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Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker continues his Dodger Stadium rampage, hitting 2 more homers

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Christian Walker put on another power display at Dodger Stadium, igniting the Arizona Diamondbacks in his first two at-bats with his 18th and 19th home runs in 42 career games at the ballpark.

“He’s playing at an unbelievable level, an All-Star-caliber level,” Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen said. “I hope Major League Baseball sees that and they find a way to put him on the (All-Star) team.”

While his teammates erupted, Walker crossed home plate with a placid expression that belied his jaw-dropping performance. The Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles 9-3 on Thursday, taking two of three games from the NL West leaders.

“He’s Babe Ruth against us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Walker has homered in five consecutive games at the third-oldest ballpark in the majors, tying the longest single-season streak at the stadium with teammate Joc Pederson, who did it in 2015 with Los Angeles.

“He won us the series,” Pederson said. “It’s incredible to see someone in person go on a run like that.”

Pederson and Walker went back-to-back with two outs in the first off rookie Landon Knack, with Walker’s blast going 435 feet to center. After Pederson walked with two outs in the third, Walker followed with a two-run homer to left off Knack’s 1-2 pitch give Arizona 4-0 lead in the 9-3 victory.

“I know enough about this game, try to minimize this roller coaster,” Walker said. “Appreciate the good but this game is difficult every day, so just trying to be realistic about expectations.”

Walker had five homers in the three-game series. He has 22 homers this season, nine against the Dodgers.

“What I feel at the plate is maybe a little bit of a toned-down effort level that helps make better decisions,” he said.

On Wednesday night, Walker homered twice and fell a triple shy of the cycle in a 12-4 victory.

“Christian is self-made,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He does all the little things to make sure that his game is tuned up. He deserves what he gets.”

After opening with the two homers Thursday, Walker drew his first intentional walk of the series with two outs in the fifth. He was retired on a broken-bat groundout in the seventh, and drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases in the ninth.

“He’s killed us the last whatever — his whole career,” Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes said.

The 33-year-old first baseman is from the same Norristown, Pennsylvania, hometown as late Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. Former Dodgers great Mike Piazza is from the area, too.

“The baseball community in that area is pretty small, obviously with Lasorda the big name,” Walker said. “Just to be even close in the same conversation as those guys is an honor.”

He was drafted by the Dodgers in the 49th round in 2009, but didn’t sign and instead played for the University of South Carolina, where he helped the Gamecocks win the College World Series in 2010 and 2011.

Recalling who drafted him and what he’s doing to the Dodgers lately, Walker said, “Kind of a funny, full-circle thing.”



AP Sports Writer