The Dodgers rallied for three sixth-inning runs in the span of six pitches against one of baseball’s better right-handers Monday night, turning a one-run deficit into a two-run lead and rookie right-hander Bobby Miller from a potential loser into a winner.
And Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, the top-of-the-order sluggers and National League most valuable player candidates who have carried the offense for much of the last two months with their scorching-hot bats, had nothing to do with the uprising.
David Peralta sparked the sixth-inning rally against his former club with a leadoff single, and Jason Heyward and James Outman followed with back-to-back home runs off Arizona ace Zac Gallen to push the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory before a crowd of 36,521 in Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers’ 35th comeback win of the season improved their record to 22-4 in August and increased their NL West lead to 13 games over the Diamondbacks, who had won 12 of 15 games entering the series.
Betts, who was named NL player of the week Monday after batting .615 (16 for 26) with a 1.540 OPS, one homer, four doubles, seven RBIs, nine runs and two stolen bases in six games last week, went 0 for 4 with a walk and had his 15-game hitting streak snapped.
But the Dodgers managed fine with a minimal contribution from their dynamic leadoff man, as Max Muncy capped a three-run first inning with a two-run homer and Heyward, Outman and Will Smith each had two hits.
“Yeah, it’s huge,” Heyward said of the importance of getting contributions from up and down the lineup. “That’s what’s gonna take all year long, and that’s what it’s gonna take in October.
“It can’t always just be [Mookie and Freddie], and I think that’s been a big part of their success this year, and ours. We lean on them, but they lean on us, and they let us know they appreciate us.”
Gallen, who went 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his first five August starts, had rebounded from that three-run first by blanking the Dodgers on two hits from the second through fifth innings, dotting a 94-mph fastball on the outside corner to strike out out Muncy looking with runners on first and third to end the fifth inning.
But Peralta singled to right field to lead off the sixth, and Heyward jumped all over a 1-and-0 changeup from Gallen, smashing a 399-foot, two-run home run to right — his 12th homer of the season and first since Aug. 2 — to give the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.
Outman, with a 2-and-0 count, then lined a 93-mph, middle-in fastball over the short wall in the right-field corner for his 17th homer and a 6-4 lead, marking the ninth time this season the Dodgers have hit back-to-back homers. Outman followed a Heyward single with an RBI single for an insurance run and a 7-4 lead in the seventh.
“You’re not gonna put up crooked numbers against Zac Gallen very often, but it was good to see us battle back after we relinquished that lead,” manager Dave Roberts said. “David got us started, and for Jason to follow and then James … just some good things in that middle part of the order. We need it, because we’ve been leaning a lot on Mookie and Freddie.”
The comeback made a winner out of Miller, who threw six solid but not spectacular innings in which he gave up four runs and seven hits, struck out four and walked two to improve to 8-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 16 starts.
Left-hander Alex Vesia gave up one hit in a scoreless seventh, Ryan Brasier retired the side in order in the eighth, and Caleb Ferguson threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save, as the Dodgers improved to 81-49 on the season.
The Dodgers jumped on Gallen in the bottom of the first, Freeman lining a one-out solo homer to right field — his 24th of the season — Smith stroking a single to center, and Muncy, who had two hits and nine strikeouts in 20 previous at-bats against Gallen, hitting his 31st homer, a two-run shot to right, for a 3-0 lead.
The Diamondbacks got one back in the second on Gabriel Moreno’s two-out RBI double into the left-field corner, but the Dodgers prevented an even bigger inning when, with two on and no outs, shortstop Kiké Hernández fielded Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s slow roller and zipped a throw to Betts at second to start a 6-4-3 double play.
Arizona then scored three runs during a four-hit fourth in which they forced Miller to throw 31 pitches. Alek Thomas walked with one out and scored on Gurriel’s double to left to cut the Dodgers’ lead to 4-2.
Moreno reached out for a 98-mph, up-and-away fastball and drove a 383-foot, opposite-field homer to right-center, his sixth of the season, to give the Diamondbacks a 4-3 lead.
But Miller rebounded from that rocky fourth to retire the side in order in the fifth and sixth, striking out Gurriel and Jace Peterson with nice changeups in the sixth.
“That was probably the worst my stuff’s been all year, but I was glad to fight through it and put up a couple of zeros after that fourth and not let the bullpen take over for a long time,” Miller said.
“The slider was really bad today. I was leaving it too much in the zone at the beginning of the game, and then I overcorrected it and started yanking it out of the zone. My fastball command was not good. I’m glad the changeup was there to back me up. If I didn’t have that. I think it would have been a worse outing.”
As rough as that fourth inning was, Roberts thought Miller’s ability to weather the storm and throw a clean fifth and sixth was another big step in his maturation process.
“Sometimes a young pitcher, certainly one with velocity, things speed up and you, and you just want to rare back and throw as hard as you can and hope that it ends,” Roberts said of Miller’s rocky fourth inning.
“But for me, just watching his mound presence, he was able to continue to go pitch by pitch, to execute pitches, to make pitches, and [three runs] was all they got, and he was determined that it wasn’t going to be his last inning. So for me, that’s tremendous growth.”
Roberts said “it wouldn’t be surprising” to see reliever Shelby Miller “at some point in time on this homestand.” The veteran right-hander, who was 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 25 games before going on the injured list, has been out since June 16 because of a herniated disc in his neck that caused numbness and tingling in his left arm. … Designated hitter J.D. Martinez, on the injured list because of left-groin tightness, is scheduled to resume hitting on Tuesday in anticipation of returning on the next road trip. … Reliever Tyson Miller, claimed from the New York Mets on Sunday, was added to the active roster Monday, and right-hander Gavin Stone was optioned to triple-A.