Lefty hitters, Godley give D-backs win over Kershaw-led Dodgers
PHOENIX — Zack Godley had a lot in him.
In his season debut Tuesday, the Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher went 7.0 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, inducing 11 groundouts while allowing four hits and an earned run while keeping pace and then some with L.A. ace Clayton Kershaw.
And thank goodness for the D-backs, who in a 6-1 victory at Chase Field couldn’t afford another busy night of weaving through whatever was left in their bullpen following a 15-inning barnburner a day prior.
“Just to continue to go out and build consistency and build confidence, it’s a good feeling,” Godley said after the D-backs earned the second of two series wins to start the year. “Kershaw is one of the best to ever do it, and to be able to go out there and go inning for inning with him is awesome.”
Kershaw went six frames and allowed four hits with six strikeouts.
If he only made two mistakes on the evening, the D-backs took advantage of both. Arizona hit two left-handed homers against the southpaw, who had only allowed 34 homers to lefties in his 11-year career.
The Diamondbacks then distanced themselves in a curious way: A three-run seventh frame courtesy of two singles followed by four walks before the second out was even recorded.
“The whole linked-at-bat theory showed tonight,” Lovullo said. “In the case of drawing three really big walks to score runs, I think it speaks volumes of how disciplined these guys are.”
To open the scoring an out into the second inning, Daniel Descalso ripped a high, down-the-middle fastball high over the pool in right field to put Arizona on the board, 1-0. It was the first time Kershaw had allowed a home run to a D-backs lefty since August 2011 (Kelly Johnson).
The Dodgers evened the score in the top of the third inning, when catcher Austin Barnes doubled, reached third on a sac-bunt and then crossed home on a deep Chris Taylor sac-fly to center field.
Another Arizona left-hander responded in the bottom of the third. David Peralta smacked Kershaw’s misplaced slider that was high and in the middle of the strike zone over the right field wall for a 2-1 D-backs lead.
“I think lefties are still allowed to get hits off of him,” Descalso deadpanned.
Yet, it was just the fourth time in Kershaw’s career of 294 games that he’s allowed two left-handers to homer off of him.
With Kershaw pulled after 97 pitches heading into the seventh inning, the D-backs’ offense added insurance.
Third baseman Deven Marrero and catcher John Ryan Murphy — who wrapped the night’s scoring with an eighth-inning homer — singled off reliever Scott Alexander, and Lovullo gave relief pitcher Jorge De La Rosa a pinch-hit at-bat.
Lovullo said he had planned such a thing if a bunt directed at third base was needed, but Alexander ended up walking the pitcher to load the bases with no outs.
“I didn’t want to pinch-bunt one of our catchers. It just made a lot of sense to me to send him up there,” Lovullo said, adding the D-backs had a short bench with Jake Lamb sidelined due to a shoulder injury and shortstop Nick Ahmed out with an illness. “Jorge was prepared for it.”
One out later, Alexander walked Ketel Marte on a 10-pitch at-bat. Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez took the mound but issued the ninth walk of D-backs first baseman Goldschmidt this year, giving Arizona a 4-1 advantage.
In the final act of at-the-plate patience, A.J. Pollock took a fourth Baez ball to push De La Rosa across the plate for Arizona’s fifth run of the night.
All 360 feet of the pitcher’s trek around the basepaths were covered via light jog, and the D-backs said it was a result of executing strike zone pickiness that Lovullo’s staff has pressed since spring.
“It just means that guys are buying into the gameplan we talk about,” Descalso said. “I think everybody in this clubhouse trusts what the coaches are telling us.”
“I wanted to possibly give Daniel a start after last night. In a couple innings, he goes deep and makes diving plays and he’s all over the place. He’s a quality player.
“He can perform on any stage and never gets glossy-eyed.”
— Lovullo on Descalso’s contributions
STAT OF THE GAME
0-for-10: The teams combined to go hitless with runners in scoring position.
– A crowd of 27,574 watched the second game of the three-game series at Chase Field.
Two lefties square off Wednesday at 12:40 p.m. when the Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin (1-0, 3.18 ERA) faces the Dodgers’ Alex Wood (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
Corbin went 5.2 frames to open the season for Arizona in a 8-2 win over the Colorado Rockies.
Wood threw 8.0 innings and allowed just one hit in his season debut Friday, but Los Angeles fell, 1-0, to the San Francisco Giants.
Pregame coverage starts at 12 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.