PHOENIX — There was such a significant percentage of Dodgers fans at Chase Field this weekend – roaring at Dodger home runs, booing a member of the home team (Josh Reddick) for past transgressions committed in another league – that they must have felt like road games for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And that is not a good feeling for them.
The Dodgers came to town for the weekend, filled the stands with their fans and collected their door prize – a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks, wrapped up with a messy finish to a 9-8 win Sunday afternoon.
A soft spot in the schedule fed the Dodgers three last-place teams (the Pirates, Rangers and Diamondbacks) in a two-week stretch and they fattened up, winning 10 of 12 games during the two weeks, eight of nine against the trio of cellar-dwellers.
Against the Diamondbacks, the Dodgers outscored them 21-11 in the three games. Six of those runs came in the eighth inning Sunday afternoon as Edwin Uceta (fresh off the plane from Triple-A) and Victor Gonzalez struggled to close out the weekend.
But the Dodgers held the Diamondbacks scoreless in 20 of the first 21 innings and never trailed in the series.
On the bright side for the freefalling Diamondbacks, they were able to sell nearly 87,000 tickets this weekend to watch the worst team in baseball.
The Diamondbacks have now lost a franchise-record 17 consecutive games and a remarkable 40 of their past 45 – including 23 in a row on the road.
There were times Sunday when it looked as if the Dodgers could score 20 runs if they wanted – and there was a time, in that eighth inning, when it looked as if they might need to.
They settled for nine getting a three-run home run from Albert Pujols, a three-hit, three-RBI game from A.J. Pollock, multi-hit games from Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, Austin Barnes and Pujols as well, and even a double from starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin.
For Pujols, the home run was the 673rd of his career, 11th of the season, sixth with the Dodgers – and continuing validation of his assertion, upon signing with the Dodgers, that he still has “some gasoline in the tank.”
The Dodgers signed Pujols to hit left-handed pitching – something that has been problematic for their lineup – and he has done just that. Through Sunday, he is 16 for 43 (.372) with five home runs and 13 RBI off lefties since the Angels released him.
For Gonsolin, the double was a callback to his college days as an outfielder. More importantly, he looked more like the pitcher he was for the Dodgers last season.
In his third start since returning from a shoulder injury, Gonsolin retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, needing just 30 pitches to get through three scoreless innings. He reached the 30-pitch mark in the first inning of each of his previous two starts.
Gonsolin ran into trouble in the fourth, allowed a run and was pulled by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after just 46 pitches.
Reddick got his revenge for the boos, driving in three runs with singles off Dodgers relievers David Price and Uceta. The eighth-inning uprising earned fans a Taco Bell promotion, briefly revived retaliatory chants of “Beat LA” and forced Roberts to use Kenley Jansen to close out a game the Dodgers led 9-1 in the sixth inning.