After setting an MLB record with eight home runs on Opening Day, the Los Angeles Dodgers also made history the following night by playing the franchise’s longest regular-season home game at six hours and five minutes.
Though, it came in a loss and taxed the bullpen, making for somewhat of a precarious situation heading into the third game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite that, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts maintained his bullpen would be able to answer the bell Saturday night.
Nevertheless, length from Kenta Maeda would be of benefit, and that’s exactly what the right-hander provided in his regular-season debut. Maeda became the first Dodgers starter to pitch into the seventh inning this season.
Roberts credited him for putting the Diamondbacks on their heels in what finished an 18-5 rout, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
“Kenta set the tone,” Roberts said. “We needed length today. Tried to get him through that seventh inning, but he was really in control all night long.”
Heading into the third game of the series, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ross Stripling combined for 13 strikeouts and held the Diamondbacks to just one run over 11.1 innings. Maeda’s start got off to an inauspicious beginning as Jarrod Dyson opened the game with a home run.
However, Maeda settled in to retire 11 of the next 13 batters faced. Alex Avila hit the Diamondbacks’ second solo homer of the game in the fifth inning, and Adam Jones led off the seventh with home run.
Cody Bellinger offset Avila’s long ball with one of his own in the bottom of the fifth, and the Dodgers added seven runs in the sixth to break the game open.
Maeda nearly completed seven innings, but was removed at 106 pitches after walking Nick Ahmed with two outs. Relying on an effective changeup, Maeda collected six strikeouts and held the Diamondbacks to five hits.
The Dodgers finished the game by relying on Brock Stewart for 1.1 innings and Russell Martin in the ninth.