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Dodgers stifle Diamondbacks to complete NLDS sweep

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LA outscored Arizona 20-6 in three games

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — The Dodgers got a pair of home runs, made the opposing starter work for every pitch, and finished off the Diamondbacks with excellent pitching by Yu Darvish and the bullpen to sweep the NLDS with a 3-1 win in Game 3 on Monday night at Chase Field in Phoenix.

The Dodgers now advance to the National League Championship Series, which begins on Saturday in Los Angeles against either the Cubs or Nationals.

The Dodgers bullpen retired 11 of 12 batters they faced, and even one they didn’t, the latter thanks to Tony Cingrani erasing his inherited runner with a double play ground ball.

Brandon Morrow recorded four outs, including getting through Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez and Jake Lamb on just seven pitches in the seventh. Newly minted relief weapon Kenta Maeda breezed through the eighth, and Kenley Jansen finished things off in the ninth, striking out Goldschmidt to end it.

Dodgers pitchers on Monday allowed only three hits, and no walks.

The Dodgers offense ran Zack Greinke through the grinder on Saturday, just as they did in each of the first two games of the series. Greinke walked five batters on the night, a number he has only topped twice in his 392 career starts, including the postseason.

But none of those walks were cashed in. After Chris Taylor doubled to open the game, and scored thanks to a pair of outs, Greinke held the Dodgers at bay despite walking a tightrope, at least for a little while. Through four innings, the Dodgers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Cody Bellinger was in scoring position in the batters box in the fifth inning, snapping out of his recent slump with an opposite-field home run, his third extra-base hit in 12 at-bats against Greinke this season.

That wasn’t all Bellinger did. He showed off his range on a few plays at first base, most notably falling over the dugout rail to make a spectacular catch in the fifth inning.

Greinke seemed done after throwing 103 pitches in his five innings, but was back out on the mound to open the sixth inning. Two pitches later Austin Barnes, inserted into the lineup because of the superior quality of his at-bats of late, ended Greinke’s night for him with a solo home run, widening the Dodgers’ advantage to two runs.

That was enough for Darvish, who retired 13 straight at one point and allowed only a home run to Daniel Descalso in his five innings.

Darvish was cruising through five innings, striking out seven with. no walks, and threw just 74 pitches on the night, though it was two at the end that hastened his exit. Darvish nearly hit pinch-hitter Christian Walker with one pitch, but the pitch hit the knob of Walker’s bat for a foul ball, confirmed on replay. But then Darvish did hit Walker, this time in the helmet on a scary pitch that Walker basically strode into. It looked like it could have been much worse.

Diamondbacks starting pitchers in the three-game series lasted just 10⅓ innings total, allowing 11 runs on 12 hits and 11 walks, throwing 241 pitches. That’ll get you swept.

Game 3 particulars

Home runs: Cody Bellinger (1), Austin Barnes (1); Daniel Descalso (1)

WP - Yu Darvish (1-0): 5+ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 7 strikeouts

LP - Zack Greinke (0-1): 5+ IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (2): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts