Ketel Marte misses cycle as D-backs are outdueled by Dodgers
PHOENIX – Ketel Marte pestered Clayton Kershaw all night long, going 3-4 with a home run, a triple and three RBI.
But David Freese and the Los Angeles Dodgers offense didn’t back down and persisted their way to a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.
D-backs starting pitcher Robbie Ray got into trouble early, allowing four of the first five batters of the game to reach base, including a Freese RBI single that scored Chris Taylor.
Despite loading the bases with one out, Ray was able to pitch his way out of the jam and limit the damage to just one run.
The D-backs struck back early against Kershaw, tying the game in the bottom of the first on a Marte RBI triple that brought Eduardo Escobar across home plate.
Marte’s bat stayed white hot against Kershaw again in the third inning when he sent a 455-foot solo home run into the left field bleachers that put Arizona up 2-1.
Ray labored again in the fifth inning. After an eleven-pitch at-bat by Justin Turner, Freese tied the game with a solo dinger of his own.
While Ray was on point for most of this start, his pitch count soared to 100 by the fifth inning which prematurely ended his night. The left-hander went five innings and allowed two earned runs, four hits, and three walks with seven strikeouts. 66 of his 100 pitches were strikes.
“I felt like it was a battle,” said Ray after the start. “In the first inning, the pitch count got a little higher than I wanted it to, but I was able to come back, put up some zeros, and keep us in the game.”
The Dodgers’ potent lineup chipped away once Ray was out of the game, putting two runs on the board against Andrew Chafin and Brad Ziegler in the seventh inning that gave L.A. a 4-3 lead.
The intensity of this matchup had a brief pause during a scary moment in the bottom of the eighth inning when D-backs first baseman Christian Walker was hit in the face by a Kenta Maeda pitch. Walker was bleeding from his mouth, but he was able to leave under his own power with what the team is calling facial contusions.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers added three more runs off of Yoshi Hirano in the top of the ninth inning that also saw Joc Pederson get ejected by home plate umpire Joe West for arguing balls and strikes.
A.J. Pollock made a small dent in the lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth, his 20th of the season. It didn’t do enough damage, however, as the Dodgers took Game 1 of this final home series.
– With a 10-1 victory over the Phillies, the Rockies ensured that the Dodgers will not be able to clinch the NL West Division title at Chase Field during this series.
– Marte was just a double away from the cycle and was the primary creator of offense for the D-backs.
– Ray has a 1.85 ERA to go with a 1.08 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in his last seven starts.
– Hirano set an MLB record for the most appearances by a Japanese rookie reliever with 74 relief appearances this season.
– This was Ray’s 15th no-decision in 22 starts this season. Despite being effective, his high pitch counts have limited his time on the mound.
– The D-backs bullpen allowed five runs in four innings of work, proving to be unreliable yet again at keeping games close.
STAT OF THE GAME
3-4: Marte was just a double away from hitting for the cycle against Clayton Kershaw.
HE SAID IT
– “Oh yeah, a little bit. A little bit. I was just trying to have good contact. Just looking for my pitch to hit. He made a really good pitch that struck me out,” Marte on if he was thinking about the cycle during his final at-bat.
– The D-backs rank first in runs scored in the first three innings. Unfortunately, they also rank 15th in runs scored in innings four through six and 12th in runs scored in innings seven through nine.
– Including this series with the Dodgers, 17 of the D-backs’ last 20 games have come against first place teams.
– The roof was open at Chase Field for first pitch at 6:40 p.m. with 26,067 in attendance for the first game of this final home series.
The D-backs will continue their pursuit of the spoiler role in Game 2 of this series. Matt Koch will get the start for Arizona, his 14th of the year, with Walker Buehler starting for the Dodgers. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Koch is 5-5 this season with a 4.26 ERA. He has won each of his last three starts at Chase Field, and four of his last five appearances have been scoreless.