Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 1
Ace Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw joined the 2,500 Strikeout Club, the 39th pitcher in major league history to ever do so. He also took a no-hitter into the sixth, paving the way for the Los Angeles Dodgers to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-1, Thursday night in Los Angeles.
The first began with a 1-2-3 inning by Kershaw, with two of the three hitters striking out. In the bottom of the inning, weirdness resulted in two unearned runs. Right fielder Mookie Betts, who has terrorized the Diamondbacks all season, led off against Luke Weaver with a liner directly to left fielder David Peralta for the first out. Shortstop Corey Seager followed with a single to center, bringing up third baseman Max Muncy, who smashed a hot grounder to first. Christian Walker dove but couldn’t come up with it, deflecting it into right for a base hit.
With runners now on first and second, first baseman Cody Bellinger dug in. He hit a grounder near the bag at first. Walker scooped it up, stepped on the bag for the second out, then fired it to second. Instead of an inning-ending reverse double play, the ball hit second base and looped into the air. Shortstop Nick Ahmed couldn’t find it, giving Seager enough time to round third and score. Center fielder Chris Taylor, up next, roped a single to left, plating Muncy for the second run.
Settling into a Pitchers’ Duel
Weaver did not allow another Dodger to reach base until Seager singled with one out in the bottom of the sixth, retiring 14 in a row in the process. “I got into Attack Mode,” Weaver said, adding later, “I was able to capitalize on those two-strike counts, make some better pitches, get some weaker contact, and get into a good rhythm.” While going up against a future Hall of Famer in Kershaw did “not necessarily” give him extra motivation, it was still “pretty cool. This was the first time I’ve ever (faced) him, (although) I’ve seen him pitch a couple of times. I did have a moment early in the game, though, where I was ready to go to battle, have a duel out there, and match it. He obviously had a great game and has been doing it for a long time…. It was a fun little fight.”
Meanwhile, Kershaw made it through the first four innings while allowing only one baserunner – a leadoff walk to Peralta in the second. In the fifth, he walked Ahmed and hit third baseman Andy Young, but those two stayed on base as no one else in the frame managed to reach base. Kershaw’s no-hit bid ended in the sixth when Walker beat out an infield single to the shortstop side of second. Second baseman Enrique “Kike” Hernandez – playing in the overshift – made a sliding stop, but his throw to first was too high to retire the hustling Walker.
Dodgers, Diamondbacks Bullpens Get the Call
After Seager singled with one out in the sixth, Travis Bergen – the left-handed reliever who came to the Diamondbacks in Monday’s Robbie Ray trade – walked Muncy to put runners on first and second for Bellinger. A fly to center brought Taylor to the plate, and he grounded into a 6-4 force play to end the inning and give Bergen a scoreless debut with his new team.
The Diamondbacks narrowed the gap when Ahmed scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Andy Young in the top of the seventh, but the Dodgers quickly got that one back. Bergen returned to the mound to face lefty Joc Pederson to open the bottom of the seventh, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sent righty A.J. Pollock to pinch-hit. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo countered by bringing in righty Keury Mella, a recent call-up. His first pitch ended up on the hitter’s background in dead center, Pollock’s seventh dinger of the season. Two batters later, Hernandez singled. He later advanced to second on a wild pitch to the next hitter, Barnes. After Barnes fanned, Betts made the score 4-1 with an RBI single that ended Mella’s night. Joel Mantiply took over, and, despite allowing a single to the first hitter he faced, got out of the inning without any further damage.
Dodgers Put the Game Away
Despite getting the leadoff man to third, the Diamondbacks could not score in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, the Dodgers tacked another run onto their lead. Taylor led off with a double and came around to score on singles by Beaty and Hernandez. Jake McGee pitched a nearly flawless ninth, striking out three, with the only baserunner coming from a one-out double by Young.
The loss was the fifth in a row and 13th out of 14 for the struggling Diamondbacks (14-23). It was the fifth straight victory and 18th in 21 games for the Dodgers (29-10), who now hold a six-game lead over the second-place San Diego Padres in the National League West.
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