Perfectly miserable in Arizona on Aug. 15, Jonathan Broxton has been almost perfect since.
Broxton converted his ninth straight save and 34th of the season in the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ 5-4 victory over the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, getting the final out when he leaped to spear Justin Upton‘s grounder with the tying run on first base.
Broxton has not allowed an earned run in his last 14 appearances since giving up back-to-back home runs to Mark Reynolds and Miguel Montero in the ninth inning on Aug. 15. It was the only two-homer game of his career.
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“Everybody is going to do that sooner or later. It’s just one of those things you have to get out your mind,” Broxton said.
Boxton has five saves in the last eight days, seven in the last 13. He is 7-1 with a 2.53 ERA, striking out 102 in 67 2/3 innings.
“It’s fun,” Broxton said of the workload.
“It’s that extra adrenaline out there. Just trying to go out and get strike one. I didn’t do it enough tonight, but we were lucky enough to get out of it with the victory.”
Ronnie Belliard had the last of the Dodgers‘ five two-out singles in the eighth inning to break a tie and lift them to their third straight victory.
Arizona right-hander Billy Buckner limited them to one run in seven innings, backed by a franchise record-tying five double plays.
“It’s a good sign. Most of the night, it was frustrating as all get out, there’s no question about it,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “Buckner was terrific. It looked like he was throwing the ball down the middle, but it had late movement and they just couldn’t get the thing centered.”
The Dodgers (83-57) struck for four runs off three Arizona relievers in the eighth inning to send the Diamondbacks (61-79) to their sixth straight defeat.
Russell Martin singled off Blaine Boyer with one out in the eighth before Juan Pierre beat out a potential double-play grounder by a half-step to keep the inning alive.
Rafael Furcal singled to center and Matt Kemp had an RBI single, making it 4-2 before left-hander Daniel Schlereth (0-3) gave up an RBI single by Andre Ethier to make it a one-run game.
Right-hander Esmerling Vasquez came in and pitched around Manny Ramirez, walking him on four pitches to load the bases for James Loney, who lined a single to left to tie the game.
Belliard hit a slow chopper toward shortstop, and when Vasquez slipped there was no play as Ethier scored to give the Dodgers the lead. Belliard is 11 for 31 with seven RBIs in nine games since joining the Dodgers on Aug. 30.
Los Angeles remained 3 1/2 games in front of Colorado in the NL West and remained tied with St. Louis for the best record in the NL.
James McDonald (5-4) struck out the side in the seventh for the victory.
Furcal had three hits, and Ethier had two hits and two RBIs.
“The old adage is what Joe preaches, which is to go out and play hard for the whole nine innings,” said Ethier, who has 94 RBIs. “Buckner played to our over-aggressiveness. Things didn’t look good. Then we turned it around and strung some hits together.”
Buckner drove in two runs with an infield single in the second and a double in the sixth that made it 4-1. It was his first career two-hit game.
“Buckner threw great. He reached back and showed us something extra. He pitched just around the strike zone enough to keep them honest, and our defense played great behind him,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. “Obviously the silver lining is the way he pitched, because once he exited it didn’t go very well.”
Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings. He was 8-3 with a 2.72 ERA in his first 14 starts this season but is 3-6 with a 5.24 ERA in his last 15.
Los Angeles LHP Randy Wolf is the apparent starter Friday. Wolf threw a bullpen session Tuesday, and “that would line him up for Friday,” Torre said. The Dodgers needed a replacement when LHP Clayton Kershaw (right shoulder) collided with a field-level scoreboard at Dodger Stadium while shagging fly balls in batting practice Sunday. RHPs Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla are being considered for the Saturday start, Torre said. … Dodgers 1B Jim Thome (heel) missed his second straight game and was unavailable Tuesday. 3B Casey Blake (hamstring) missed his fourth2 0straight start. … Arizona Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin attended the game, wearing a Dodgers hat. He and Los Angeles 2B Orlando Hudson, a former D-back, are friends.