D-backs’ start enough to survive Rodney’s close vs. Dodgers
PHOENIX — With Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke on the mound for the last two games of a series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tuesday’s opener would be the most ideal night for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bats to come alive.
They got the memo, but Fernando Rodney was having “one of those nights.”
Arizona jumped all over Los Angeles starter Rich Hill early, racking up five runs in the first inning.
At one point, the bullpen would have a 7-4 lead, but Archie Bradley allowed a run in the eighth and Rodney took D-backs fans on another wild ride in the ninth.
This time, unlike his July 6 appearance at Dodger Stadium, Rodney didn’t blow the save.
The big first was enough of a boost for the D-backs to pick up a 7-6 win over the Dodgers at Chase Field.
“Pretty emotional win for us and we’ve had a lot of those lately,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said after the game.
After Godley retired the first three batters of the game, David Peralta singled and was brought home by A.J. Pollock’s two-run homer two at-bats later that gave the D-backs the first two runs of the game.
Paul Goldschmidt’s single was followed by J.D. Martinez’s ground-rule double, which, unfortunately, would have scored Goldschmidt.
Brandon Drury had it covered, however, as he brought home both with his own double, and he would score on Jake Lamb’s single the next at-bat.
Just like that, in a 10-minute span of the bottom of the first, the scoreboard read 5-0 and put Arizona in a commanding position.
But, when a team has 91 wins before September, it’s rare to see them fold for the last eight innings, and the Dodgers certainly did not do that.
They scored four runs off Godley in the second and third, quickly shifting the game back into high gear from cruise control. Godley nearly threw more pitches in that inning (32) than he did in the last two combined (33).
He would settle, though, sitting down seven straight batters from the last out in the third through the fifth.
During that streak, Peralta’s triple in the fourth and Goldschmidt’s homer in the fifth added two more runs to give Godley and the bullpen room to breathe.
Godley would be done after six innings, giving up four runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk, striking out five.
That aforementioned room to breathe was needed for the bullpen.
David Hernandez got up to 18 pitches in the seventh before Jorge De La Rosa was brought in to get the final out. The run given up by Bradley came via an Adrian Gonzalez double.
Then, Rodney had one of his signature meltdowns that has made him a controversial player to fans despite his mostly-superb season.
After an eventful couple of at-bats that included two wild pitches, a hit batter and multiple mound visits, the game was at its tipping point.
With a 7-6 D-backs lead and two outs, Rodney was up to 30 pitches and throwing to Yasmani Grandal with runners on first and second and a full count.
Anything could happen given prior events, but Rodney got Grandal to ground out to third and gave Arizona the opening win of the series.
“I know there was a little bit of anxiety in the ninth inning, but you know what, that’s what it’s all about,” Lovullo said. “You gotta be able to ramp up, stay in the moment and collect your thoughts enough to execute and get the job done and we did and I was very happy with that and I’m proud of these guys.”
– Before the game, Lovullo spoke on the team’s depth at shortstop despite injuries to Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed.
– Hill was hit by a Goldschmidt liner on the left hip in the first. After the ball bounced toward first, Hill attempted to dive, grab and toss the ball in the same motion. Needless to say, that didn’t work out for him. He was looked at prior to Martinez’s at-bat and stayed in.
– Peralta’s triple was hit in a rare way. The ball bounced off the wall in center underneath the left railings by the walkways, but was high enough for center fielder Curtis Granderson to be unable to catch it on the run. For those familiar with Chase Field’s architecture, it’s quite a strange angle for the ball to be hit at in order to land there as opposed to hitting the railing.
– Rodney alluded to the possibility of the Dodgers stealing signs when asked about the mound visits.
“As soon (as the runner got) on second base I’m changing the sign,” Rodney said. “It’s working tonight. You have to do it, and tomorrow they’re going to do it again.”
The D-backs will get their two big arms for the last two games of the series and it starts Wednesday with Robbie Ray.
Ray will be making his second start since he missed nearly a month after being struck by a line drive on the head in St. Louis. In his first start back, Ray controlled the game, pitching five innings of one-run ball and allowing only four baserunners while striking out nine. On the year, Ray is 10-5 with a 3.06 ERA.
The lefty will face off with Hyun-Jin Ryu, another left-hander. Los Angeles has won all six starts Ryu has made since he returned from the disabled list in late July. Since coming back, Ryu has six earned runs on his record over 35 innings. Despite a 3.36 ERA, Ryu is only 5-6 in 2017.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage starting 40 minutes prior on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.