The Dodgers lurched through a doubleheader Tuesday of two oddly similar games with starkly different outcomes.
The opener took three-plus hours beginning at noon, and the Dodgers eventually progressed from flat to focused, exploding for five runs in the eighth inning to edge the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 at Dodger Stadium.
Another three-plus hours passed before the second game began, and again the Dodgers fell behind early, surrendering their third unearned run of the day in the second inning and two more in the sixth, giving them a season-high four errors in the game — and six in the doubleheader.
Max Muncy hit a two-run home run in the sixth but Ketel Marte answered with a solo shot in the seventh, keeping the Diamondbacks ahead. Muncy came up in eighth and scorched a line drive with two out and a runner on, but right fielder Jordan Luplow flagged it down. The Diamondbacks tacked on a run in the ninth to win 5-2.
More from the mirror: The Dodgers collected 12 singles and an Austin Barnes homer 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 sparingly. In the second game, Trea Turner and Freddie Freeman singled in the first inning. Cody Bellinger singled and Trea Turner walked in the third. Will Smith and Justin Turner singled in the fourth. All were stranded.
“We didn’t play good baseball,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s hard to win when you give up outs and give up bases.”
Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson continued to make a case for inclusion in the postseason rotation, giving up three unearned runs and two hits through six innings while striking out five and lowering his ERA to 2.52.
But Anderson had to own a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth. He hit a batter, dropped a throw covering first on a grounder to Freddie Freeman and hit another batter. Then the Dodgers defense, wobbly all day, got worse.
Carson Kelly hit a sacrifice fly to Mookie Betts, who saw Jake McCarthy advancing to third. Betts’ throw skipped past Muncy, allowing McCarthy to score. Anderson backed up the play but his throw home was errant, allowing Christian Walker to advance to third.
The tally? 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 Bad News Bears for an inning,” Anderson said.
The first game elicited similar frustration for the Dodgers until the eighth inning. An RBI single by rookie Miguel Vargas off 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 began the frame with a sharp single that was followed by Barnes’ home run to cut the deficit to 5-3.
“That’s a big moment for him,” Justin Turner said of Vargas. “It’s not easy to go from playing every day in the minors to coming up and adjusting to a role, maybe playing once or twice a week.”
The Dodgers planned to have rookies Michael Grove and Ryan Pepiot pitch the entire first game to rest veterans relievers, but with the tables turned heading into the ninth, Roberts opted for right-hander Chris Martin, who retired the Diamondbacks in order to notch his second save since joining the Dodgers at the trade deadline.
“We came out flat, so it was good to see life in the later innings,” said Barnes, who singled twice in addition to hitting the home run that traveled 394 feet.
Roberts disputed the characterization, flatly saying, “I don’t think we were flat. We grinded out at-bats early and elevated pitch counts. They gave us extra outs in the eighth after we’d done everything earlier to give them the game.”
Grove struck out seven in five innings but surrendered nine hits, including two home runs. Making his fifth major league appearance and fourth start, he leaned on an effective curveball.
“He’s got a very good curve,” Barnes said. “He battles, he competes out there.”
Grove’s four-seam fastball elicited zero swings and misses, however. He was victimized by errors by Freeman and Vargas that led to unearned runs, and the Dodgers trailed 5-1 when Pepiot took the mound to begin the sixth inning.
Pepiot shook off a wobbly start and threw three scoreless innings. With two on and one out in the sixth, he was late covering first on a groundball by the speedy McCarthy to Freeman, who first turned to throw to second, thought better of it and wheeled around to toss to Pepiot covering the bag.
Umpire Adam Beck called McCarthy safe but replay showed he was out. Pepiot settled down, striking out Christian Walker to end the sixth, then retiring the Diamondbacks in order in the seventh and eighth.
Vargas made two poor throws, one coming immediately after he made an exceptional catch in the fifth inning. Marte followed Walker’s 35th home run with a sharp, slicing shot to left field that Vargas caught while twisting his body to his right after opening his left shoulder when the ball was hit.
Ten hours after the first pitch of the opener, the Dodgers had a split to show for it, their record a still-gaudy 103-45 with 14 to play in the regular season.