Dodgers have a long night as they are routed by Diamondbacks

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It was tough to tell what was more lethargic Wednesday night.

The mind-numbing pace of a 3-hour, 23-minute game at Dodger Stadium.

Or the head-scratching performance of the Dodgers’ offense after a four-run first-inning outburst.

After surging in front with a quick four-spot against debuting Arizona Diamondbacks starter Cristian Mena, the Dodgers’ bats came to a screeching halt in their 12-4 loss at Chavez Ravine, with the team’s muted play mirroring the slow, meandering rhythm of their second-longest nine-inning game of the season.

“We just drew dead tonight,” manager Dave Roberts said, “after that first inning.”

Indeed, the game couldn’t have started better for the Dodgers, who were still riding high from a walk-off Tuesday night win.

With originally scheduled Diamondbacks starter Jordan Montgomery out with a knee injury, Arizona turned to Mena, a rookie right-hander, for his MLB debut.

His big-league welcome: A first-inning blitz from the top of the Dodgers order.

Shohei Ohtani singled. Will Smith walked. Then, Freddie Freeman and Teoscar Hernández blasted back-to-back home runs, answering Arizona’s opening run in the top half of the inning to jump out to a sudden 4-1 lead.

“I’m sure he had a lot of nerves out there, a lot of excitement,” Freeman said. “He was falling behind hitters in that first inning and we were able to jump on him.”

And with breakout rookie pitcher Gavin Stone on the bump, and the Diamondbacks seemingly staring down a long night on the mound, all the pieces appeared to be in place for the Dodgers to cruise to a rout.

Instead, they squandered the early advantage without much of their typical fight.

After recording four hits, four runs and one walk in their first five at-bats, the Dodgers finished the night two-for-26 as a team, recording more double plays (three) than hits (two) over a scoreless closing eight innings — the final six of which were handled by four Arizona relievers.

“Their bullpen,” Freeman said, “we just didn’t have anything for it the rest of the game.”

In the bottom of the third, the Dodgers failed to capitalize on a two-on, one-out opportunity, when Freeman was doubled off trying to score on a fly out.

In the fifth, another double play — this time a routine grounder from Hernández — negated Freeman’s one-out walk.

The Dodgers finally put another runner in scoring position in the sixth inning, after Miguel Rojas doubled off the wall. But as suddenly as the opportunity arose, it was dashed nearly as fast. Pinch-hitter Kiké Hernández struck out. Chris Taylor grounded out to end the inning.

And, with Arizona ahead 8-4, the Dodgers never threatened to come back again.

Stone didn’t help the cause much on the pitching side.

After giving up just one run from a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, he struggled to find a rhythm in his first start since last week’s shutout against the Chicago White Sox.

He put two batters aboard in the second inning, laboring to retire that frame without any damage.

In the third, he finally came unglued, giving up one run on a Eugenio Suárez double before serving up a tying two-run home run to Gabriel Moreno.

“My arm felt good, just command wasn’t there,” said Stone, whose ERA rose from 2.73 entering the night to 3.03 by the end of his three-inning, four-run outing, dealing a potential blow to his All-Star candidacy.

“You just have to forget about it,” Stone added. “I just wasn’t executing.”

While Stone’s night ended after the third, the Dodgers’ pitching problems persisted throughout.

Christian Walker continued his career-long dominance of the club by whacking his 16th and 17th career home runs at Dodger Stadium. The first one was a solo drive off Ryan Yarbrough, breaking a 4-4 tie in the top of the fifth.

The latter served as superfluous insurance, a three-run shot in the ninth that made Walker — who also had a double and single in his four-for-five performance — the ballpark’s all-time slugging leader (minimum 100 career plate appearances) with a .741 mark.

“It’s like [he is] better than Shohei here at Dodger Stadium,” Roberts said of Walker, who also has a .333 batting average and 29 RBIs at the ballpark in just 41 career games. “It’s a division rival. I do think that we bring out the best in him. He actually plays really well at home against us as well, but at this ballpark it’s otherworldly. He doesn’t give anything away.”

On Wednesday night, neither did Walker’s Diamondbacks teammates.

In between his blasts, Arizona added another run in the fifth, then two more in the sixth on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s two-run homer.

Along the way, the Dodgers were also victims of several self-induced miscues.

Freeman was easily thrown out on the third-inning sac fly attempt, trying to score on a relatively shallow fly ball to right fielder Jake McCarthy.

An at-bat before Gurriel’s back-breaking sixth-inning homer, Teoscar Hernández seemed to mistakenly think Walker had hit another home run to left field, pulling up at the warning track on a double that clanked off the top of the wall and might have been catchable.

And the Dodgers’ five pitchers combined for 201 total pitches, slowing a 7:10 p.m. game that Roberts quipped “dragged from the get-go.”

“I looked up and it was 9:15 p.m., and it was like the fifth inning,” Freeman said. “I was like, ‘Whoa.’ [It felt] like pre-pitch clock. But yeah, just a longer game. Wish we would have won it.”

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