Goldschmidt, D-Backs deny Dodgers clincher 9-4

With Clayton Kershaw merely a spectator, the Los Angeles Dodgers

fell short in their bid to clinch the NL West.

Kershaw had been scheduled to start for the Dodgers against

Arizona on Wednesday night, but was pushed back to Saturday to give

him some added late-season rest.

He watched as Arizona took an early lead, then blew the game

open late in a 9-4 victory on Wednesday night.

The Dodgers, losers of five of six, get another chance at the

clincher in the series finale on Thursday.

It was a difficult night, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said,

but his team remains in a great position with 10 games to play.

”We like where we are at,” he said. ”It is one game at a

time. Tonight was a little bit frustrating. it was a frustrating

game, but other than that, I am not really frustrated so much

If the Dodgers, still with a huge lead in the division, don’t

clinch in Arizona, it’s not the end of the world.

”We are fine,” Adrian Gonzalez said. ”Win tomorrow. If not,

we will win two in San Diego.”

Paul Goldschmidt homered in the first inning and Arizona led the

rest of the way, although the Dodgers cut it to 4-3 before the

Diamondbacks scored five off Ronald Belisario in the eighth.

”Really after three we could have been in a load of trouble and

then after four we are only down by a couple,” Mattingly said.

”At that point you are kind of back in it. The bullpen did a nice

job of keeping us in it really for a while and give us a lot of

chances to score. We had some chances and just didn’t take

advantage.”

Goldschmidt is batting just under .400 against the Dodgers this

season with six home runs and 20 RBIs. His opposite-field two-run

shot on a 3-2 pitch from Stephen Fife (4-4) in the first inning

moved him into the NL lead with 34 home runs.

Yasiel Puig hit a solo home run calculated at 442 feet for the

Dodgers, who have lost five of six and get one more chance to

clinch in Arizona in the series finale Thursday.

The Diamondbacks want to send the Dodgers out of town with that

celebratory champagne still on ice.

”It’s still a pride thing,” Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy

said. ”You understand where things stand but you don’t want to see

them celebrate. … If you can get them out of here without having

to see it, then all the better.”

Gonzalez was ejected after Michael Young was called out at the

plate in a close play in the sixth inning.

McCarthy (5-9) went six-plus innings to get the victory. He gave

up two runs and scattered 10 hits.

Tim Federowicz drove in two runs with a home run and RBI

double.

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was glad that a national television

audience got to see Goldschmidt – who is the runaway NL RBI leader

with 118 and is hitting .305 – excel.

Gibson hopes the late exposure will help in the MVP voting.

”We were on ESPN tonight and I wanted Goldy to have a good

game,” Gibson said. ”They’re talking about other very good

candidates. We’re certainly biased here. He proves it day in, day

out. He’s everything you could want. He’s certainly deserving of

Most Valuable Player.”

Arizona led just 4-3 before blowing the game open with five runs

in the eighth inning off Ronald Belisario, the sixth of seven

pitchers used in the game by Los Angeles. Adam Eaton had a two-run

single, Aaron Hill and Martin Prado each an RBI double and Chris

Owings walked with the bases loaded.

Fife never made it out of the third, giving up a two-run homer

to Goldschmidt in the first and a two more runs in the third as

Arizona took a 4-0 lead. He allowed four runs on six hits in 2 1-3

innings, walking two and hitting two batters.

Gonzalez was tossed by second base umpire Andy Fletcher in the

top of the sixth inning after Michael Young attempted to score from

first on Gonzalez’s double. Young was called out by first base

umpire Jim Joyce, catcher Miguel Montero taking the shortstop

Owings’ relay throw and put down the tag although replays showed

Young’s hand appeared to touch the plate

Gonzalez said he was criticizing the call because he didn’t

think Joyce got into position to see the play.

”I got to second base and I could see clearly that he was

safe,” Gonzalez said. ”I said, `Let’s go. If you guys are going

to switch, hustle so you can make the call.’ That is when he threw

me out.”

NOTES: In the last meeting of the teams’ this season, the

Dodgers send RHP Ricky Nolasco (13-10, 3.36 ERA) to the mound

Monday while LHP Wade Miley (10-10, 3.70). … Gonzalez was ejected

for the third time in his career, first this season.