D-backs: No clincher for L.A. on another 'Goldy' night
Goldschmidt bolsters MVP argument with 34th homer as D-backs delay Dodgers' pennant celebration.
By JACK MAGRUDERFS Arizona
PHOENIX -- The
Diamondbacks prevented the
Los Angeles Dodgers from clinching the NL West with a 9-4 victory at Chase Field on national TV Wednesday, and plain-talking Brandon McCarthy finally said what is on a lot of minds.
It is OK to be a party pooper, even if the party seems inevitable.
"It's still a pride thing. You understand where things stand, but you don't want to see them celebrate," said McCarthy, who gave up three runs in six-plus innings for his second consecutive victory.
"You knew coming into this season they were our competition. They are the ones who caught and passed us. We are all aware on those. You don't want, not rubbed it in your face, but you don't want to see it. If they go somewhere else, whatever happens is fine. You just don't want them to do it on your home field and have to sit there and know that that's going on.
"So if you can get them out of here without having to see it, then all the better."
The Dodgers (87-65) have a magic number of two to clinch the division, and they can do it with a victory over the D-backs (77-74) in the final game of the series Thursday afternoon.
"We are fine. Win tomorrow. If not we will win two in San Diego," Los Angeles first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said.
For a night, the D-backs kept the focus on Paul Goldschmidt.
With an ESPN crew in town to show the Dodgers' clinching victory, it was Goldschmidt who made the biggest impression.
Goldschmidt's two-run home run on a 10-pitch at-bat in the first inning gave the D-backs a 2-0 lead, which they increased to 4-0 and nursed through the rest of the game until adding five runs in the eighth.
Goldschmidt fouled off four pitches after getting to two strikes before lining a breaking ball over the right-center field fence off spot starter Stephen Fife, who moved in when the Dodgers moved Clayton Kershaw to Saturday.
"Goldy''s at-bat is like a model which you would want to follow," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He is just very disciplined. He fouled off a couple of good pitches inside. He threw him a breaking ball, and he hit it out to right-center. You see a lot of guys out in front of breaking balls and rolling them over. That's really what a pitcher wants you to do.
"Goldy has a great approach on that. he has good length on his swing. He doesn't try to do too much with it, and it's worked well all year."
Goldschmidt's homer was his NL-leading 34th, breaking a tied with Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Goldschmidt already has a gig lead in RBI at 118, 15 more than Cincinnati's Jay Bruce, as he attempts to become the third player in four years to lead the NL in homers and RBI in the same season. Matt Kemp did it in 2011, and Albert Pujols did in it 2010.
Gibson, who knows what it is like to win an MVP, was in full lobby mode afterward.
"We were on ESPN tonight, and I wanted Goldy to have a good game, selfishly," Gibson said. "I know they are talking about other very good (MVP) candidates. We're certainly biased here. He proves it day in and day out. He's everything you could want. He's certainly deserving of a most valuable player.
"We'll just keep jamming him down their throat."
The Dodgers know the feeling.
Stop if you have heard this before, but Goldschmidt is picking on the Dodgers in particular this season. He is hitting .395 in 76 at-bats against them with four doubles, six homers and 20 RBI.
"It's a division opponent that you want to play well against, one of the best teams in the National League," Goldschmidt said. "Some very good players on that side. You definitely feel that."
Of hoping to avoid a Dodgers' clinching, he added, "You can't play harder or try extra hard. There is no point to put any extra pressure on yourself. Just try to go out and win the game, and fortunately we were able to do that tonight."