PHOENIX – You might be feeling things you haven’t felt in a long time. This is natural. But do not panic.
Left-hander Rich Hill followed up his near-perfect game with a thoroughly-imperfect effort, allowing five runs in the first inning Tuesday night. The Dodgers never fully recovered and lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-6.
The loss was the Dodgers’ third in a row, the first time they have had anything worthy of being called a losing streak since they also lost three consecutive games June 4-6. In the 67 games between three-game losing streaks, the Dodgers went 56-11 and lost so much as consecutive games only once.
Dare we call this a … slump? The Dodgers have gone 4-5 over their past nine games, a stretch that coincides with rookie Cody Bellinger’s trip to the DL with a mild ankle sprain. Bellinger is expected back Wednesday (after hitting a home run in an Arizona Summer League game Tuesday night).
But Tuesday’s loss falls on Hill – something he tried to claim last week in Pittsburgh when he took a perfect game into the ninth inning and a no-hitter into the 10th before giving up a walk-off home run in a 1-0 loss.
It was much more true this time.
Hill was battered for five runs on six hits in the first inning Tuesday. He retired just one of the first seven Diamondbacks batters he faced and gave up a lot of hard contact – including a line drive off the side of his left leg. That probably didn’t pain him as much as the two-run home run he served up to A.J. Pollack or the two-run double to Brandon Drury.
Hill settled down after the first inning but couldn’t get through four, departing after David Peralta’s RBI triple completed a team cycle for the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers’ offense has cooled off in Bellinger’s absence. But it came to life early Tuesday.
Yasiel Puig blasted his 24th home run of the season off the batter’s eye in straightaway center field. That 443-foot blast was matched by Chris Taylor who hit a two-run homer in the third inning. Yasmani Grandal also drove in a run with an RBI single that inning, briefly making it a one-run game.
The comeback lost steam until Adrian Gonzalez’s two-out RBI double in the eighth inning. Chase Utley led off the ninth with a double off the Diamondbacks’ shaky closer, Fernando Rodney. He scored on Taylor’s infield single to make it a one-run game again.
A wild pitch put the tying run in scoring position before Rodney got Curtis Granderson on a called third strike (the second…