The Dodgers bullpen was the collective hero on Wednesday night, protecting the slimmest of leads and overcoming a terrible week to post a string of zeroes in a 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks to snap a four-game losing streak.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and the Dodgers were in scramble mode when their best-laid plans went up in smoke, with Hyun-jin Ryu leaving his start after only four outs because of a left groin strain.
They had a lead, thanks to an Alex Verdugo double and Cody Bellinger single in the first inning. But that was it for the Dodgers offense until late, giving the bullpen 23 outs worth of landmines to tiptoe through. Verdugo doubled again in the eighth, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yasmani Grandal for an insurance run.
After allowing 25 runs in 23⅓ innings over the last eight games, Dodgers relievers combined for 7⅔ frames on Wednesday, allowing a run on five hits and three walks, with nine strikeouts.
Pedro Baez was pressed into emergency duty with just one out in the second inning with Ryu out, and struck out the first three batters he faced. Baez loaded the bases with one out in the fourth inning but escaped the jam without incident. He ended up tying his career best with 2⅔ innings and setting a new personal mark with 42 pitches.
Baez struck out four on the night, one shy of his high, and on the season has a 31.3% K rate and 21 strikeouts to lead the bullpen.
Daniel Hudson followed with two perfect innings in his best outing as a Dodger, with three strikeouts, and Tony Cingrani followed with two strikeouts in a scoreless seventh.
Things got dicey with Josh Fields in the eighth inning, when a double by David Peralta and a walk to Paul Goldschmidt with one out brought to the plate the red-hot A.J. Pollock, the reigning National League Player of the Month who has six home runs just against the Dodgers this year. Pollock hit a smash to the hole at shortstop but Kiké Hernandez made a tremendous stab and started a 6-4-3 to keep Arizona off the board.
Perfectly turned. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/SEId6vo8jo— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 3, 2018
Kenley Jansen was the only Dodgers pitcher to allow a run on the night — he still has yet to have a 1-2-3 inning this season — but still recorded three outs and stranded the tying run in scoring position in the ninth for his fourth save.
After that first run the Dodgers threatened several times, but those rallies were squashed with inning-ending double plays in the first, fifth and sixth, the first two stranding a runner on third base.
The three ground ball double plays were a season high for the Dodgers offense and their most since last Aug. 6, which like Wednesday was a game also in Phoenix started by Zack Godley.
Alex Wood starts the series finale, a 12:40 p.m. PT start on getaway day, a game that will be exclusively broadcast on Facebook only. Patrick Corbin starts Thursday for the Diamondbacks.
Home runs: none
WP - Daniel Hudson (1-0): 2 IP, 3 strikeouts
LP - Zack Godley (4-2): 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (4): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk