“I should have been a little bit quicker to save him, but it was a heck of a play,” Roberts said of Bellinger, whose legs splayed in the air like a wishbone as he landed on his left shoulder on a dugout step but managed to keep the ball squeezed in the mitt on his left hand.
The momentum that Bellinger created with his bat and his glove carried over into the next inning, which Austin Barnes led off with a home run to end Greinke’s night and give Los Angeles a two-run cushion.
“I think he showed a lot of heart right there going over the rails,” said Barnes, the Dodgers’ catcher.
The Dodgers’ relievers then took over where their resplendent starter, Yu Darvish, left off. After Descalso’s solo shot, the Diamondbacks did not manage another hit until David Peralta’s one-out single in the ninth. Paul Goldschmidt, who had two home runs in the series, struck out swinging against the Dodgers’ closer, Kenley Jansen, for the final out.
A short while later, Bellinger stood drenched in beer in the visitors’ clubhouse and described his catch as if recalling a wild dream.
Credit Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
“I just tried to get to the railing as fast as I could,” he said. “I jumped, then I hit the ground. It all happened really fast.”
Bellinger grew up not far from Chase Field, in Chandler, Ariz., and his baseball career has been a blur. In 2007, he starred on a Chandler team that played in the Little League World Series. After a standout career at Hamilton High, located only 28 miles from the Diamondbacks’ ballpark, Bellinger was drafted in the fourth round by the Dodgers in 2013.
In four years, he went from the rookie leagues in the minors to being the front-runner for the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award. Bellinger, who was playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League at this time last year, started this season with the Dodgers’ Class AAA team in Oklahoma City before making his major-league debut on April 25. In 132 regular-season games with the Dodgers, he batted .267 — along with all those home runs.
“This whole season has been crazy,” Bellinger said, adding: “It was really cool coming back here to Chase Field. I played here in high school and went to a lot of games as a kid. So to celebrate here on the Dodgers is pretty special.”
The local product who made good for the visiting team engendered a few boo birds on Monday night, but they were drowned out by the chants of “Co-dy” from the Dodgers fans in the sellout crowd of 48,641.
“I had a lot of friends and family in the stands,” said Bellinger, whose rooting section did not include his father, Clay, a firefighter in Gilbert, who had to work.
Clay Bellinger was a member of the 1999 and 2000 World Series champions as a Yankees backup and had the briefest of cameos with another champion, the 2002 Anaheim Angels.
On Monday night, the walk from the clubhouse to the interview room, which required threading his way through the crowd of children waiting outside the visitors’ clubhouse for their fathers, was a nostalgic trip for Bellinger.
“I remember going in the parades through downtown New York, and seeing those videos are pretty crazy,” he said. “So hopefully we can get one in L.A. and I can experience that for myself.”
His father, Bellinger said, has always been the one he turns to when he is struggling with some aspect of his game. On Monday, Roberts filled that role.
“I was frustrated at myself not getting the job done, and he kind of pulled me aside and said, ‘Next at-bat, don’t try to do too much,’ ’’ Bellinger said. “So I kind of took that and ran with it.”