Arizona at Los Angeles

Scoreboard
Arizona (71-71)0111000003102
L.A. Dodgers (73-70) «20000120x582

Dodgers finish off sweep of D-Backs, stretch division lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers appear to have the Arizona Diamondbacks on the run, although they won't dare admit it.

James Loney had three RBI and Los Angeles completed a three-game sweep of Arizona on Sunday with a 5-3 victory that gave it a 1½-game lead on the Diamondbacks in the NL West. It was the eighth series of three or more games that the Dodgers have swept, including a four-game set against the Phillies at Chavez Ravine.

"We're excited, but we've just got to continue," said Nomar Garciaparra, who drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly. "Obviously, they're the ones we're competing against trying to win this division. But there's no time to let up and start patting ourselves on the back. We've got a long way to go."

Los Angeles tied a season best with its eighth straight win, following an eight-game skid. Hong-Chih Kuo (5-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief for the victory and Jonathan Broxton got four outs for his 13th save.

"I think it's pretty incredible to expect to come back and take those eight losses and turn them around in that big a hurry," manager Joe Torre said. "It's one of those Dramamine trips -- it's up and down and you strap yourself in, because that's what's going to happen this time of year."

The Diamondbacks, who won their fourth division title last season, had no worse than a share of the division lead for 137 consecutive days this time around before the Dodgers beat 19-game winner Brandon Webb for the second time in a week on Saturday.

The Dodgers' final 19 games are against teams that have losing records and are a combined 83 games under .500. They have six left with San Diego (55-88), three with Colorado (67-77), four with Pittsburgh (60-82) and six with San Francisco (62-80).

"There is no psychological advantage," Torre said. "The only thing is that you can control your own destiny. You don't need to watch the scoreboard. If you win your share of games, you're going to finish in first place. What that share is, we don't know. And if you don't win, it's nobody's fault but your own."

The turning point in this race may have come after the D'Backs took the opener of a three-game set with the Dodgers in Phoenix on Aug. 29 to open up a 4½-game margin. Los Angeles came back the next two nights with victories.

The Dodgers won the season series by a 10-8 margin for the third straight year, after losing seven of the first 10 meetings. They have won five straight against Arizona, including two each against Webb and Dan Haren.

"That's baseball. Anything can happen," Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew said. "But we've got 20 games left. We're not playing them anymore, so we've got to focus on going into San Francisco. We're going to play every out and every game as hard as we can and see what happens at the end. I've still got a good feeling about it."

Broxton gave up a two-out double in the ninth to pinch-hitter Chad Tracy and walked Adam Dunn, bringing Conor Jackson to the plate as the potential go-ahead run. But Garciaparra robbed Jackson of a hit with a diving catch of his line drive in the hole between first and second for the final out.

"Right there I'm hugging the line because he's the go-ahead run and you don't want him to get to second base," Garciaparra said. "I'm glad I was able to see that ball. I don't know how I saw it, but I saw it good enough to make the play."

With the score tied at 3, Blake DeWitt greeted reliever Jon Rauch (4-6) with a ground-rule double to lead off the seventh. DeWitt took third when first baseman Dunn misplayed Angel Berroa's sacrifice bunt for an error.

Garciaparra's sac fly drove in DeWitt, and Berroa scored when Drew booted Andre Ethier's routine grounder and threw too late to get him at first base.

Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson, who have a combined 648 wins and nine Cy Young awards, were expected to match up in the series finale for only the second time ever in the regular season. But Torre gave the ball to Clayton Kershaw, hoping the left-hander could neutralize Dunn and Drew, and Johnson was scratched because of shoulder fatigue.

That left it up to a pair of rookies who hadn't thrown a pitch in the major leagues before this season. Arizona's Dan Scherzer was born 2 years and 3 months after Johnson made his big league debut. Kershaw was born 1½ years after Maddux threw his first pitch in the majors.

Scherzer, a 24-year-old right-hander making his fourth big league start and first since May 17, struck out 11 and allowed three runs and five hits in six-plus innings. It was the highest strikeout total by any opposing pitcher against the Dodgers this season.

"He just didn't look like he was affected by any kind of pressure," Torre said.

Kershaw, a 20-year-old lefty, threw 91 pitches over four innings and allowed three runs and six hits. Two of them were solo homers by Dunn and Chris Snyder.

Snyder hit his 14th homer in the second -- ending a run of 25 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings by Dodgers starting pitchers against the Diamondbacks. Dunn, moved up to the third spot in the order after batting cleanup in his first 23 games with Arizona, tied the score 2-all with his 36th of the season and fourth with the D'Backs.

