Diamondbacks go for sweep over visiting Dodgers
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks challenged the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West last season because their rotation had Dodgers-like success, and the D-backs are working on a reprise this season.
Arizona clinched a series victory against the Dodgers with a 6-1 win at Chase Field on Tuesday, when right-hander Zack Godley completed the D-backs’ first turn through the rotation by out-pitching Clayton Kershaw, who is 0-2 for the first time since 2009.
Godley became the first Arizona starter to work into the seventh inning this season, giving up one run on four hits while striking out three and walking one. He used 96 pitches, and the Dodgers were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Godley struck out Matt Kemp on a breaking ball with a runner on third base and two outs in the sixth inning while holding a 2-1 lead.
Arizona (4-1) will look to complete a three-game sweep when opening day starter Patrick Corbin (1-0) faces Alex Wood (0-0). Only one D-backs starter has given up more than three runs in his first start.
Godley’s outing was particularly valuable inasmuch as Arizona used eight pitchers in an 8-7, 15-inning victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday, which set a Chase Field record at five hours, 45 minutes. Had the game gone 16 innings, catcher Jeff Mathis was to pitch.
“My goal each and every time out is to do everything I can to help the team win,” Godley said. “This is one of those times where it called for me to go a little bit longer. I’m glad I could do that.”
The Diamondbacks have won four straight series and eight straight regular-season games against the Dodgers, who swept them in the NLDS in October.
“Zack had a good game plan. When he needed to make pitches, he did,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “He was aggressive with his fastball, and that led to a lot of negative swings on the breaking ball. I really believe in our five starters. I’m really pleased with us beating Clayton Kershaw.”
Arizona’s Daniel Descalso and David Peralta became the first pair of left-handed hitters to homer against Kershaw in the same game with bases-empty homers in the second and third innings, respectively, around a third-inning sacrifice fly by Chris Taylor.
“This one is on me tonight,” Kershaw told reporters. “After a night like last night, six is not going to cut it. That’s a tough situation to put your bullpen in.
“I kinda went through this last year early on against lefties. I made two mistakes, and hopefully mistakes stay in the ballpark. Tonight, they didn’t and it cost us the game.”
Deven Marrero made his first start of the season at third base in place of Jake Lamb, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury suffered when he drove for a foul ball Monday and aggravated when he scored the tying run in the last of the 15th inning.
Peralta homered in front of his mother, father and sister, who came in from Venezuela for the game. He blew a kiss to his family after rounding third base on his homer in the third inning.
“You have to be patient,” Peralta said of his approach against Kershaw. “He is one of the best. He is going to make mistakes, and you have to be ready for mistake.”
Arizona won four of its first five last year, also, while making the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
“We set the tone last year,” Peralta said. “Everybody knows what kind of team we are. It’s not about one person. We have a team approach. That’s what we do.”
Corbin is 3-9 with a 4.42 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts) in his career against the Dodgers. He was 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts against them in 2017.
Wood, who gave up only one hit in eight scoreless innings in his season debut against San Francisco on Friday, is 5-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 12 career appearances (eight starts) against Arizona. He was 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks in 2017, striking out 23 in 21 innings. Wood was 16-3 last year.