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LAD@ARI: Eovaldi wins his Major League debut

PHOENIX -- Nathan Eovaldi seemed pretty comfortable Saturday night, even when covered in shaving cream.

Following Javy Guerra, Josh Lindblom and especially the injured Rubby De La Rosa -- whose spot Eovaldi has taken in the starting rotation -- the 21-year-old right-hander became the latest to jump from Double-A Chattanooga to a successful Major League debut, pitching the Dodgers to a 5-3 win over Arizona.

The Dodgers did get a scare when rookie shortstop Dee Gordon hurt his right shoulder during a rundown mishap, but he escaped serious injury and is considered day to day.

Eovaldi, though, couldn't escape the shaving-cream celebration for his first Major League victory, so he did his postgame interview covered in the stuff.

The right-hander allowed two runs over five innings with seven strikeouts. He delivered as advertised with a fastball in the mid-90s and a slider he trusts. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter during the Dodgers' two-run sixth inning, the only two walks and two runs he allowed coming during a brief wild spell in Arizona's two-out rally in the second inning.

"There are a lot of guys [from Chattanooga] here in the room and before the game they talked to me," Eovaldi said of his comfort level. "After the first strike, I felt real good."

There are so many guys in the room, that Eovaldi said the mind-set of pitchers at Chattanooga isn't about getting a promotion to Triple-A.

"You're one stop from the big leagues," he said. "You know you could get a callup any time."

His time was the result of De La Rosa's misfortune. Eovaldi got the news during a rain delay when Lookouts manager Carlos Subero made an announcement to the entire team.

"It was emotional," Eovaldi said.

Manager Don Mattingly liked that Eovaldi threw strikes early and kept his pitch count (77) down. He planned to let him go out for the sixth inning, but decided against it when the Dodgers sent seven batters to the plate in the top of the sixth.

"He attacked for the most part, he threw the ball over the plate and his stuff was really good," said Mattingly. "He handled himself well."

And even with the two-out wildness in the second, Eovaldi said he was able to "regroup" and follow with three more scoreless innings.

"He did bounce back after that, and that's a good sign that he wasn't too amped up, trying to throw the ball through the catcher's glove," said Mattingly, who indicated Eovaldi would start again Friday against the Astros in his home debut.

Eovaldi also got a hit in his first at-bat, defying Lindblom's pregame scouting report that panned Eovaldi's swing.

"We were hoping, from our standpoint, that he might have been a little more nervous, but that didn't seem to be a big issue," said D-backs bench coach Alan Trammell, who assumed the helm after manager Kirk Gibson exited with an illness following one inning. "He's got a good arm we knew that, but again, just hoping that the first go-round, he'd get a little nervous and maybe put a couple guys on base and maybe leave a couple balls in the middle of the plate. Well, he didn't do that, actually helped himself out with a hit, so he did a good job and actually picked a guy off, so he'll remember his Major League debut."

With rookie closer Guerra and Mike MacDougal shut down for the game after long outings the night before, Mattingly used Scott Elbert in the ninth inning. Despite allowing a one-out double to Ryan Roberts, Elbert protected the lead and notched his second save.

By going 9-4 over the past 13 games, the Dodgers are nine games out of first place, the closest they've been since June 27.

Offensively, former D-back Rod Barajas, who homered and drove in three runs Friday night, added three hits and two RBIs in this game.

Barajas was just as impressed as his manager with Eovaldi, who shook off the veteran catcher twice.

"He had one bump in the road, but if he pitches the way he did the other four innings, he'll be tough to beat," Barajas said. "Really, we went with two pitches. He keeps that fastball down in the zone, but can elevate it ahead in the count. And he's got that slider. That's nice to have.

"He seemed comfortable, not scared. I'm sure it's good to have guys here that he's played with. You see them make the jump and figure, if they can do this, why can't I?" Comments