LOS ANGELES (AP) The day at the ballpark began for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and his players watching the Kentucky Derby live on video screens during batting practice. It ended with them transfixed at their lockers watching the final few rounds of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s victory over Manny Pacquiao for the World Welterweight title.
In-between, red-hot rookie Joc Pederson hit a tying solo homer in the seventh and Howie Kendrick singled home the go-ahead run two batters later, rallying the two-time defending NL West champions to a 6-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
”It’s about winning ballgames,” Pederson said. ”We’re playing great baseball and it’s fun to be a part of. I don’t feel that anyone needs to put the team on their back. If someone doesn’t do the job, the next person behind them will pick them up. That’s part of being a great team.”
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Justin Turner also homered for the Dodgers, who are 14-0 when scoring four or more runs – compared with 1-8 when they get three or fewer.
Diamondbacks right-hander Jeremy Hellickson allowed three runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings, leaving with a 4-3 lead, thanks to Aaron Hill’s tiebreaking leadoff homer in the fourth and Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run shot in the first.
But the Dodgers pulled ahead against Evan Marshall (0-1).
Pederson, who got his first career grand slam in Friday night’s series-opening 8-0 win, hit the first pitch over the center field wall with two out for his sixth of the season and third in three games since he was moved from eighth in the lineup to leadoff. Turner then doubled and scored on Kendrick’s hit to right field.
”We just didn’t do enough to win, obviously,” manager Chip Hale said. ”We had the lead there late, and we just have to figure out a way to win. Our bullpen is going to have to figure out what it takes to get these guys out.”
Juan Nicasio (1-1) pitched three perfect innings in relief of starter Scott Baker to get the win and Chris Hatcher got three outs for his second save since closer Kenley Jansen went on the disabled list.
Jimmy Rollins added an insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth, after entering the game in the seventh as a pinch-hitter. It was only his second RBI in his last 63 at-bats.
The game ended when pinch-hitter David Peralta’s groundball toward the middle hit baserunner Jordan Pacheco for the final out. The same thing happened just hours earlier in the Los Angeles Angels’ 5-4 loss at San Francisco.
”To lose a game on a hit, with a runner getting hit by the ball, it’s really embarrassing. It’s not very good awareness,” Hale said. ”We wanted to bring (Ender) Inciarte up there, who’s been swinging a good bat, and it’s just too bad. It’s a tough way to lose.”
Baker threw 83 pitches through four innings, allowing four runs and seven hits including Hill’s first homer of the season and Goldschmidt’s sixth. Goldschmidt ranks first among all players in home runs (16), RBIs (52), hits (76) and extra base hits (30) against the Dodgers since the start of the 2011 season.
”I was kind of fighting myself out there a little bit,” Baker said. ”Mechanically, I just wasn’t where I needed to be to get the ball down consistently. It happens sometimes. I’m thankful the guys were able to pick me up tonight and score the runs that we needed.”
Diamondbacks: Rookie RHP Archie Bradley, who has been on the disabled list since getting hit in the face with a line drive off the bat of Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez last Tuesday, threw a bullpen session Saturday.
Dodgers: Jansen, recovering from surgery on his left foot, is expected to make his second rehab appearance for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday. The Dodgers are targeting him for a return to the active roster on May 15. … LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu also will throw off a mound Sunday – in the bullpen – and will accompany the team on its road trip to Milwaukee, where he will take part in a simulated game as he works his way back from an impingement in his shoulder.
Diamondbacks: RHP Chase Anderson (1-3) is coming off a 5-4 loss to Colorado in which he allowed five runs in 5 1-3 innings after getting no-decisions in his first three starts.
Dodgers: LHP Brett Anderson (1-1) matches up against his namesake for the second time this season. The other time, he had a no-decision in the Dodgers’ 10-inning 5-4 loss at Phoenix on April 10.