Notes

  • The Dodgers scored at least five runs for the eighth straight game, and improved to 52-6 when they do.
  • Arizona's biggest lead was 6 1/2 games on April 28. The Dodgers were a season-worst seven games off the pace on April 25.
  • Dodgers 3B Casey Blake was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, and is batting .183 in 34 day games this season with the Indians and Dodgers.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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James Loney's bat breaks here, but he ends the day with three RBI for the scorching-hot Dodgers.  (AP)
James Loney's bat breaks here, but he ends the day with three RBI for the scorching-hot Dodgers. (AP)

Players of the Game
Arizona

M. Scherzer
IP 5.0
H 5
ER 3
BB 1
K 11
Los Angeles

J. Loney
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
 

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Arizona Diamondbacks
Stephen Drew, SS5010032 .285
David Eckstein, 2B4000002 .270
    Tony Pena, P0000000 .000
   a- Chad Tracy, PH1010000 .270
Adam Dunn, 1B4121101 .242
    Jeff Salazar, PR0000000 .219
Conor Jackson, LF4010112 .294
Chris Young, CF4010014 .244
Mark Reynolds, 3B3120103 .241
Justin Upton, RF4000034 .244
Chris Snyder, C3122010 .241
   b- Miguel Montero, PH-C1000012 .272
Max Scherzer, P2000011 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   c- Alex Romero, PH0000000 .238
   d- Chris Burke, PH0000100 .191
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
    Doug Slaten, P0000000 .000
    Augie Ojeda, 2B1000000 .243
Totals363103411  
a-doubled for Pena in the 9th
b-struck out for Snyder in the 8th
c-announced for Qualls in the 7th
d-walked for Romero in the 7th
Batting
2B - Chad Tracy (12, Broxton), Adam Dunn (20, Kershaw), Chris Young (40, Kuo), Mark Reynolds (25, Park), Chris Snyder (19, Kershaw)
HR - Adam Dunn (36, Kershaw), Chris Snyder (14, Kershaw)
RBI - Adam Dunn (89), Chris Snyder 2 (61)
SB - Mark Reynolds (10, 3rd base off Park/Martin)
CS - Mark Reynolds (1, Home by Park/Martin)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Adam Dunn (9, Throwing(runner advances on dropped ball by upton)), Justin Upton (10, (runner advances on dropped ball by upton))
Arizona Diamondbacks
Max Scherzer 55331110 3.00
Chad Qualls 1000010 3.25
Jon Rauch (L,4-6) 0.2121000 3.84
Doug Slaten0100000 4.40
Tony Pena 1.1100100 3.76
IBB - Ramirez by Tony Pena
Pitches-Strikes - Max Scherzer 94-61, Chad Qualls 11-10, Jon Rauch 13-9, Doug Slaten 4-3, Tony Pena 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Max Scherzer 3-1, Jon Rauch 2-1, Tony Pena 3-1
Batters Faced - Max Scherzer 21, Chad Qualls 3, Jon Rauch 4, Doug Slaten 1, Tony Pena 6
Los Angeles Dodgers
Russell Martin, C4000012 .280
Andre Ethier, RF3221110 .293
Manny Ramirez, LF3120110 .326
James Loney, 1B3013002 .301
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
Casey Blake, 3B3000022 .283
    Hong-Chih Kuo, P0000000 .250
    Chin-lung Hu, 2B1010000 .165
Matt Kemp, CF4000033 .287
Blake DeWitt, 2B-3B4120011 .260
Angel Berroa, SS3100022 .235
Clayton Kershaw, P0000000 .045
    Scott Proctor, P0000000 .000
   a- Delwyn Young, PH1000010 .246
    Chan Ho Park, P0000000 .111
    Nomar Garciaparra, 3B-1B0001000 .234
Totals29585212  
a-struck out for Proctor in the 5th
Batting
2B - Manny Ramirez (31, Scherzer), Blake DeWitt (12, Rauch)
SF - James Loney (6), Nomar Garciaparra (2)
SH - Angel Berroa (4), Clayton Kershaw (8)
RBI - Andre Ethier (67), James Loney 3 (79), Nomar Garciaparra (22)
2-OUT RBI - Andre Ethier (21)
SB - Matt Kemp (33, 2nd base off Pena/Montero)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Hong-Chih Kuo (1, Throwing), Manny Ramirez (3, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw 4633142 4.60
Scott Proctor 1100010 6.55
Chan Ho Park 1100020 2.98
Hong-Chih Kuo (W,5-2) 1.1100210 2.03
Jonathan Broxton (S,13) 1.2100130 3.36
Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Kershaw 92-54, Scott Proctor 20-11, Chan Ho Park 16-10, Hong-Chih Kuo 21-11, Jonathan Broxton 33-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Kershaw 5-3, Scott Proctor 2-0, Jonathan Broxton 1-1
Batters Faced - Clayton Kershaw 19, Scott Proctor 4, Chan Ho Park 3, Hong-Chih Kuo 7, Jonathan Broxton 7
Game Information
Attendance - 54137
Game Time - 3:30
Temperature - 85
Umpires - Home - C.B. Bucknor, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Ed Hickox