LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks felt great after scrapping their way to a three-run lead against Clayton Kershaw. Those good feelings all evaporated during one bad inning that led to another loss.
Chris Heisey hit a grand slam off Andrew Chafin during the Dodgers’ six-run fifth, and Los Angeles moved closer to clinching the NL West crown with a 6-3 victory Thursday.
Diamondbacks rookie Brandon Drury homered and Paul Goldschmidt got his 19th RBI in his last 19 games against the Dodgers. Arizona took a 3-0 lead into the fifth and even chased the intimidating Kershaw, who had his shortest start of the season.
“We made (Kershaw) throw a lot of pitches,” manager Chip Hale said. “You battle against a starter who’s a Cy Young Award winner, then you get to the bullpen and we weren’t able to do too much. So that’s frustrating in itself. But that’s a first-place team that’s going to the playoffs, and we battled with them and gave them everything we had.”
Indeed, Patrick Corbin (6-5) was in control until the fifth inning of his second loss to the Dodgers in 12 days. He was chased by Howie Kendrick’s two-run single, and A.J. Ellis drew a two-out walk to load the bases before Heisey cleared them.
Arizona (73-80) would have to win its final nine games to avoid its fourth consecutive non-winning season, but Goldschmidt sees progress after splitting four games with the division leaders.
“I think we’re definitely headed in the right direction like we were a year ago,” Goldschmidt said. “We had high expectations going into this year, but we let some games get away. We have a young team, but hopefully with some more experience, we can keep improving. … Obviously, we want to be up there with the Dodgers and winning the division. We’re not there yet, so we have to try to find ways to keep getting better.”
Kershaw (15-7) had nine strikeouts while yielding six hits and three runs over five innings. He also had a vehement discussion with Don Mattingly after the manager pinch-hit for him.
Kershaw, who leads the majors with 281 strikeouts, pointedly refused to talk about the clash. Pinch-hitter Austin Barnes flied out in Kershaw’s spot before the Dodgers’ decisive rally began.
“It’s between Donny and I, you know?” Kershaw said. “Nobody else needs to know.”
Kershaw, who threw a season-low 80 pitches, made it into the sixth inning in each of his first 30 starts this year. The NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner left trailing 3-0, but ended up with his fifth victory in six starts when the Dodgers rallied for their second straight win.
“It was huge,” Kershaw said. “I felt pretty crummy after that, and for those guys to step up like that, and (Heisey’s) big swing of the bat right there — he’s such a gamer. I like Heise. For him to do that, the kind of a year he’s had, it’s been unbelievable. I’m thankful, honestly. And then for our bullpen having to pick up four innings, (it) did an amazing job.”
Heisey is batting. 173 in a strange season that has included several stints in Los Angeles, long stretches in the minors and a month in Toronto’s system before the Dodgers reacquired him this month. He connected in a key moment against Chafin, sneaking his first homer of the season just inside the pole and into Dodger Stadium’s short left-field porch.
“They had been throwing me a lot of breaking balls, and I just moved up in the box and figured I’d try to get one before it broke,” Heisey said.
Diamondbacks: Hale now thinks SS Nick Ahmed will miss Arizona’s weekend series with a lower back injury.
Dodgers: Mattingly is “100 percent” confident Kike Hernandez will return from his hamstring injury before the regular season ends.
Diamondbacks: Rubby De La Rosa (13-8, 4.60 ERA) opens a series in San Diego against Casey Kelly (0-0, 4.50).
Dodgers: Mike Bolsinger (6-4, 3.26 ERA) pitches at Colorado vs. David Hale (4-5, 6.32).