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    Dodgers’ bats go quiet in loss to Arizona Diamondbacks
    • April 3, 2023

    LOS ANGELES ― Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith give the Dodgers a formidable trio at the top of their lineup.

    The other six left something to prove Sunday.

    Betts, Freeman and Smith combined to go 4 for 10 in the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rest of the lineup went 0 for 21, and could not add to Smith’s solo home run in the first inning against Zach Davies.

    “I think we hit a lot of hard balls,” Smith said. “They caught a bunch of breaks where we could put three runs up, four runs up. … That’s baseball. You’ve got to hit it where they’re not. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen.”

    Bolstering Smith’s point: the four hardest hits the Dodgers put in play Sunday resulted in outs, including a 106-mph grounder by pinch hitter Jason Heyward to end it. Trayce Thompson, who hit three home runs Saturday, fell about six feet shy of hitting another in the second inning Sunday.

    After Noah Syndergaard matched Davies’ dominance inning-for-inning, the Dodgers let the game slip away with Brusdar Graterol on the mound in the ninth inning. The right-hander allowed four hits and was fortunate to allow only one run.

    Ketel Marte led off with a perfectly placed double down the third-base line. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. poked a single into right field. Betts ― who had started the game at second base ― preserved the 1-1 tie by throwing Marte out at home plate, and the out call by home plate umpire Ryan Blakney was upheld on review.

    Christian Walker followed with a single of his own. The next batter, Corbin Carroll, hit a grounder to shortstop Miguel Rojas. Rather than flip the ball to Miguel Vargas covering second base, Rojas attempted to kickstart a double play by himself. But his throw to first base was off-line, putting Carroll at first base and Walker at third with two outs.

    Jake McCarthy seemed to surprise Graterol with a drag bunt between the mound and first base. Graterol tried but failed to scoop the ball up with his glove, and Walker scored from third base on the bunt single, giving Arizona a 2-1 lead.

    “Those guys like to do that stuff,” Smith said. “I take Bazooka (Graterol) as a pitcher fielding his position over anybody. I think he makes that (play) 99 out of 100 times.”

    Syndergaard received a standing ovation following his debut before an announced crowd of 46,549 at Dodger Stadium. He allowed only four hits and one run over six innings. He exited after allowing a leadoff single in the seventh inning on his 78th pitch of the game.

    The veteran right-hander, who signed a one-year contract worth $13 million plus incentives with the Dodgers in December, did not walk a batter and struck out six.

    “I’m a big believer in first impressions ― new home, new fan base ― so I just wanted to execute, attack hitters,” Syndergaard said. “And just leave a really good first impression. Now that I got the first one over, I can relax a bit.”

    Syndergaard did allow a pair of stolen bases, a focal point for him this spring. Known for having one of the slowest delivery times to home plate in baseball, Syndergaard focused his efforts on being quicker to the plate. Major League Baseball introduced new rules designed to make it easier to steal bases, including limits on how often a pitcher can throw to an occupied base.

    Both of the Diamondbacks’ steals came from Carroll in the fifth inning. Smith didn’t attempt to throw Carroll out on either play. But taking second and third also might have been moot. The next batter, Geraldo Perdomo, hit a double down the right-field line that likely would have scored the fleet-footed Carroll from first base.

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    “That team is built on speed,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “That’s sort of what they do. Against Noah, they’re going to try to execute that. I did think we did a decent job. I don’t mind conceding that stolen base at third base with two outs.”

    The Dodgers’ four starting pitchers in the series ― Julio Urías, Dustin May, Clayton Kershaw and Syndergaard ― were masterful. They walked one batter and struck out 25 in 25 innings, while allowing 15 hits and four runs.

    In their two losses, the depth of the Dodgers’ lineup looked questionable. Three-fourths of their bench (Austin Barnes, Heyward and Chris Taylor) are still looking for their first hit and walk of the season.

    “I still think we’re going to score runs. I still like our lineup,” Roberts said. “There’s a few guys that just haven’t gotten on track yet.”

    ​ Orange County Register