The D-backs (74-58) hung on for a 7-6 win in Tuesday's season opener to stretch their winning streak to five -- their longest since a seven-game streak from June 10 to 18. They maintained a two-game lead over Colorado for the NL's first wild-card berth and moved 6 games ahead of Milwaukee.
"We are very happy with how we're playing," manager Torey Lovullo said. "We're swinging the bats very well, we're getting some timely hits, the pitching's been stepping up, it's a nice combination."
The Dodgers (91-39), meanwhile, suffered their third consecutive loss, which matches their longest losing streak of the season.
"We played very good baseball for a long time, and I am sure we will get on track again," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
D-backs starting pitcher Robbie Ray (10-5, 3.06 ERA)
Ray returned to the rotation last Thursday from a 26-day absence after being hit in the head with a line drive, and it was as if he not missed a beat.
He struck out the side in the first inning, finished with nine strikeouts and gave up only two hits, two walks and one run over five innings in a 3-2 victory over the Mets.
"It looked like he hadn't missed a start, to be honest with you," manager Torey Lovullo said. "He probably had another inning in him, which would have been very typical of one of his starts. There was no hesitation in anything that he did, and that's impressive. He executed a great game plan and did what he was supposed to do."
Ray is 1-0 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers this season with 29 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings, an average of 15 strikeouts per nine innings. He is 4-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 11 career starts against Los Angeles.
Chris Taylor, who homered and had two hits on Tuesday, is 6 for 10 against Ray this season and 14 for 33 (.424) with three home runs against the Diamondbacks.
Ryu beat the Pirates in his most recent start last Thursday, giving up one run on four hits over six innings. He's given up a total of four runs over 30 innings in his last five starts, although he's won only twice in that stretch (2-0, 1.20 ERA). The Dodgers are 8-1 over his last nine starts, but he's gotten only three of the wins (3-0, 2.13).
Ryu has not faced the Diamondbacks this season. He is 3-2 with a 3.26 ERA in eight career starts against them. Paul Goldschmidt has a .421 career average (8 for 19) vs. Ryu.
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Let it fly
Fernando Rodney survived a shaky ninth on Tuesday to record his sixth save out of the last eight games and 33rd overall. As August nears a close, it's interesting to note that Rodney has 11 saves -- tied with Corey Knebel for most in the majors -- in 12 appearances this month. The total might be even higher except that the D-backs have only 14 wins in the month.
Since the All-Star break, he's made 15 appearances, pitched 14 innings, given up nine hits, walked five and struck out 19.
"When you play the Dodgers, you want to let them know that we can compete with these guys," Rodney said. "Maybe they have a better team on paper, but we're a good ballclub. We can play baseball good, too. I'm ready to face the Dodgers any time, any situation. I'm not afraid."
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