Dodgers give up two homers to Christian Walker, again, and drop series to Arizona

The Dodgers dugout sat in quiet dejection.

Two rows behind it, a Dodgers fan rose to his feet and began bowing down his arms.

Rounding the bases before them was the club’s new No. 1 enemy, a decent MLB slugger who, during trips to Dodger Stadium in recent years, suddenly performs like a cross of Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth.

Once again, Christian Walker had the Dodgers’ number.

For a second straight night, he hit two home runs to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 9-3, rubber-match win at Chavez Ravine.

Entering this week, Walker already had a reputation as a Dodgers killer. In 87 previous games against the club, he’d hit 22 home runs and collected 50 RBIs. His numbers against franchise icon Clayton Kershaw were especially good, with a .294 career batting average off the future Hall of Famer.

“I got some thoughts,” Kershaw, who remains sidelined following offseason shoulder surgery, told reporters Thursday afternoon about how the team could neutralize Walker in the series finale. “For our guys, not for you.”

Whatever Kershaw was thinking, it apparently didn’t work.

Instead, after hitting one home run in Tuesday’s series-opener, then two more in Arizona’s rout of the Dodgers on Wednesday night, Walker continued his weeklong tear with another two-homer explosion Thursday, etching his name into recent Dodger Stadium history in the process.

Since 2002, Walker’s 19 home runs at the ballpark are tied for most by any visiting player, matching former Diamondbacks star Paul Goldschmidt. Among visiting players with at least 100 plate appearances at the stadium in that span, Walker’s .783 slugging percentage is first, while his .341 batting average is second.

Both of Walker’s home runs Thursday came off rookie Dodgers starter Landon Knack.

In the first inning, he followed a Joc Pederson home run with a solo blast of his own. In the third inning, Walker launched a two-run shot deep to left field, helping Arizona open a 4-0 lead.

The most telling moment of Walker’s Dodgers dominance, however, might have come in the top of the fifth. With a runner on second, two outs and left-handed reliever Anthony Banda on the mound, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts raised four fingers from the dugout.

An intentional walk.

To a hitter that, in ballparks other than Dodger Stadium this year, was batting .257 with a .788 OPS.

While Walker would only draw one more walk the rest of the night (he finished two for three on Thursday and eight for 13 in the series with five home runs and nine RBIs), his contributions were enough to key the Diamondbacks’ series-clinching win.

The Dodgers scored three runs in the fourth inning on an RBI ground-out from Kiké Hernández and a two-run single from Austin Barnes.

But after a fielding flub by Freddie Freeman in the fifth helped the Diamondbacks restore their multi-run advantage, Arizona’s bullpen shut the door over the final five innings, while their lineup tacked on four insurance runs in the top of the ninth.

Of bigger concern for the Dodgers on Thursday was outfielder Jason Heyward, who exited the game after two innings because of left knee pain.

Heyward took only one at-bat Thursday, grounding out in the first, but also appeared shaken up after leaping for Pederson’s home run ball at the wall in right.

The veteran had been slumping of late, entering Thursday just three for 34 in his last 11 games.

But he remained a key part of their outfield platoon, playing most days in right field given the Dodgers’ heavy dose of opposing right-handed pitchers.

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