Defensive miscues hurt D-backs in loss to Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Rubby De La Rosa clearly deserved a better fate. He induced a good number of ground balls -- except for the home run pitch he threw to Adrian Gonzalez -- and took the hard-luck loss because of a couple of costly mistakes by the Arizona Diamondbacks' infield.
De La Rosa was charged with three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers pinned beat the D-backs 3-1 on Wednesday night.
"I thought Rubby did a great job," Arizona manager Chip Hale said. "He worked quick, didn't shake off signs a lot and was hitting his spots. He used all his pitches and had some really good sliders early in the game to (Yasiel) Puig, who's a hot hitter, and made him look bad the first time up. He deserved better."
De La Rosa spent his first two big league seasons with the Dodgers and is 0-4 with a 9.67 ERA in five career starts against them.
The right-hander's latest loss left Arizona's starting rotation 0-6 with a 6.61 ERA through the team's first nine games.
"It's disappointing, but it's getting better," Hale said. "Patrick Corbin pitched beautifully yesterday, and tonight I thought Rubby was a huge step up from what we've seen. But they can only control so much. They throw the pitches and get the balls hit to the right place, but we have to make the plays."
Los Angeles snapped a 1-1 tie with two runs in the fifth.
The Dodgers had runners at the corners with one out when shortstop Nick Ahmed fielded Chase Utley's grounder in the hole and tried to start a double play. But his wide throw struck the oncoming runner, Joc Pederson, and ricocheted into the outfield as Howie Kendrick scored.
The next batter was Corey Seager, who hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double-play grounder to second baseman Jean Segura. But first baseman Paul Goldschmidt juggled Ahmed's relay throw as Seager crossed the bag, allowing Pederson to score.
"I just dropped the ball. Unfortunately it cost us a run and possibly the game. So it was disappointing," Goldschmidt said. "We expect to make those plays -- especially mine. They didn't make any mistakes on defense and we made a couple. That was the difference."
Alex Wood (1-1) allowed a run and five hits in seven-plus innings, struck out three and walked three in his 100th major league appearance and 69th start. He also picked off Segura in the third inning after D-backs' leadoff hitter followed Ahmed's homer with a single.
The D-backs got only one hit after Brandon Drury's leadoff single in the fourth inning.
"Wood just did a great job and didn't make very many mistakes," Goldschmidt said. "He threw his fastball on both sides of the plate, kept guys off-balance with his changeup and mixed in a slider as well. We weren't able to get anything going."
Ahmed, batting ninth in the order behind De La Rosa, opened the scoring in the third when he drove Wood's 1-1 pitch into the pavilion seats in left-center. Gonzalez tied it in the fourth with his first homer.
Kenley Jansen retired all five batters he faced for his third save in as many chances.
This was the seventh time in Arizona's first nine games that Hale batted his starting pitcher eighth -- something Diamondbacks executive Tony La Russa did on numerous occasions while he was managing the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Tony's had some influence in that," Hale said. "We talked a lot about it when I first got the job. I was interested to hear why he did it. He really did it out of desperation when they weren't hitting at all, and he just wanted to switch it up."
Hale's motive, however, is to keep shortstop Ahmed in the ninth spot to give the D-backs something akin to back-to-back leadoff hitters -- and essentially make No. 3 hitter and home run threat Paul Goldschmidt a cleanup man.
"I like Nick hitting in that nine hole so that he doesn't have to worry about having the pitcher hitting behind him, where he can't run -- because running is a big part of Nick's game," Hale said. "It's come up both ways so far, where that eighth spot has come up in a big spot for RBIs -- and it's been a pitcher. So I'm going to go back and forth with it, depending a lot on our pitcher and whether he can handle the bat a little bit."
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (0-0) beat the Dodgers twice during a 12-day span last September, allowing no runs and five total hits over 11 innings in those outings while the D-backs scored 20 runs in his behalf.
Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (0-0) makes his second big league start, five days after throwing 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball at San Francisco and settling for a no-decision. The bullpen squandered a 2-0 lead for Stripling, as Chris Hatcher gave up a tying two-run homer in the eighth by Trevor Brown and Joe Blanton surrendered a walkoff home run in the 10th to Brandon Crawford.