• Wed. Nov 25th, 2020

Mookie Betts returns to Dodgers’ lineup, homers in win over Giants

ByArlene Huff

Aug 8, 2020
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LOS ANGELES – Mookie Betts was listed on the Dodgers’ lineup card Friday, like many days in the foreseeable future, and unlike the last four. Betts hadn’t batted since Sunday because of a swollen finger on his left hand. He returned to hit a double and a home run in a 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

It was the kind of performance the Dodgers would like to expect from Betts. They traded a major league outfielder and two prospects to acquire him from the Boston Red Sox in February. They signed him to the largest contract in franchise history, $365 million over 12 years, in July. But he has only appeared in 13 games that count while wearing a Dodger uniform.

Betts appeared as a defensive replacement Tuesday and Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, his finger too tender to swing a bat.

  • The Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski #5 beats the tag by Dodgers catcher Will Smith #16 to score in the top of the third inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 hits a home run in the bottom of fourth inning the during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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  • The Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez #14 throws to first base for a double play as the Giants’ Donovan Solano #7 slides into second base in the top of the third inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager can’t reach a ball hit for a single by San Francisco Giants’ Chadwick Tromp during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 7, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The Giants’ Darin Ruf #33 attempts to catch a Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 two-run homer in the bottom of fourth inning the during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Giants’ Chadwick Tromp #14 beats the Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 back to first base after Muncy caught a fly ball during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 7-2.(Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts #50 homers to center in the bottom of the third inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 points to the sky after hitting a home run in the bottom of fourth inning the during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts #50 crosses home plate after hitting a home run to center in the bottom of the third inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger striating pitcher Julio Urias #7 during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cutout photos of dogs and cats in the stands during the Dodgers vs Giants game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 7-2.(Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Corey Seager #5 leaves the game with a possible injury during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Edwin Rios #43 hits a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 7-2.(Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers Joc Pederson #31 reacts during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Will Smith #16 hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Giants’ Austin Slater #13 steals second base as the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 goes up for the ball in the top of the first inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Will Smith #16 heads for home after slugging a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski #5 beats the tag by Dodgers catcher Will Smith #16 to score in the top of the third inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Edwin Rios #43 hits a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 7-2.(Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts #50 hits a double to deep left in the bottom of the first inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts #50 reacts after hitting a double to deep left in the bottom of the first inning during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Giants starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija #29 during their game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers Joc Pederson #31 slides for a Giants’ Chadwick Tromp #14 fly ball but can’t make the catch during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 7-2.(Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger closer Jake McGee #41 during their game against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Friday, August 7, 2020. The Dodgers defeated the Giants 7-2.(Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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“He woke up with confidence today feeling real good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Betts.

Betts’ return was the ultimate expression of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Dodgers (10-4) have won three consecutive games, wrapped around their first off-day of the season. The rebuilding Giants (6-9) have lost five of their last six.

Max Muncy, Will Smith and Edwin Rios also homered for the Dodgers. Giants starter Jeff Samardzija (0-2) allowed six runs (five earned) in four innings.

That was more than enough support for Dodgers starter Julio Urías. The left-hander allowed one run in four innings and exited with a 5-1 lead. He walked two batters, struck out two, and quite nearly escaped without a run on his ledger.

Three starts into the season, Urías has allowed only four runs. Friday, he lamented the Giants’ long at-bats, which ran his pitch count to 78 after four innings.

“He worked a little bit harder than he needed to,” Roberts said. “The Giants hitters battled, fouled pitches, foiled pitches. Julio battled. He was a little too fine for me, wasn’t pounding the strike zone and getting ahead as much as we’d like.”

The lone blemish Friday came in the third inning, when Mike Yastrzemski doubled with one out and tried to score on a line drive by Donovan Solano. Cody Bellinger angled in on the ball in left-center field and threw accurately to home plate. But Muncy cut off Bellinger’s throw near the pitcher’s mound, and his relay home was late – a call that was upheld after Roberts challenged.

Betts tied the game 1-1 with one swing in the bottom of the third inning. He pounced on a cut fastball from Samardzija that cut over the middle of the plate on 2-and-2. It was his third home run of the season, and temporarily extended his streak of at-bats with an extra-base hit to four.

The next batter, Bellinger, singled and scored on an RBI single by Justin Turner. Leading 2-1, the Dodgers would not trail again.

Muncy and Smith homered in the fourth inning, sandwiched around a single by Chris Taylor.

The Dodgers chased Samardzija in the fifth inning by loading the bases with no outs. Taylor grounded into a forceout against reliever Sam Selman, bringing home Bellinger with the Dodgers’ sixth run.

Rios was 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts before he tagged left-hander Wandy Peralta for a solo home run in the eighth inning. Rios hit four home runs last season as a rookie, when he appeared in 28 games. He’s up to three already this season; this was his first homer ever against a left-handed pitcher, and his first at Dodger Stadium.

Relievers Dylan Floro (1-0), Dennis Santana, Scott Alexander, Joe Kelly and Jake McGee combined to allow five hits and one run over the final five innings.

Even while Betts was out of action this week, Roberts said he was able to learn something about his new star. Betts was eager to serve as a defensive replacement in right field, a relatively mundane task for a former American League MVP. In San Diego, Betts watched every game from the dugout.

“He wasn’t in the clubhouse with his shower shoes on,” Roberts said.

Apparently that’s just off-day Mookie, a player the Dodgers will see on occasion for the next 12 years.

“I’m always going to be in the dugout,” Betts said. “There’s always a way to help. That’s my personality: Try to find a way to get into the mix, find a way to help the team win.”

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Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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