Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers overcame a strong performance from Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen with a 3-2 win thanks to Mookie Betts delivering a walk-off hit.
Gallen was incredible for eight innings, fanning 13 Dodgers and allowing just one run on a two-out double from Max Muncy in the fourth inning. He appeared primed to earn a win after Christian Walker that gave the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead with a home run off Craig Kimbrel.
However, the Dodgers rallied in the bottom of the ninth to put Betts in position to help deliver a walk-off win once the Diamondbacks went to All-Star relief pitcher Joe Mantiply.
“Doc told me in the ninth if it gets to (Joey) Gallo and a lefty is up, that I was going to go in. So I was ready,” Betts said following Thursday’s win.
With bases loaded and two-outs in a tie game against a quality reliever, Betts’ situational awareness to attack early and ability to work a count full, made him perfect for the spot.
“Two outs, got to get a knock. That’s the only way,” Betts said. “Unless you walk, but I wasn’t really up there trying to walk. I was ready to swing.”
Betts wound up working a full count and on the seventh pitch, lined a sinker into left field, driving in Freddie Freeman to end the game.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had Betts on his mind when the situation began to unfold and when Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo went to his bullpen.
“It was a scheduled off day as far as start, but Mookie like all of our guys, if there’s a big spot, be ready. He was preparing all game, which is a credit to him,” Roberts said. “The spot just made sense. Once they brought Mantiply in, I wanted that spot to be Mookie’s.”
Betts may not have been in the Dodgers lineup, but that hasn’t stopped Roberts from using key players later in games for one meaningful swing.
“I mean, it’s cool. It’s cool. Actually, I think it may be my first pinch-hit hits, so that part was pretty cool in itself,” said Betts. “But we got a win. That’s all that really matters.”
Thursday’s win brought the Dodgers’ record to 104-46, and they’ve assured themselves a top-two seed in the National League. But Betts understands the team still has meaningful baseball to play regardless of their current standing.
“I think every win is important. We had not played well the last couple days, but we still have a lot of wins and played well a lot,” he said. “So you can’t really panic over a couple bad games. It is what it is. That’s the ebbs and flows of the season.”
“Any time you win is a good feeling,” said Betts. “Good feeling in the locker room and good vibes. We’re not here to lose.”
How many walk-off hits does Mookie Betts have?
Including his time with the Boston Red Sox, Betts now has four career walk-off hits. On July 6, a Dodgers sweep of the Colorado Rockies was capped off with a 74.3 mph walk-off chopper by Betts, originally ruled a hit, but later changed to a fielder’s choice.
That made Thursday’s swing Betts’ first career walk-off hit as a member of the Dodgers.
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