. “We felt like whoever threw (out of the bullpen) today would be missing tomorrow.”
Diamondbacks: 1B Steven Souza Jr. will have surgery on his badly injured knee Tuesday in Cincinnati. The slugger will miss the entire season after stepping awkwardly on home plate Monday. “He’s in for a grinding year (of rehab), we know that,” Lovullo said.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw threw a 50-pitch, three-inning simulated game on the field, taking another step in his return from shoulder inflammation. Roberts said Kershaw will throw on the side Monday before the Dodgers decide whether to send him to Oklahoma City or Tulsa for a minor-league rehab start. After that, Kershaw and the team will determine whether he needs one more start before returning to the majors.
In the series finale, Walker Buehler makes his season debut for the Dodgers after going 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA in his breakthrough 2018. He faces Luke Weaver, who debuts for Arizona after being the Diamondbacks’ primary return in the trade that sent Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis. Weaver went 7-11 for the Cardinals last season.
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