Will Smith hit a tiebreaking, solo home run in the seventh inning, Albert Pujols slugged a two-run shot — his first for the Dodgers — and Los Angeles defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 on Thursday night.
The Dodgers completed a four-game sweep, outscoring Arizona 19-6. They went 8-1 on the homestand, and have won four in a row and eight of nine.
The D-backs limped out of town with their 10th straight road loss and fifth in a row overall.
Smith sent the first pitch from Merrill Kelly (2-5) into the lower left-field seats leading off the seventh, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Smith sparkled on defense, too, throwing out pinch-runner Tim Locastro at second to end the eighth.
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Pujols hit an 0-1 pitch from Kelly to right field in the second, with Josh Reddick jumping to the top of the wall in an attempt to make the catch. Smith, who singled leading off, scored and Pujols was greeted by high-fives from his teammates in the dugout as the Dodgers led 2-0.
It was Pujols’ 668th career home run, most among active players and fifth all-time, and followed 445 he hit for the St. Louis Cardinals and 222 for the Los Angeles Angels. The hit was his 3,256th, breaking a tie with Eddie Murray for 13th on the all-time list.
The 41-year-old slugger left the Angels and joined the Dodgers on a one-year deal Monday. In his first game that night, Pujols produced a run-scoring single in his second at-bat.
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David Price opened a bullpen game for the Dodgers, his first start since Sept. 1, 2019. The left-hander, who opted out last season because of the pandemic, allowed three hits and struck out one in two innings.
He was followed by Jimmy Nelson, Alex Vesia, Joe Kelly, Victor Gonzalez, Blake Treinen and closer Kenley Jansen, who earned his 10th save.
Eduardo Escobar tied the game at 2 with a two-out, two-run homer off Joe Kelly in the sixth. Escobar had a two-run shot a night earlier in a 4-2 loss.
The D-backs had runners at the corners later in the inning. Reddick reached on center fielder Chris Taylor's fielding error. Taylor thought right fielder Mookie Betts was going to catch the ball, so he stopped and looked at Betts and the ball dropped.
Justin Turner made a diving stab on a ball hit by David Peralta, but he threw it away at first and the error allowed Reddick to move to third. Gonzalez (1-0) relieved Joe Kelly and struck out Domingo Leyba to end the threat.
Reddick was booed lustily in each of his at-bats by Dodgers fans still sore over the 2017 World Series, with “cheater” being one of the cleaner names he was called. Reddick, a former Dodger, was a member of the Astros team that beat LA for the championship before Houston's cheating scandal was exposed. The sellout crowd of 16,105 cheered when Reddick struck out in the fourth and again leading off the ninth. He went 0 for 4. He was selected by Arizona from Triple-A Reno, where he was hitting at a .304 clip.
PUTTING UP Ks
There were 27 strikeouts in the game, 14 by the D-backs and 13 by the Dodgers as roughly half of the hitters struck out. Merrill Kelly had a career-high 12. Nelson had five for the Dodgers.
Diamondbacks: RHP Seth Frankoff (0-0, 3.86 ERA) starts Friday at Colorado. He debuted for Arizona last Saturday against Washington, allowing two runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Dodgers: RHP Trevor Bauer (4-2, 2.20) starts Friday at San Francisco.