PHOENIX (AP)—For the third time in five home games, the Arizona Diamondbacks overcame a deficit of six runs or more.
For the first time, they won the game.
Arizona spotted Los Angeles a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning Tuesday night, then rallied to beat the Dodgers 10-8. Chad Tracy’s first career grand slam sparked a seven-run fifth inning as the Diamondbacks matched a club record by overcoming a six-run deficit to win.
“I’m kind of getting used to it,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s not the greatest feeling in the world. But something we’ve shown is that even though we get down big early, we have the propensity to come back.”
The big early deficits and big comebacks are a testament to Arizona’s spotty starting pitching and its potent batting order.
It was the second time in three games the Dodgers couldn’t hold a big lead. They blew a 5-0 ninth-inning lead at San Diego on Sunday, losing 6-5 in 10 innings.
“It’s a tough thing any time you score a lead like that,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. “And it’s something that we need to get out of our system because it gets old quickly when your offense comes to life out there, and whatever you give doesn’t seem to be enough. It tends to be a long day.”
J.D. Drew’s two homers weren’t enough to prevent the Dodgers’ third straight loss.
The Diamondbacks had overcome a six-run deficit to win only once in franchise history—against San Francisco on Sept. 15, 1998, the Diamondbacks’ first season.
This year’s team has overcome a deficit of six runs or more three times in two weeks. On April 17, the Diamondbacks lost 10-9 after rallying from a 7-0 deficit against San Francisco, and on April 20, they lost 9-7 after rallying from a 6-0 deficit against the Giants.
This time, they made sure they finished the job, although it wasn’t easy.
On Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks fell behind 6-0 when Arizona starter Orlando Hernandez gave up six runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings.
Frustrated by his team’s sluggish hitting, Little shuffled his batting order. Little flipped his first and second hitters, putting center fielder Kenny Lofton in the leadoff slot and dropping Furcal to second. Furcal came into the game hitting .200.
The moves had their desired effect as the Dodgers reached Hernandez for two runs in the first inning, three in the second and one in the fourth.
But it wasn’t enough for Dodger starter Odalis Perez, who needed only seven batters in the fifth inning to blow the six-run lead. The Diamondbacks rallied with seven runs, one shy of the team record for runs in an inning.
“It’s tough when you get up like that and they come back and sting you a little bit,” said Dodger left fielder Andre Ethier, who made his big-league debut in his hometown.
The big blow was Tracy’s first career grand slam, a towering 381-foot shot to right field off Perez.
“That ended up being fairly big,” Melvin said.
Arizona watched its 7-6 lead disappear when Drew led off the seventh inning with a home run off Luis Vizcaino (1-2). But the Diamondbacks scored two in the bottom of the inning on singles by Craig Counsell and Eric Byrnes off rookie reliever Takashi Saito (2-1) and added another run in the eighth on a double by Shawn Green.
Green, who also homered, and Byrnes each contributed four hits to Arizona’s 15-hit attack.
“It’s a fun team to be a part of,” Green said. “It’s a fun offense.”
Green robbed the Dodgers’ Rafael Furcal of a possible game-tying homer in the eighth.
Green did all this despite suffering cramps in both calves. Melvin said he had considered lifting Green in the inning before he made the big catch.
“I ate a banana, drank some Gatorade to get some electrolytes,” said Green, who has hit in eight straight games. “I was worried about having to run for a ball, but it was fine.”
Jose Valverde pitched the ninth, allowing Drew’s second homer of the game, for his seventh save.
Trailing 6-0 in the fourth, Melvin probably didn’t think he’d have to summon his closer. But he’s getting used to it.
“We’ll probably go through enough of these to where we’ll just keep battling until the end,” Melvin said. “That was the case tonight.”
Lofton scored for the ninth straight game, the team’s longest streak this year. … Dodgers LF Andre Ethier, a Phoenix native, doubled in the seventh inning for his first big-league hit. … Arizona has scored eight runs in an innings four times.