D-backs’ Christian Walker to shoot for Dodger Stadium fences again

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker will have another chance to do damage against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the finale of a three-game series Thursday night.

Walker hit two home runs Wednesday as the Diamondbacks rallied for a 12-4 victory to even the series. Walker has seven home runs in eight games against the Dodgers this season and five home runs in five games at Dodger Stadium.

To show this is not a recent development, Walker’s 25 homers against Los Angeles are his most against any team.

“It’s a good place to hit, and I see the ball well,” Walker said of Dodger Stadium. “It’s just one of those things. There’s not like a rhyme or reason to it. I think a big part of it is the lineup and the protection around me in the lineup. It gives me the freedom to take some big swings and try to change the score.”

After dominating with six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics in his return from the injured list on Saturday, Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen will face the Dodgers on Thursday.

Gallen (6-4, 2.83 ERA) allowed just one hit against the A’s after being out the rest of June with a hamstring strain.

“Felt like the things I’ve been working on delivery-wise had kind of clicked,” Gallen said.

Gallen has just one win against the Dodgers (1-4) in 11 regular-season starts, with a solid 3.48 ERA. In the National League Division Series last year, he earned the win in the second game of a three-game sweep when he gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers will work with an offense that can become stagnant at times. That was on display Wednesday when they scored four runs after four batters against Arizona right-hander Cristian Mena, who was making his first career start. Freddie Freeman and Teoscar Hernandez hit back-to-back home runs.

But the Dodgers didn’t score again as Mena settled down and four relievers combined to limit the Dodgers’ attack.

“We did a good job of (getting to) the starter, but then they went to the pen and got multiples from different guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We just didn’t have an answer. They kept adding on, to their credit. We just didn’t threaten.”

After winning 6-5 Tuesday, the Dodgers will try to take the series Thursday and avoid back-to-back disappointments after they lost two of three games at San Francisco over the weekend.

Even with Wednesday’s loss, Los Angeles is 6-3 since June 22 and 9-5 since Mookie Betts went on the injured list June 17 with a fractured left hand.

Veteran Miguel Rojas has given the Dodgers elite defense at shortstop since Betts went down and enough offense to cover for his MVP teammate. Shohei Ohtani has done his part with a home run in 10 of his past 15 games.

“We’re certainly better with Mookie, nobody would debate that, but guys have stepped up and guys are starting to play a little better,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And Miguel Rojas, man, I can’t say enough about what he’s done for us.”

The Dodgers will send rookie right-hander Landon Knack (1-1, 2.08 ERA) to the mound for his seventh career start. He went five innings against Arizona in his third career outing April 30 and gave up one run and four hits in a no-decision in the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss in 10 innings.

–Field Level Media