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Home CALIFORNIA Dodgers’ Mookie Betts walks off Diamondbacks after Julio Urías dazzles

Dodgers’ Mookie Betts walks off Diamondbacks after Julio Urías dazzles

LOS ANGELES ― Mookie Betts entered Thursday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with only 12 plate appearances as a pinch hitter in his nine-year career. Only two of those at-bats ended with a hit, but both drove in a run.

In his only at-bat Thursday, Betts did it again. His bases-loaded single against Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Mantiply with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Dodgers to a 3-2 win before an announced crowd of 47,907.

The Dodgers were trailing by a run ― the result of a Christian Walker home run against Craig Kimbrel in the top of the ninth inning ― when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told Betts to prepare to pinch hit for Joey Gallo in the bottom of the inning if needed.

Betts was not accustomed to the role. He is not used to days off either; he’s had only two since returning from a brief stay on the injured list July 3. So he went to the batting cage and grabbed a bat.

By the time Cody Bellinger scored on an infield single by Max Muncy to tie the game at 2, left-hander Joe Mantiply was on the mound for Arizona in a tie game. Gallo sat down and Betts took his place on deck.

“I was ready,” he said.

The win capped a tense game in which Dodgers starter Julio Urías dazzled, Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen answered, and Kimbrel faltered again before the Dodgers rallied against Mantiply and former teammate Reyes Moronta.

The Dodgers’ 104th win of the season snapped a two-game losing streak and ended a five-game series with the Diamondbacks (70-81).

Urías cruised for 5 ⅓ innings. He allowed his only run in the third inning, made possible by an errant throw by second baseman Gavin Lux. The left-hander lowered his National League-leading earned run average to 2.25, and surpassed the 162-inning threshold needed to qualify for an ERA title.

Urías didn’t qualify for the win, but he inched forward in what could be a tight finish for the National League Cy Young Award. He had thrown only 89 pitches when Evan Phillips took over with one out in the sixth inning, but Roberts said he was mindful of preserving Urías for the postseason.

“Coming off his last outing, this (start) was on regular rest, the first time in quite some time,” Roberts said of Urías. “So to try to find a way to get two more outs in the inning where we had Evan looming in a matchup we felt good about, I didn’t see much upside in saying ‘he completed six innings.’

“He’s been an ace for us all year long, and it’s more of trying to manage the workload and pick spots.”

Urías didn’t dispute his manager’s rationale.

“It was a lot of pitches in that inning, or in that game, and he felt like that was the best decision for the team,” Urías said through an interpreter. “You’ve got to respect what he wanted to do. We’ve got a long way to go and think about the postseason. It was the best thing we could do for that situation.”

The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 when Bellinger led off the ninth inning with a double against Moronta, who was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Aug. 20 and claimed two days later by the Diamondbacks. Bellinger’s 378-foot fly ball hit the right-center field wall a few feet shy of a home run.

With one out, Moronta intentionally walked Freddie Freeman. An infield single by Smith loaded the bases. Mantiply relieved Moronta with Muncy, a left-handed hitter, due up.

Muncy hit a dribbler off the end of his bat to third base, and no out was recorded on the play. Bellinger scored, and the game was tied 2-2.

Mantiply struck out Justin Turner, but could not retire Betts, who llined a 3-and-2 sinker into left field. Freeman scored, sending the Dodgers pouring out of the dugout to celebrate.

“It was a great win considering how well Gallen threw the baseball,” Roberts said. “I didn’t think anyone was going to score runs off him tonight.”

Gallen allowed one run over eight dominant innings and set a career high with 13 strikeouts. He held the Dodgers to two hits.

Fortuitously, both hits came with two outs in the fourth inning. Smith lifted a fly ball to left field that Stone Garrett could not catch as he dove toward the foul line. The ball dribbled all the way to the warning track, and Smith wound up on third base with a triple.

The next batter, Muncy, turned on a two-strike cutter and hit a line drive to first base. The ball deflected off Christian Walker’s glove into right field, and Smith scored easily.

That was the Dodgers’ only run until the ninth inning. Gallen feasted on the bottom of the lineup: Gallo, Lux, Trayce Thompson, and Bellinger combined to go 0 for 11 with 10 strikeouts. The right-hander is third in the National League in ERA (2.46) behind only Urías and Miami’s Sergio Alcantara.

The game remained tied 1-1 until Kimbrel’s season-long struggles manifested again in the ninth inning.

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