LOS ANGELES — If last season Jake Lamb announced his arrival as a big-league player, early this year he seems determined to up his game.
Lamb hit the go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning and David Peralta added a run-scoring triple in the ninth to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.
It was Lamb’s third home runs and 12th RBI on the season, both team-highs. This after he hit 29 home runs and with 91 RBI last season.
“He has worked very hard to be a complete hitter, has worked very hard to be a complete player,” said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. “And that translates every single day on the field.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching him perform and there’s been no letdown. We’re only a couple of weeks into the season, but he’s got off to a great start and deserves that.”
J.J. Hoover (1-0) threw two scoreless innings in relief of Robbie Ray to earn the victory and Fernando Rodney blanked the Dodgers in the ninth to earn his fifth save.
The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead against Ray, scoring an unearned run in the second on Logan Forsythe’s sacrifice fly and taking a two-run lead on an Enrique Hernandez solo home run in the fourth. It was his first of the year.
“It was supposed to be a fastball away and I yanked it across the plate,” Ray said. “After that I just told myself to bare down.”
After walking four of his 13 batters, Ray came back to pitch six innings, allowing the two runs on three hits and four walks, while striking out 10.
“He got into a nice rhythm,” Lovullo said. “Something clicked.”
Brandon McCarthy started for the Dodgers against his former team, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out eight.
“I was kind of tired of getting ahead of guys and not putting them away and putting balls in play,” McCarthy said. “It’s kind of a recipe for disaster at some point, so it was nice to get strikeouts back on my side.”
He allowed only two hits through four innings when he ran into trouble in the fifth. A walk preceded three consecutive singles, hits by A.J. Pollock and Peralta scoring runs.
Chris Hatcher (0-1) pitched 2 2/3 innings and took the loss.
Hoover not only earned his first victory of the season, but his first since last June 17 in Houston. He did allow a leadoff double to Justin Turner in the eighth, but then retired three straight. Said Lovullo: “J.J. Hoover did a great job. He gave us two incredible innings.”
That home run Lamb hit of Hatcher was the first allowed by the Dodgers bullpen this season (47 1/3 innings). They were the last bullpen to surrender a home run. Said Roberts: “Our bullpen has been great, pitching in various situations and getting outs for us.”
Right-hander Taijuan Walker left Sunday’s game after only five innings despite holding the Dodgers to one run on four hits. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said Walker had some minor back stiffness but expected him to make his next start.
Right-hander Shelby Miller (1-0) will open Arizona’s three-game series in San Diego on Tuesday. Miller has a 3.04 ERA in his last four road starts.