Dodgers hit four home runs to pound Diamondbacks

Whatever challenges traveling in the midst of a pandemic might present off the field, the Dodgers are having no problems with it on the field.

Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty, A.J. Pollock and Chris Taylor each hit home runs as the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-2 Saturday. The win was the Dodgers’ fourth in the first five games of this season-long nine-game trip.

After scoring 17 runs and hitting .338 as a team in the first two games of the season, the Dodgers’ offense slowed down, batting .246 with no home runs in the next four games (two at home against the Giants and two in Houston) before showing life again in the friendly (if empty) confines of Chase Field.

Possibly the most potent lineup in the National League this season, it has started to look the part again. The Dodgers have scored 20 runs and hit nine home runs in the first three games of this four-game series.

“I think we got good results tonight,” said Justin Turner who had one of the Dodgers’ seven extra-base hits (a two-run triple). “I think overall we’ve been taking pretty good at-bats, haven’t gotten a lot of good results. But guys are grinding, finding ways to win games.”

With Cody Bellinger slumping to start the season (hitless in his past 16 at-bats), Dodgers manager Dave Roberts gave him a day off Saturday. Pollock started in center field for the first time since last September 1. Beaty got his first start of the season and Rios his first at third base with Turner getting a DH day.

Those three — Pollock, Rios and Beaty — combined to drive in five runs in the bottom half of the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday.

“We’ve got to make sure we get Eddie and Matt at-bats and start games,” Roberts said. “So when they can come out there and still get big hits, it’s going to help them throughout the season and also get guys like Cody off their feet once in a while. It just speaks to the depth we have … we have a lot of good players.”

Most of the damage (eight runs) was packed into the fourth and fifth innings.

Diamondbacks starter Luke Weaver walked Joc Pederson to start the fourth. Two batters later, Rios launched a 434-foot drive off the upper deck in center field — a more conventional two-run home run than the one he hit leading off the 13th inning in Houston Wednesday night.

Two of Rios’ first three hits this season (in nine at-bats) and six of his first 16 in the big leagues (in 56 at-bats) have been home runs.

“Just a lot of tee during quarantine,” Rios said of his approach to the season. “Just kind of trying to slow the game down a little bit, going back to the basics. It’s working out pretty good.”

Two batters after his fourth-inning blast, Beaty hit his, a solo shot into the Dodgers’ bullpen down the right field line.

“I was just trying to hit the ball halfway as far as Eddie did a couple at-bats before,” said Beaty, a close friend of Rios from their days together in the minors — but one who is now competing for at-bats off the Dodgers’ bench with Rios and a spot when rosters have to be trimmed to 28 on Thursday.

“He’s worked his tail off and I think it’s shown early in the season so far and in camp. He’s playing really good defense, taking really good at bats. … When he locks in, he’s as good a hitter as anybody that we can throw up there so it’s really fun to watch when he’s going off.”

In the fifth inning, the Dodgers scored five times with a two-run triple by Turner and Pollock’s two-run homer doing most of the damage. Pollock is off to a 9-for-22 start this season.

Taylor entered the game as a defensive replacement at shortstop and hit a three-run home run in the eighth.

The eight-run burst in the middle innings was enough to make a winner of Julio Urias in his second start of the season.

Urias scratched his way through the first inning, allowing a run on a walk and two singles. After that, he had given up 11 baserunners in his first six innings this season. But he found his command and gave up just three more hits while getting through six innings.

“Will (Smith) and I eventually got on the same page and started to work a little better together,” Urias said through an interpreter.

“We talked, Mark (Prior) and I talked in between innings as well as with Will and we kind of wanted to maintain that aggressiveness. It’s something that I take out of the outing, something that I really take out of this outing more than anything was the need to maintain that aggressiveness and maintain that tempo somehow.”

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