Rodney, D-backs blow three-run lead in ninth as Dodgers complete sweep

Jul 6, 2017, 10:29 PM | Updated: 10:56 pm

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)...

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Like it’d been the first two games of their series against the Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks weren’t barrelling up Los Angeles on Thursday night.

The few times they did, they really did. And they thought it’d mean a win as they entered the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead.

Instead, Fernando Rodney allowed a hit, walked three consecutive batters and then allowed another hit before an intentional walk. He was pulled with the game tied 4-4 before Los Angeles’ Chris Taylor knocked a hit off T.J. McFarland for the Dodgers’ 5-4 walk-off win and sweep.

Rodney was tagged with four earned runs and four walks with two hits allowed on Thursday, and 14 of his 20 pitches were balls.

“I’m trying to sort through it myself,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I thought the fastball command wasn’t what he wanted.”

Rodney now has two blown saves in his past two appearances.

It was a crushing blow as Arizona appeared ready to salvage the series.

With Arizona’s Robbie Ray pitching, the D-backs offense mustered just two hits off Dodgers starter Rich Hill before they put together four knocks against the bullpen in the eighth inning.

Three of Arizona’s total hits on the night went for solo home runs, and two of those were courtesy lefty Jake Lamb facing left-handed pitchers.

Lamb, who was batting just .130 against left-handers this year, went yard off Hill in the fifth inning.

Any D-backs momentum was lost in the bottom of the frame when Logan Forsythe took Ray deep to tie the game, 1-1. But facing reliever Luis Avilan in the eighth, Lamb took another off-speed pitch in the zone for a ride to right field, putting Arizona ahead 2-1.

Two batters later, pinch-hitter Ketel Marte gave the D-backs a two-run lead with his own solo shot, a 440-foot blast to left field off Avilan’s 93-mph fastball.

Arizona would add a ninth-inning run off a balk.

That turned out not enough insurance.

The small flurry of home runs was a welcome sign for Arizona, which recorded 17 total hits and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position through three games in Los Angeles.

Bolstering the Diamondbacks’ chances was Ray, who tied a career high with 13 strikeouts and allowed five hits and one earned run with four walks. He pitched six frames.

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