Dodgers bullpen has bad night in loss to Diamondbacks

When Mookie Betts hit his first home run with the Dodgers, no one met him at home plate. No one offered a high-five, leaving Betts to swat the empty air in pantomime.

His teammates weren’t freezing him out in a rite of passage. It was a sign of the newfound commitment to health and safety protocols adopted by MLB teams in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s super weird,” Betts said of socially-distanced baseball. “Without fans it’s really weird. Not being able to touch is really weird. But you know it’s the new normal. So we have to get used to it.”

  • Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley (25) celebrates with catcher Carson Kelly (18) after the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 5-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Mookie Betts tries to chase down a three-run double hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy (13) spins after being hit by a pitch as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt, left, also get hit by the ball during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger walks off the field after making the final out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 5-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts (50) rounds the bases after hitting a home run against Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen, left, during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (31) turns away from an inside pitch as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt, left, tries to control the ball during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts (50) celebrates his home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks with manager Dave Roberts during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin winds up to throw against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (31) tosses his bat away after striking out as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt, left, heads back to the dugout during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte (4) is tagged out at third base trying to stretch a double into a triple by Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, left, during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Edwin Rios (43) celebrates his run scored against the Arizona Diamondbacks with manager Dave Roberts, bottom right, as Dodgers’ Justin Turner (10) looks on during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker connects for a three-run double against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager, right, celebrates his home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks with Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, left, during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte (4) celebrates his run scored against the Los Angeles Dodgers with Diamondbacks bench coach Luis Urueta (60), David Peralta (6), and manager Torey Lovullo (17) during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • With no fans in the stands at Chase Field, Los Angeles Dodgers players watch the baseball game during the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks from the front rows behind the dugout Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger makes a leaping catch on a fly ball hit by Arizona Diamondbacks’ Kole Calhoun during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

  • PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JULY 31: Starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin #46 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Eduardo Escobar #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a RBI single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Edwin Rios #43 of the Los Angeles Dodgers scores a run past catcher Stephen Vogt #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fifth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Starting pitcher Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Starting pitcher Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • Starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin #46 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Betts’ teammates had much to celebrate with him Friday night. He added an RBI single to his first home run and the defensive highlight of the game — a 305-foot throw from the right-field corner to nail a runner at third base. But the Dodgers’ bullpen couldn’t hold the lead Betts helped build, surrendering four runs in the eighth inning of a 5-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Corey Seager also homered for the Dodgers, his third consecutive game with a home run. Seager is off to a hot start, batting .344 (11 for 32) with two doubles and those three home runs in the first eight games of the season.

Betts had already grabbed the spotlight in the first inning when Ketel Marte led off for the Diamondbacks and dropped a broken-bat flare down the right field line. While Betts was racing over to collect the ball in foul territory near the corner, Marte was struck by a bad idea — trying to stretch the gift hit into a triple.

Betts, a four-time Gold Glove winner in the American League, gunned him down.

“I knew it was a sure double. I know he has speed so possible triple,” Betts said. “I tried to get there as fast as possible, and then I saw as he was about to round second, to go to third he wasn’t slowing down. So I knew I needed to get rid of it quick. Fortunately I put a good throw together.”

Betts’ first home run as a Dodger came in the fourth inning off Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen. With the count 2-and-2, Gallen threw Betts a changeup low and off the plate inside. Betts golfed it high down the left field line like a well-struck 8-iron. The ball stayed just fair, landing in the Diamondbacks bullpen.

An inning later, the Dodgers’ Edwin Rios led off with a ringing double off the high wall in straightaway center field. Two batters later, Betts lined a single into right field to score Rios. After starting his Dodgers career 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, Betts now has hits in each of his past three at-bats with RISP.

“I think so,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said when asked if Betts might have been pressing to make an impression with the Dodgers in his first week. “With a guy like Mookie, you really can’t tell if he’s pressing because his demeanor is just so consistent. But obviously you want to show with the new fans, new city, new teammates. But mechanically he’s fine. He has clarity of mind. It was good to see him throw out a few hits tonight and a homer.”

Betts was just 7 for his first 34 at-bats (.206) as a Dodger, but he said the issue wasn’t pressure, just a matter of honing his swing after the long time between spring training and summer camp.

“No, that’s not in my brain at all,” Betts said of pressing in the wake of the $365 million arrival as a Dodger. “I just wasn’t mechanically sound, and trying to search in the game is not the best way to go about playing the game. You have to just focus on the game and worry about mechanics later but I was not doing that.”

Marte’s misbegotten double was the only Diamondbacks hit in four innings against right-hander Tony Gonsolin, making his season debut in place of injured Alex Wood. Rookie left-hander Victor Gonzalez followed him, making his major-league debut.

The Diamondbacks got to Gonzalez for a run in the sixth on Kole Calhoun’s RBI double. That was just the 21st run in eight games for the Diamondbacks who came into the game batting .196 as a team with OPS (.556) and slugging percentage marks that ranked 29th in baseball.

Those numbers looked much healthier after an explosion against a Dodgers bullpen that had been outstanding in the early going.

Roberts entrusted a two-run lead, 3-1, in the eighth to Blake Treinen, who had allowed just one hit to the first 11 hitters he faced as a Dodger.

With one out, Justin Turner misplayed Ketel Marte’s ground ball for an error. Two walks (one intentional) wrapped around a ground out loaded the bases for Christian Walker with two outs. Walker drove the first pitch from Treinen over Betts’ head — in center field for the first time this season after a late-game defensive move — for a three-run double that upturned the lead. David Peralta added an RBI single off Joe Kelly before Kelly could put his foot down.

“I thought I was gonna have a chance (to catch Walker’s drive),” said Betts who took a flat route at first. “I think if I take a deeper route there, maybe I have a chance. But that’s the route I took. He definitely squared it up and it carried through the gap pretty good. He’s got some thump in his bat so I gotta respect that. But I mean, you know, I gave it a good try, just came up short.”

Betts wasn’t done. His two-out double in the ninth (following a walk to Matt Beaty) put the tying runs in scoring position. But Cody Bellinger — off to a miserable .139 (5 for 36) start — popped up against Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley to end the game.

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