D-backs win record 13th straight, sweep Dodgers
LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Diamondbacks are winning games in a variety of fashions, from offensive windfalls to stingy pitching, to blowouts and tight games. And all throughout their franchise-best, 13-game winning streak, the defense has been rock solid.
Yet, manager Torey Lovullo sees something he likes even more in his club that swept the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second time in a week with a 3-1 victory Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
“It’s the fundamental part of the game that really excites me,” Lovullo said after his club’s latest victory featured steady pitching from Taijuan Walker and a two-run, game-winning rally in the seventh inning. “We’re executing when we’re supposed to. We’re studying and paying attention and performing the way that I had envisioned.”
Walker (9-7) gave up just one run over six innings and delivered some offense, too, with an early RBI double.
Adam Rosales had a pinch-hit double in the seventh inning to give Arizona (82-58) the lead for good against reliever Luis Avilan (2-2). Daniel Descalso added the final run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
But Lovullo saw other reasons to be excited, like A.J. Pollock’s steal of second base in the second inning that allowed him to score on Walker’s hit. And there was catcher Chris Iannetta throwing out Yasiel Puig, who was trying to steal in the fourth inning. Walker followed by retiring the final eight batters he faced.
“Some of the little things we do have helped us to win the moment,” Lovullo said. “We get 90 feet (on the Pollock steal), and it puts a guy in scoring position. We have been doing that a lot lately, and those are the types of games I enjoy more than the blowouts.
“The blowouts are great — I’ll take ‘em any time — but when you are executing and winning the types of games we are winning on the road, close games, it speaks to the character of the team.”
With a 10 1/2-game lead in the National League West, the Dodgers remain in a comfortable position. But they have also have lost 10 1/2 games in the standings since leading the Diamondbacks by 21 games on Aug. 25. The Wednesday defeat was their season-high sixth consecutive, and they have now lost 11 of their past 12 contests.
Los Angeles had not been swept in a series all season before losing all three games at Arizona last week, then dropping all three to the Diamondbacks at home this week.
“We’re going to win the division, I can assure you of that,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “What needs to change? Just continue to stay together and to compete. There is no one who is going to feel sorry for you. You get hit in the mouth, you’ve got to fight back. I think there is a lot of fight left in our guys.”
About the only thing the Diamondbacks have lost of late is their historic streak of innings when they have not trailed.
The Diamondbacks’ run of 98 innings without trailing came to an end early Wednesday. The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a fielder’s choice groundout by Cody Bellinger that scored Chris Taylor from third base.
The streak of 98 innings tied a stretch by the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers for the third longest in the live-ball era (since 1920), according to STATS. The top two marks are held by the 2002 Oakland Athletics (102 innings) and the 1942 New York Yankees (101 innings).
The early run to end the streak might have come off Walker, but the big Diamondbacks right-hander was anything but flustered about it.
“It’s huge to be able to go out there and contribute and go out there and get wins,” Walker said. “We struggled for a little bit, but I think after the Minnesota series (Aug. 18-20), we locked it back in and now everybody is starting to get hot and play well right now.”
The Dodgers (92-47) got the kind of start they were looking for from right-hander Kenta Maeda, who tied a season high with eight strikeouts in five innings. He was coming off a defeat at Arizona last week in which he gave up a career-high seven earned runs in three innings.
On Wednesday, Maeda allowed just four hits and one walk, yielding only an unearned run that scored on a second-inning double by Walker.
NOTES: Dodgers 3B Justin Turner was ejected in sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes. He likely will get the day off Thursday as INF Logan Forsythe starts against the Colorado Rockies, according to manager Dave Roberts. ... The Dodgers called up RHP Walker Buehler, a top prospect who has appeared at the Class A, Double-A and Triple-A levels this season. They added him to the major league bullpen. ... Dodgers CF Joc Pederson, who was sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City last month after a 2-for-41 dry spell, went 1-for-2 in his return Wednesday after being recalled Tuesday. ... Arizona 1B Paul Goldschmidt, who was cleared of any structural damage in his right elbow this week, continued to be held out of action, but he could return this weekend vs. San Diego. ... Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin, who pitches at home against the Padres on Friday, is 5-0 with a 0.50 ERA over his past five starts.