The Dodgers started the night with an opportunity to take a share of the National League West for the first time in nearly three weeks. They just needed to win and have the Rockies take a loss down south in San Diego.
Instead, one big swing of the bat from David Peralta in the fifth inning sent the Dodgers two games behind Arizona. Peralta’s three-run homer stood up for the Diamondbacks as the Dodgers dropped the opener by the score of 3-1.
With two outs and runners at the corners, Rich Hill slung a sidearm fastball at 87-mph that Peralta lined over the right field fence. Hill would last just one more batter, giving up the three runs on six hits, striking out seven with no walks.
Arizona wouldn’t score again and wouldn’t need to.
The Dodgers had a runner in scoring position with less than two outs in three different innings Thursday. None of them crossed the plate as Los Angeles went a quiet 0-for-5 in those situations. Perhaps none bigger then when they had runners on first and third with one out in the eighth.
Matt Kemp ended the threat with a double play ball to shortstop. So goes the story of the 2018 Dodgers. 15 strikeouts and no clutch hits to their credit, scoring their only run on a solo homer off the bat of Manny Machado.
The sixth inning had some promise after Machado chased Dbacks’ starter Robbie Ray with that homer, his 33rd of the year overall. Kemp followed with a single to bring Cody Bellinger to the plate as a pinch-hitter with a chance to do some damage off reliever Brad Ziegler.
Bellinger scorched a ball toward the first base line, right where Paul Goldschmidt was standing. Goldschmidt stepped on the bag to double up Kemp and end the inning.
Ray held the Dodgers to four hits and two walks in 5 1⁄3 innings, striking out nine.
The Dodgers and Dbacks continue the NL West battle when old friend Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.93) takes the mound against Hyun-jin Ryu (4-1, 2.18).
Home runs: Peralta (26), Machado (33)
WP - Robbie Ray (4-2): 5 1⁄3 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
LP - Rich Hill (6-5): 5 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 7 strikeouts
SV - Brad Boxberger (31): 2⁄3 IP, 2 strikeouts