Nathan Eovaldi makes it a debut to remember in 5-3 Dodgers win
Nothing like a first time. First time driving a car, first kiss, first game in the majors.
OK, so most will never step on a major league field. For a precious chosen few, though, it’s the memory of a lifetime.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, all of 21 and fresh up from double-A Chattanooga, made his debut Saturday night against Arizona.
And if it wasn’t completely perfect, it was close enough, with Eovaldi going five innings to pick up the victory in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks.
A night that gave the Dodgers another scare when rookie shortstop Dee Gordon left the game with an injured shoulder (it is not serious) and saw catcher Rod Barajas collect three hits and drive in two runs, it was the fresh-faced Eovaldi who created the buzz.
Eovaldi was rushed to the majors when another prized right-hander from Chattanooga, Rubby De La Rosa, was lost to the Dodgers for the season with an elbow injury.
So the call went to the young Eovaldi, and he responded. He overcame one shaky inning to hold the Diamondbacks to two runs. For one night, he looked a lot like a pitcher who belonged.
In his five innings, he gave up the two runs on four hits (all singles) and two walks. He threw in the mid-90s, and struck out seven. He even got a hit and scored a run.
That made for a pretty nice debut.
The Dodgers gave Eovaldi an early lead in the second when Juan Rivera doubled off Arizona starter Joe Saunders and was singled home by Barajas.
Eovaldi briefly looked like a young, nervous pitcher making his major league debut in the bottom of the inning. He got the first two outs, but then loaded the bases on two walks and a single.
Which brought up Saunders, who promptly singled to drive in two runs. The kid was suddenly down, 2-1.
But the Dodgers tied the score in the third inning after Eovaldi led off with a single. A Gordon basehit and a sacrifice bunt by Casey Blake moved Eovaldi to third base, from where he scored on an Andre Ethier groundout.
The Dodgers took the lead for good in the sixth. Ethier singled, and one out later, shortstop Willie Bloomquist dropped Rivera’s grounder for what was ruled a fielder’s choice.
Aaron Miles then lined a run-scoring hit to put the Dodgers up and end the night for Saunders (8-9). Brad Ziegler relieved, but Barajas -- who homered Friday -- laced a single to center field to score Rivera.
When the Dodgers hit for Eovaldi, he was up 4-2 and on his was to his first victory.
Gordon left the game in the third inning with an injured right shoulder, which he hurt tagging out Kelly Johnson in a rundown. X-rays showed it was neither dislocated nor separated, and he later joined teammates in the dugout.
Blake Hawksworth threw two shutout innings of relief for the Dodgers, a shaky Matt Guerrier gave up a run in his one inning and Scott Elbert pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his second save.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Nathan Eovaldi makes his major league debut for the Dodgers on Friday night in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images