Dodgers’ Kershaw too tough this time around
LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks kept within striking distance all game, but when the big hit was needed, they came up short again and again.
The Diamondbacks had the tying run in scoring position and only one out in both the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t score and fell 4-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
"We got a couple hits and had some good A-B’s, we just couldn’t get anything going with runners in scoring position," Arizona shortstop Chris Owings said. "We were in it the whole game. We just needed that big hit and couldn’t get it tonight."
The Diamondbacks tagged Dodgers pitching for 13 hits, but it wasn’t enough to prevent their third straight loss.
Clayton Kershaw held them down for seven innings, allowing eight hits but only one run with seven strikeouts.
It was a redemptive outing for the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner after Arizona ripped him for seven runs in just 1-2/3 innings the last time they met. He had won his last three starts since that outing.
"You hope to not have any of those clunkers in a season but it happens obviously," he said. "I don’t know if I’m on a roll or whatever but it’s been going well."
The Diamondbacks rallied as soon as Kershaw left the game. Three of their first four batters in the eighth singled against reliever Brian Wilson, including a one-out RBI single by Tuffy Gosewich that brought them within one. But J.P Howell entered and struck out David Peralta and got Miguel Montero to fly out to end the threat.
Justin Turner extended the Dodgers’ lead in the bottom of the inning with a pinch-hit RBI single to right to score A.J. Ellis from second.
The knock extended Turner’s modest hitting streak to six games and would prove valuable when the Diamondbacks once again staged a rally in the ninth against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
Gerardo Parra got the comeback attempt started with a one-out single, Paul Goldschmidt walked and Aaron Hill followed with a single through the left side to score Parra and cut the deficit to 4-3.
Jansen buckled down and escaped further damage though, striking out Martin Prado and inducing Cody Ross to fly out to right to end the game and record his 18th save.
The Diamondbacks stranded 12 runners on base in the contest and were just 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position.
"You look at it and it was a one run game the whole way," Owings said. "We just couldn’t get it done."
Matt Kemp got the scoring started when he crushed a 2-1 changeup deep into the bleachers in left-center field in the second to put the Dodgers up 2-0. The blast, measured at 402 feet, was Kemp’s first home run since May 10.
"That was big for us," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We’ve struggled to score early and been getting behind a lot early here at home. It was good for us to get out to a lead."
Aaron Hill cut the deficit in half in the top of the third, smacking a grounder down the third-base line just under the glove of a diving Chone Figgins for an RBI double.
After that Kershaw went into lockdown mode. He allowed only four baserunners the rest of the game, none of which passed second base.
"I think he’s been pretty good except (for one start this year)," Mattingly said. "He’s the same old Clayton, right where we want him to be."
The Dodgers’ win spoiled Diamondbacks rookie Chase Anderson’s bid to make history.
Anderson (5-1) was trying to become just the second National League pitcher since 1914 to win his first six career starts. Instead, he suffered his first career loss after allowing five hits and two runs in five innings, with four walks and four strikeouts.