The offense and the bullpen overcame a lackluster start by Robbie Ray in dramatic fashion in front of a franchise record crowd of 50,180. Christian Walker hit his 4th career homer off Clayton Kershaw in just 10 at bats, and the rest of the lineup kept adding on runs.
Things started off well enough for Ray. After getting leadoff hitter AJ Pollock to ground out to short, Justin Turner lined a single to CF. But Kiki Hernandez hit into a 4-6-3 double play and Ray was out of the first in just 8 pitches.
As efficient as Ray was in the first, the 2nd was the exact opposite. Will Smith drew an 8 pitch walk. Corey Seager hit a ground ball up the middle right at a shifted Nick Ahmed, who stepped on 2nd and fired to first for the 6U-3 double play. But Chris Taylor ripped the 5th pitch he saw into the left field corner for a two out double. That was followed by a 7 pitch walk to Jedd Gyorko. Ray finally caught Christopher Negron looking to get his first strikeout of the game to keep the score 0-0. But it was a 26 pitch inning that just felt like it didn’t need to be.
Kershaw meanwhile was efficient through the first two innings, using just 23 pitches to navigate those scoreless frames.
The top of the third started with this play, which was really impressive by Tim Locastro:
That trademark Timmy Lo hustle. pic.twitter.com/2b177EMDnQ— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 1, 2019
Ray gave up a solo home run to Justin Turner later in the inning and continued to labor, with his pitch count climbing.
The DBacks got a leadoff double from Josh Rojas to start the 3rd, but he was cut down at third on a base running mistake trying to advance on a ground ball to 2nd.
Will Smith lead off the 4th with a line homer to left, his 14th of the year in just his 37th game. How LA keeps coming up with players like this with all the late round draft picks they get year after year is truly something Diamondbacks front office need to contemplate on the tree of woe. After getting Corey Seager to strikeout, Ray issued a one out walk to Chris Taylor, his 3rd of the game. He then fell behind Jedd Gyorko 3-1, who smashed the next pitch for a double to the left center field wall, driving in Taylor and giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.
The DBacks came alive in their half of the 4th however. Nick Ahmed drew a leadoff walk. One out later Christian Walker came to the plate and Clayton Kershaw blinked again:
Wilmer Flores then said, “HEY don’t forget about me, I’m the hottest hitter on the team!”
Just like that the game was tied at three all. Ray was unable to conjure up a shutdown inning in the he 5th. AJ Pollock hit a Double off the base of the bullpen fence to start off a Dodger Rally. Justin Turner hit a groundball past Ahmed to make it 1stand 3rdwith nobody out. A sac fly scored Pollock, giving LA the lead back at 4-3. Ray got two more K’s to end the inning, but not before surrendering the lead. That was going to be all of Ray, who’s night ended when he was lifted for a pinch hitter. The final line of 5 IP, 4 ER, on 8 hits, 3 walks, 2 HR and 6 K’s on 91 pitches was a disappointing effort from someone who is needing to step up and be an ace for the team.
But on this night his teammates would pick him up, BIG time. Carson Kelly drew a clutch leadoff walk to start the 5th against Kershaw. Some might find that phraseology strange, but it was just what the doctor ordered. Ketel Marte pinch hit for ray, and inexplicably swung at a 3-0 slider that was down and in, and then popped out to short on the 3-1 pitch. However Tim Locastro hit a one out single, bringing up Nick Ahmed. Slick Nick roped a two run double into the left field corner scoring Kelly and then Locastro all the way around from 1st to give the DBacks a 5-4 lead.
Yoan Lopez, TJ McFarland, and Kevin Ginkel combined to pitch three scoreless innings. Of note, Ginkel recorded 5 of those 9 outs, and lowered his season ERA to 1.93 (14. IP)
In their half of the 8th, Eduardo Escobar hit his 32nd HR of the year off of Kenley Jansen to give the DBacks a much needed insurance run:
Did I say much needed ?
Archie Bradley, who has worked an awful lot lately, came on to try to close it out. It started out extremely bad. Chris Taylor lined the first pitch he saw into center for a single. Cody Bellinger pinch hit and lined a double into the corner in right to give the Dodgers 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. A walk to load the bases and a mound visit followed.
When play resumed, Matt Beatty hit a hard groundball to Walker’s right. CWalk dove to make a great diving stop, came up throwing a strike to Ahmed, who threw back to Bradley covering first just in time to nab Beatty for the 3-6-1 double play. Taylor scored on the play, making it 6-5 and one more out to get, which Bradley got by getting Russell Martin to ground out to Nick Ahmed to end the game.
EDIT: I couldn’t find this video earlier. Sorry if this is slow loading for some, but I had to include one more:
An exciting finish to an exciting game in front of 50,000 fans in a playoff atmosphere ! That ought to keep them coming back !
Nick Ahmed. .315, Kevin Ginkel. .172, Christian Walker .118
Negative WPA: Robbie Ray -.220, Ketel Marte -.051
Just like the stadium, this was one of the better attended game threads recently
COTN goes to Snakebitten who will have to take the walk of shame. He should have quit while he was ahead. I remember giving this comment a rec, before he edited it with the last sentence ;)
Series finale tomorrow at 1:10 , as the DBacks indeed go for the sweep. We avoid Walker Buehler after all as Ross Stripling will face Alex Young.