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Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 4: Comeback falls short, champagne on ice

Arizona's magic number to clinch the NL West is 21.

Ralph Freso

PHOENIX -- Wednesday night nearly became a microcosm of the season for the Dodgers. They fell behind early and mounted a comeback, but couldn't quite catch the Diamondbacks in a 9-4 loss at Chase Field in Phoenix.

The Dodgers put the tying runs on base in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings but couldn't overcome an early 4-0 deficit. But the flip side is that Arizona had several chances to blow the game wide open but didn't. Through seven innings the Diamondbacks put 18 runners on base and had just four runs.

That all changed in the ninth, when Arizona scored five runs in the ninth against Ronald Belisario to put the game out of reach. The five runs against Belisario were the most he's ever allowed in a game.

Yasiel Puig snapped an 0-for-8 slump with a double into the left field corner to open the game, but was promptly picked off second base by catcher Miguel Montero, Puig's 19th out made on the bases this season. The first inning wasn't kind to Puig all the way around, as he stood in right field waiting for Adam Eaton's leadoff single to roll to him.

While Puig was waiting for the ball, Eaton's single became Eaton's double.

Paul Goldschmidt followed one out later by hitting a ball just shy of the swimming pool, over the wall in right center field for his league-leading 34th home run of the season, and a 2-0 Diamondbacks lead.

Goldschmidt this season against the Dodgers is hitting .405/.432/.684 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 18 games. Goldschmidt is tied with Hunter Pence of the Giants for most home runs against the Dodgers this season. The last time the Dodgers allowed more than six home runs to any one player in one season was in 2004, when Barry Bonds and Vinny Castilla each hit eight, and Jeromy Burnitz hit seven.

Fife threw 33 pitches in the first inning and was lucky to escape with just down 2-0. But his luck ran out in the third inning. A hit batsman, two singles, a walks and two wild pitches in the inning led to another run for Arizona and Fife was done after recording just seven outs. Fife allowed 11 of his 18 batters faced to reach base and left with the bases loaded and just one out in the inning.

Carlos Marmol walked the first batter he faced to force in the Diamondback's fourth run, then ran the count to 3-0 on A.J. Pollock. But Marmol recovered to get both Pollock and Goldschmidt to end the inning and limit the damage.

The Dodgers immediately responded with two runs in the fourth inning, the first on a towering home run to dead center field by Puig. Three consecutive singles cut the lead to 4-2 and the Dodgers had the tying runs on base with nobody out. But Brandon McCarthy retired Matt Kemp, Mark Ellis and Nick Punto to end the frame.

A chance for the Dodgers in the top of the sixth inning to do some damage was thwarted by a pair of decisions. After Michael Young singled with one out, Adrian Gonzalez doubled into the left center field gap. Young was waved home by third base coach Tim Wallach and appeared to get his hand in under the tag of catcher Miguel Montero, but was called out at the plate

Gonzalez from second base said something, and it was enough to get ejected by second base umpire Andy Fletcher. But instead of using the speedy Dee Gordon to run for Gonzalez, manager Don Mattingly chose Juan Uribe, his first time used as a pinch-runner since June 25, 2006.

That choice was important because Matt Kemp singled to left field and Uribe was held at third on a play during which Gordon would have very likely scored.

Punto led off the seventh inning with a single, then scored on a double by Tim Federowicz to cut the lead to 4-3. Then with Federowicz the tying run already in scoring position, Mattingly had Skip Schumaker bunt the catcher over the third base. Puig followed with an infield chopper that went for a single but since Federowicz didn't immediately break for home he couldn't score.

With left-handed reliever Tony Sipp brought in, Scott Van Slyke pinch hit for Carl Crawford but grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end that threat.

Both Belisario and Paco Rodriguez mad their 74th appearance on Wednesday, tying Joel Peralta of the Rays for the major league lead.

Wednesday particulars

Home runs: Yasiel Puig (17), Tim Federowicz (4); Paul Goldschmidt (34)

WP - Brandon McCarthy (5-9): 6+ IP, 10 hits, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts

LP - Stephen Fife (4-4): 2⅓ IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts