Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer
Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts, left, hits a solo home run as Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Diaz.
Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts hits a solo home run during the third inning of the Dodgers’ 7-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

A back injury cost Mookie Betts four games and delayed the franchise cornerstone’s debut in front of a home crowd at Dodger Stadium a little longer after a season of cardboard cutouts.

But, finally, at 7:17 p.m. Tuesday, 427 days after the Dodgers acquired him from the Boston Red Sox, Betts was introduced to cheers for his first plate appearance in front of fans in Los Angeles as a member of the home team.

Two innings later, he gave the 15,121 people in attendance more to cheer about in the Dodgers’ 7-0 win over the Colorado Rockies when he cracked a moon shot down the left-field line for his second home run of the season on a night of home debuts.

The solo homer came in support of Trevor Bauer, who gave up one hit over seven scoreless innings in his home debut as the Dodgers (9-2) won their fourth straight game.

The Rockies’ only hit off the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner was an infield single from Garrett Hampson in the third inning that Bauer nearly converted into an out with an acrobatic one-handed play. He recorded nine strikeouts to two walks, tossed 99 pitches and revived his one-eyed act for at least one pitch, getting Trevor Story to ground out to end the sixth inning with his right eye closed.

“I just really wanted it,” Bauer said.

Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela, meanwhile, was chased after giving up five runs in 2 2/3 innings for the Rockies (3-8), losers of four consecutive games.

The Dodgers took a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning on back-to-back home runs from Corey Seager and Chris Taylor. Seager hit the first pitch he saw — a 94-mph fastball — the other way for his first home run of the season. Two pitches later, Taylor smacked a slider over the wall in right-center. Max Muncy’s blast in the sixth inning gave the Dodgers their season-high fourth home run of the night.

Senzatela has surrendered 24 runs (23 earned) with 10 home runs in 26 2/3 innings across six starts at Dodger Stadium. That’s good for a 7.90 ERA. The Dodgers also pummeled Senzatela at Coors Field in their second game of the season, scoring seven runs in 3 1/3 innings on April 2.

“I just thought we did a good job battling him,” Seager said.

The Dodgers’ final debut Tuesday came in the eighth inning when David Price relieved Bauer for his first appearance at Dodger Stadium since he arrived via trade with Betts after opting out of the 2020 season. The left-hander logged a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts in his first outing in eight days.

Betts’ first game in a week — and the news preceding his return — provided a sense of relief. He finished one for five with a strikeout before he was pulled in the ninth inning, but, most importantly, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he didn’t report any discomfort.

“I think it was more of a scare than anything structural,” Betts said before the game. “Precautionary to make sure I didn’t make anything worse. Had a couple of tests done but everything came back really clean.”

Betts said he never dealt with a back injury before his back recently started bothering him. He doesn’t know how the discomfort surfaced, but it bugged him enough for the Dodgers to play it safe and have him sit last Wednesday in Oakland.

He explained that he felt the back pain only when he ran. He “turned the corner” over the weekend, but he said he stayed off the field until he felt the issue was behind him. The Dodgers went 3-1 without him, including a weekend three-game sweep of the Nationals.

“Running is a super-important thing for my game,” Betts said, “and so I didn’t want to limit myself too much when we have guys on the bench who can do plenty fine in this lineup.”

Roberts said the team will be more careful with Betts moving forward and give him more days off than initially planned. He said Betts will start in center field Wednesday and he won’t play in Thursday’s series finale. But he doesn’t expect Betts to be limited when on the field.

“I think from the training staff, medical staff, he feels great,” Roberts said. “Great means to me that he’ll play without a governor and play the way he knows how to play the game.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

Source