Dustin Maye did everything he could on Friday night.
But after a nearly flawless start to the season by the Dodgers the night before, even May’s seven scoreless innings weren’t enough to avoid a 2-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
A wasted opportunity at the plate, the Dodgers stranded 12 runners and went seven hitless with men in scoring position.
Blown out of the bullpen late in the lead, Alex Vesia hit a two-run home run off Kyle Lewis in the bottom of the eighth inning after Mookie Betts blasted a solo shot to break a deadlock.
Even the pregame festivities turned into an uncomfortable affair, as the 45,387 crowd at Dodger Stadium loudly booed the shows of first-pitch honorees Logan Paul and KSI — the YouTube stars the Dodgers have partnered with this offseason.
If Thursday’s performance showed the Dodgers at their best, Friday was a reminder of the kinks the new-look team needs to work out, even on a night when they were backed by their dominant starting pitching.
“Every day,” manager Dave Roberts said, “I’m trying to learn even more about the guys.”
Friday’s most encouraging lesson came from May, who checked all the boxes the Dodgers wanted to see from the 25-year-old firethrower in the longest and perhaps most complete outing of his young career.
Arizona shortstop Kyle Lewis, right, crosses in front of Dodgers catcher Will Smith after hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning.
(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)
He pounded the zone and made quick work of soft contact. He mixed up his five pitches, from a 100-mph fastball to a swing-and-miss curveball, while striking out four and giving up just three hits and one walk.
Most of all, the fiery right-hander kept his emotions in check — or, more importantly, channeled them in the right direction — as he walked around the mound.
“It went really well,” May said. “It was about getting ahead of a lot of guys, getting a lot of fast starts.”
Diamondbacks pitchers met a different fate. While the Dodgers collected just five hits, they issued nine walks and had at least one baserunner in every inning. Starter Merrill Kelly was ejected in the bottom of the fourth, and the team’s evenly matched bullpen went haywire on the night.
Unlike Thursday’s opener, however, the Dodgers didn’t capitalize on nearly every opportunity.
Mookie Betts hits a solo home run against Arizona reliever Drey Jameson in the seventh inning Friday. It was Betts’ first hit of the season.
(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)
They stopped at least one man in nine innings, leaving two on the bench in the first, fourth and eighth.
They suffered a base blunder in the second when David Peralta was caught trying to steal his decision (the call came down to a closed video review) just hours after Roberts proclaimed the Dodgers were “not in the business of running.” at outs” as well as under MLB’s new base running rules.
And then, even after the Dodgers went ahead on Betts’ first home run of the year, they couldn’t hold on to the lead.
Tasked with taking down a lefty side of the Diamondbacks lineup, Vesia frustrated a number of right-handed hitters.
With one out, Evan Longoria lined a fastball to left for a double. One batter later, Kyle Lewis unleashed a 2-on-1 slider that sailed into the left-field pavilion.
“Just a bad pitch,” Vesia said, downplaying the impact MLB’s new pitch timer had on the inning. “I felt I was at a decent pace.”
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Roberts pointed to other moments of bad luck for his team. After an early walk in the third, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Max Muncy flew out on well-hit swings.
With two outs in the eighth, Miguel Rojas hit a potential tying line drive that was caught by shortstop Nick Ahmed.
And despite leading the top of the ninth and getting a runner on second base with two outs, the Dodgers let their last chance to follow up Thursday’s win go to waste with a dramatic Friday night home run.
“We had traffic, we squared some balls,” Roberts said. “But unfortunately, it was just right for those guys.”
Tony Gonsolin steps forward
Tony Gonsolin appears to be finally making progress in his recovery from a sprained ankle.
More than three weeks after twisting his ankle in the Dodgers’ spring training, trotting slowly, Gonsolin has begun tossing the bullpen.
“Tony’s fine,” Roberts said, a day after the right-hander threw about 30 pitches during a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium.
Roberts said Gonsolin will return to the team’s Camelback Ranch Arizona facility next week to face the hitters on Wednesday.
The team hopes to have Gonsolin back in his major league rotation by the end of April. Meanwhile, Michael Grove will get at least 2-3 starts in place of Gonsolin.