PHOENIX — Mookie Betts immediately looked back at his original position on Sunday.
Betts hit a homer in his first game back from the injured list and made a great defensive play at second base to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 13-0 to win two of three in the series.
“It was really nice to go back to my roots,” said Betts, who usually plays in the outfield. “It was good to get myself back in the game.”
With a sore left hip, manager Dave Roberts and Betts thought it wise to let him play second – the position he played when he came up with Boston in 2014 – to ease the tension.
His hip didn’t seem to be a problem. In the first inning, he singled off Arizona’s Drew Ellis. Betts played on the shortstop side of the bag in the squad and went back for a pop up as a wide receiver reeled in a pass over his shoulder.
“That catch changed the landscape of the game,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers then scored five runs in the second inning and chased Caleb Smith after the bases-clearing double by Albert Pujols ended the score in the inning.
Betts later turned a double by playing behind the second, running to the base and firing at the first to finish it off. He is likely to return to right field on Tuesday when the Dodgers host their 2017 World Series foe, the Houston Astros.
All told, Betts, who played one second-place game for the Dodgers last season, had two putouts and three assists in the win.
Trea Turner, who took over from Washington last week, is expected to play second and Max Scherzer will start in the second of the two-game set on Wednesday. Scherzer joined the squad on Saturday in Arizona.
“It’s going to be a fun homestand,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers also play against crosstown rival Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium later this week.
Justin Turner hit his 20th homer with a three-run shot in the seventh and Betts hit catcher Bryan Holaday, who threw the ninth, for his 15th. Betts was 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs scored.
One run would have been enough for the Dodgers. Julio Urias (13-3) threw five scoreless innings and three relievers gave up no hits in the last four, ending the four-hit shutout.
AJ Pollock punctuated his former team with four basehits and extended his hit streak to 11 games.
“He’s carrying us now,” Roberts said of the outfielder, who hits .526 against Arizona over nine games this season.
Smith (3-8) struggled to find the strike zone for the Diamondbacks, walking five in 1 innings and 70 pitches. The final pitch was Pujols’ three-run double on a full count. He walked Chris Taylor with the bases loaded to force the first run.
“I hate walking boys. I won’t be able to sleep tonight,” Smith said. “Walking killed me. I have to figure it out.”
Manager Torey Lovullo stayed with his starter as he retired the side after getting the bases loaded before walking Taylor, giving up an infield hit to Turner and eventually the big hit to Pujols.
“You want to give your starting pitcher a chance to solve those early inning problems,” said Lovullo. “We needed Caleb to give us four or five innings. We tried to get him through.”
Urias finished on 83 pitches, walked no and struckout seven while limiting Arizona to four basehits.
To make way for Betts, the Dodgers chose nutsman Zach McKinstry for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Los Angeles also selected the contract of Oklahoma City-based RHP Yefry Ramirez and sent Saturday-evening starter RHP Mitch White back to the Triple-A team.
The Associated Press contributes to this report.
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