Brandon Webb outpitched two-time All-Star Brad Penny in one of the best marquee matchups of the season, throwing his fifth career shutout on Sunday and leading the NL West-leading Diamondbacks to a 3-0 victory that polished off a three-game sweep of the Dodgers.
"These were probably the biggest two series of the year for us so far, here against L.A. and the last one against the Padres. So to win five of six on the road against these two teams that are in our division was huge for us," Webb said.
The D'backs, who had lost seven of the first nine meetings this season prior to this series, increased their lead over third-place Los Angeles to four games -- the Dodgers' largest deficit this season.
Arizona won for the 13th time in 15 games overall, while the Dodgers lost for the 12th time in their last 16. The D'backs' first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since September 2005 featured two shutouts, including a combined effort Friday night by Doug Davis and closer Jose Valverde that ended up 1-0 on an eighth-inning homer by Chris Snyder.
"This is a tough stretch for them," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "Their rotation was a little beat up after losing a couple of guys, and questions about whether Penny and Derek Lowe were 100 percent or not. But that's a good club. They won't pack it in. No way. They'll be back. There's no doubt about that. They've got good young players and great veteran presence."
Webb (11-8) gave up seven hits and struck out four in winning his third straight start. He recorded his first shutout this season and 10th complete game in 153 career starts, getting 14 of his outs on groundballs. Valderde, who preserved one-run leads in the previous two wins, was available to pitch. But Webb didn't need him.
"If he had two baserunners, I'd probably go get him. But it was obviously an easy enough decision to let him go out there in the ninth inning, considering where his pitch count was and the way he was pitching," Melvin said.
"We saw kind of the return of the sinker today, and that's how you stay in games for nine innings -- throwing your sinker for strikes, getting early-count outs and ground balls. He had his sinker going on both sides of the plate and was throwing his off-speed just enough. He's on quite a roll."
Webb extended his scoreless streak to 24 consecutive innings, including a pair of seven-inning outings against Florida and San Diego. The record is 59 straight, by Orel Hershiser during his 1988 Cy Young campaign with the Dodgers.
"I knew it was going to be a tough game because Penny's always super tough on us. So I knew I was going to have to bear down and throw one of my better games," said Webb, who had a 30-inning scoreless streak last season.
"I want to keep going out there and try to put up zeros as long as I can. I was looking in the Dodgers' media guide two nights ago and seeing all the pitching records and scoreless innings streak, and Don Drysdale had like six shutouts in a row. And I thought, 'Six shutouts in a row? How does he not have the scoreless inning record?' Then I counted it up, and nine times six is 54."
Penny (13-3) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking none. He came in 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 14 previous starts against the Diamondbacks, who selected him in the fifth round of the June 1996 draft.
"Anytime you go against that guy, he's a tough pitcher," Penny said. "He didn't win the Cy Young last year for no reason. He's got a great sinker and he's tough to score off of."
Justin Upton doubled home Jackson in the second inning for his first RBI in the big leagues, and Mark Reynolds scored moments later when Snyder hit the Diamondbacks' major league-leading 47th sacrifice fly.
Reynolds made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the fourth, and Penny retired 10 of his next 11 batters before coming out.
"We got a start from Penny that would have been plenty good to win a lot of games, but we just couldn't do anything offensively," manager Grady Little said. "I feel like that game out there today kind of bottomed us out. So no matter where we go, no matter where we play, there's nowhere to go up but up."
- Dodgers 3B Nomar Garciaparra, a two-time AL batting champ with Boston, was 0-for-4 against Webb and is hitless in 17 career at-bats against him. Ethier was 2-for-3, making him 6-for-9 against Webb.
- The D'backs optioned RHP Dustin Nippert to Triple-A Tucson to make room for LHP Joe Kennedy, who joined the team a day after getting claimed off waivers from Oakland.
- The D'backs traded Penny to Florida for Matt Mantai in July 1999.