Yu Darvish walked a tightrope all night, getting behind in the count and pitching wildly with poor command. Despite Yu’s shaky second start for the Dodgers and a tough Arizona lineup to hold off, the offense was able to pick up Darvish and outduel the D-backs by scoring three runs in both the first and fifth innings and another two in the sixth to get the series win.
The Dodgers struck first after Anthony Banda got into some hot water right away, making 36 pitches in the first frame. The Dodgers loaded up the bases with two outs after consecutive base hits by Corey Seager and Justin Turner and a walk to Logan Forsythe. Enrique Hernandez proceeded to clear the bases by roping a double to the left field corner, his 32nd extra base hit of the season.
Dodgers 3, Snakes nada.
The D-backs got a runner to second off a somewhat erratic Yu Darvish in the home half of the first. He’s known to struggle in the first inning, with a career 4.39 ERA in the opening inning. Darvish’s fastball was hovering around 97 mph, but he was having trouble locating. Battling back, Yu was able to end the 25-pitch inning by striking out Paul Goldschmidt.
Darvish worked a 1-2-3 second inning, striking out four but also making 44 pitches through two innings. Six of the seven batters he faced through the first two innings had three-ball counts.
That slider though.
The D-backs plated a run in the bottom of the third off a wild Darvish, his first run allowed as a Dodger, as he continued having trouble getting ahead in the count. Arizona cashed in a leadoff walk to Ketel Marte who ended up scoring after a Banda sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and a David Peralta single.
Darvish struck out Goldschmidt twice, but J.D. Martinez didn’t strike out the second time facing him. Martinez brought the game within a run in the fourth with a solo home run off Darvish.
The Dodgers scored two additional runs in the fifth. After the Taylor homer, there was a walk to Seager and a costly Chris Iannetta throwing error. There were also a couple of scary moments in the fifth. Justin Turner tripped over his bat, but is ok. Logan Forsythe also awkwardly slid into first base, with the challenged out call was then overturned. The Dodgers cashed in the error, with Bellinger scoring on a Austin Barnes single.
Final line for Darvish: 5IP, 2R, 5H, 10K, 2BB, 106 pitches-61 strikes.
Brock Stewart took over for Darvish in the sixth, allowing a two-run home run to Chris Iannetta on a hanging slider. Then Tony Watson got another chance to face Jake Lamb in the seventh when he came in with one on and one out to take over for Stewart. They retired Lamb, but it wasn’t pretty. The ball was deflected off Watson and recovered by Bellinger in foul territory who dove to get to the bag.
Brandon Morrow was then brought in to face Goldy with a runner at third and two outs. Morrow, touching 100 mph on the gun, got the job done and retired Goldschmidt on a ground out to short. Unfortunately, the D-backs got to Morrow in the eighth with runners at the corners and one out. Martinez’s baserunning blunder allowed the Dodgers to get the first out on a 5-2-5-3 fielder’s choice, but Ketel Marte shaved the Dodgers’ lead to two runs on a two-run single to center field.
Dave Roberts went to the bullpen yet again and brought in Tony Cingrani to face Gregor Blanco and Peralta with a man on third. Cingrani stepped up and struck out Blanco and Peralta swinging to end the threat.
Kenley Jansen then came in and shut the door with a perfect ninth, securing the rubber game victory for the Dodgers and his 30th save of the season.
The Dodgers pick up their 81st win of the season, and they’re now one win away from clinching a winning season. It’s only ten days into August. With the win they improve to 34-20 on the road and are 16 games up in the NL West. They also have 10 more wins than the Astros, and their magic number is 33.
The Boys In Blue head home for a brief five-game homestand, hosting the Padres for a three-game set opening Friday night at 7:10 PM PT/4:10 PM ET. Struggling Clayton Richard (5-12, 5.17 ERA, 4.37 FIP) takes on a hot Rich Hill (8-4, 3.47 ERA, 3.98) in the series opener.