AJ Pollock leads Dodgers to win over his former team – Press-Enterprise

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PHOENIX — No hard feelings – but lots of hard contact.

AJ Pollock and the Arizona Diamondbacks went their separate ways following the 2018 season. But they didn’t go very far, giving Pollock the chance to revisit his former workplace and show off for his former employers.

In the latest edition of that, Pollock had a two-run home run and crashed into the left field wall to make an outstanding catch in the Dodgers’ 4-2 dismissal of the Diamondbacks on Friday night.

At roughly the same time, the San Francisco Giants found the going at Coors Field much smoother than the Dodgers did during their visit this week. The Giants (100-54) beat the Colorado Rockies, 7-2, Friday night, keeping the Dodgers (99-55) at bay, one game back in the NL West with eight games left in the regular season.

The Giants reached 100 wins with the Dodgers right behind them at 99. Their magic number to clinch the division title and end the Dodgers’ reign after eight NL West titles is down to eight.

“I’m sure they’re looking at us saying, ‘Those guys keep winning.’ And we’re looking at them and those guys keep winning too,” Pollock said of the high-speed division race. “Two good teams. Both teams are winning the games they’re supposed to win. It’s fun. For us, it needs to just be you come in and you have one game that day and that’s the focus. You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself. But, yeah, the Giants are playing great.”

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Pollock’s homer was part of a three-run second inning that also included a leadoff double by Will Smith and an RBI single by Justin Turner. The Dodgers never trailed after that, though they managed to add on just one more run (cashing in a leadoff double by Trea Turner in the sixth inning).

Friday was Pollock’s 30th game against his former team and he has batted .367 (44 for 120) with 13 doubles, eight home runs, 25 runs scored and 26 driven in. He has kicked his former team particularly hard when they are down (having lost 105 games this season), going 20 for 42 with seven doubles, four home runs and 11 RBIs in 10 games this year.

“I don’t know exactly what it is,” Pollock said. “It’s familiar. The backdrop (at Chase Field) feels like home. It was home for six years. I’ve always liked hitting here but I can’t put a finger on exactly why.”

Pollock also taunted his ex with defense this time, crashing into the wall to run down Josh Rojas’ drive in the first inning.

But Pollock’s catch wasn’t the most impressive defensive play of the night. It might not even have been the best catch made by a Dodgers left fielder in the game.

In the fourth inning with one out and a runner on first, Kole Calhoun sent a drive into right-center field. Making just his second career start in center field (and only his 12th as an outfielder), Gavin Lux flashed his athleticism, running it down on the warning track. Right fielder Mookie Betts (who has talked with Lux about the transition from infield to outfield) gave an excited hop of joy when Lux made the catch.

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The runner at first, Daulton Varsho, was so convinced it was going to bang off the wall for a double that he had already rounded second base and was easily doubled off first to end the inning.

“Unbelievable. This is a guy who hasn’t played a whole lot of outfield at all,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “That was a heckuva play. Sheer foot speed but the angle, the line to the baseball – that was a big play. Today we scored enough to win but the defense, outfield defense in particular, carried us.”

Pollock’s day was done after a double switch in the eighth inning. Out of the starting lineup for the ninth time in the past 11 games, Chris Taylor entered late as a pinch-hitter then stayed in to play left field.


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