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Huge inning highlights D-backs' new outlook

Arizona rides nine-run eighth to another comeback win
MLB.com

PHOENIX -- It's only April and probably a tad too early, but there appears to be a different feel this season to the D-backs, who blew open Friday night's 13-5 win over the Dodgers at Chase Field with a nine-run eighth inning.

The players sense it, and new manager Torey Lovullo knows it, even though he wasn't around for last year's unexpected 93-loss season.

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PHOENIX -- It's only April and probably a tad too early, but there appears to be a different feel this season to the D-backs, who blew open Friday night's 13-5 win over the Dodgers at Chase Field with a nine-run eighth inning.

The players sense it, and new manager Torey Lovullo knows it, even though he wasn't around for last year's unexpected 93-loss season.

View Full Game Coverage

After Friday night's explosive comeback, the D-backs are 11-7 overall and 7-1 at home with nine games to go in this current homestand. The home record matches the best club mark for the start of a season, set in 2008.

Video: LAD@ARI: D-backs score nine runs in the 8th inning

"I feel like this group thinks it can win any game in any time and in any facility," Lovullo said. "I know that there's a certain comfort we have in playing here. Maybe there's a distinct home-field advantage, I'm not sure. It's only been eight games. Ask me again in August and I'll have better thoughts."

Too small of a sample size, as they say?

"Yeah, too small a sample size," he deadpanned. "We need more data."

The eighth inning offered at least a month's worth. The D-backs sent 14 batters to the plate and had six hits, three of them doubles. Three Dodgers relievers walked five, and Sergio Romo contributed a bases-loaded balk that plated the go-ahead run. Everything snowballed from there.

The five walks tied for the most by Dodgers pitchers in a single inning since 1974.

"You've got to give credit to those guys over there," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "They were aggressive in the zone. As we call it, they kept the line moving."

The Dodgers, who overall made two errors, walked eight, had a wild pitch, a passed ball and the balk, actually came into the bottom half of that inning with a 5-4 lead courtesy of a pinch-hit homer by Chris Taylor leading off the seventh against Archie Bradley. Fourteen batters later that seemed like a distant memory.

In their dugout, the D-backs were digging it as the baserunners and runs kept piling up. It was the sixth time in club history the D-backs have scored nine runs or more in an inning.

"It was a little different in there just because there was a lot of walks and singles," said Paul Goldschmidt, who had a two-run single in the inning. "It really was just a great team inning there. Guys weren't trying to do too much. It was a close game, and once we had the lead, we just wanted to keep adding on."

Again, it's early, but the D-backs have shown a penchant at home to rally from behind, scoring most of their runs from the fifth inning on. Of their 11 wins, this was already the eighth in come-from-behind fashion.

It's a stark difference to last season, when the D-backs were a perplexing 33-48 at home and 36-45 on the road.

Last year, they never spent a day in first place in the National League West, a division they last won in 2011. This year, they've already spent 15 days in first place.

What a difference a season makes.

"You've got to hand it to everyone," Chris Owings said. "The enthusiasm on the bench, especially during that big inning, was really something. Guys are just cheering each other out there. You can feel it in the dugout. We're just waiting for something good to happen instead of something bad to happen. It's really special."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Owings