The Dodgers opened their final road trip of the season on Monday night with a three game series in Arizona against the Dbacks. The Snakes are a dead dormant club, officially eliminated from postseason play on Sunday. That doesn’t mean the Dodgers would have anything easy. Nothing comes easy this year with this team. The Dodgers came from behind to score two runs in the seventh and three more in the top of the ninth to beat the Snakes 7-4. This was a crucial victory as Colorado clobbered Philadelphia 10-1. The win keeps the Dodgers 1.5 games ahead in the NL West race. With just five games left to play the Dodger’s magic number is now 5.
The boys in blue had to knock off notorious Dodger killer Robbie Ray, whom they never seem able to hit, last season’s NLDS not withstanding of course. Ray held the Dodgers in check for the first half of the game but the Dodgers ran up his pitch count. With Yasiel Puig, Max Muncy, and Cody Bellinger riding the pine (because matchups!) the Dodger’s all-right handed lineup struggled in the early frames against Ray.
Dodgers 7 9 0
Dbacks 4 7 0
Ray tossed five innings allowing two earned runs on four hits and striking out seven. He walked three and made 100 pitches before coming out of the game. The Dodgers loaded the bases in the first inning but was only able to score one run. Chris Taylor singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Justin Turner’s ground out advanced Taylor to third and he would score on an RBI single from David Freese. Manny Machado and Enrique Hernandez followed with walks to load the bases, but Matt Kemp struck out and Brian Dozier flew out to right. The Dodgers stranded a lead-off double from Justin Turner in the third as well. Mr. Freese was the offensive star of the night going 3 for 4 with a home run and two runs batted in.
Meanwhile Clayton Kershaw was anything but vintage, but pitched well enough to turn in a quality outing. Kershaw had trouble locating his curveball and with his fastball not what it used to be, he ran into some trouble. The dbacks tied the score in the bottom of the first when Ketel Marte tripled in a run. That pesky Marte would bother the Dodgers again with a solo home run to center in the bottom of the third. That would give the Snakes a 2-1 lead.
The Dodgers tied the score in the top of the fifth when Freese bashed an opposite field shot off of Ray. But the Dbacks retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Chris Owings reached on a ground-rule double and guess who? That little pest Marte’s RBI single into center put the Snakes ahead by a 3-2 score.
The Dodgers battled back in the top of the seventh. With Andrew Chaffin on the mound, Yasmani Grandal would work a lead-off walk. Pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig’s single put two on with nobody out. Then pinch-hitter Max Muncy’s clutch slicing stroke to right scored pinch-runner Tim Locastro, and the Dodgers tie the score at 3-3. After Turner struck out on a foul tip, Freese’s grounder to first bounced off of Christian Walker’s glove allowing Freese to reach and the bases loaded. Machado’s grounder to the hole at short would bring home Puig to put the Dodgers ahead 4-3.
The Dodger bullpen was pretty darn good. Lefty Caleb Ferguson set the Snakes down in order in the bottom of the seventh, and Scott Alexander retired Eduardo Escobar in the top of the eighth. Kenta Maeda struck out Marte, but then hit Christian Walker with a pitch in the face. It was a scary moment as Walker was seen spitting up blood and was walked off the field. I hope the guy is ok. That is a frightening sight.
The Dodgers added three more runs in the top of the ninth just to make sure. Muncy walked, Turner singled, and Muncy scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning Chase Utley walked and Machado’s double off the top of the wall scored Turner. After Joc Pederson struck out and was mysteriously ejected by home plate umpire and cowboy Joe West, another wild pitch plated Utley. That made the score 7-3 Dodgers. Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and gave up a lead-off homer to AJ Pollack just to annoy us a bit. He settled down to strike out Paul Goldschmidt (who was not in the starting lineup), Daniel Descalso, and got Peralta to fly out to end the game. Dodgers win!
The Dodgers (88-69) look to move closer to winning their sixth consecutive National League West championship as their series against the Dbacks continues on Tuesday night. Walker Buehler will battle Matt Koch with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 PM PST. Let’s keep battling boys!