LA starts fast, adds on to thwart D-backs' rally

LA starts fast, adds on to thwart D-backs' rally

PHOENIX -- All year long the Dodgers have gotten production from their entire roster as they built the best record in the Majors.

Thursday night's hero was Enrique Hernandez, who started in place of right fielder Yasiel Puig and drove in three runs to help the Dodgers defeat the D-backs, 8-6, at Chase Field.

"He elevated on the fastball, threw it right down the middle and I put a good swing on it," said Hernandez.

The win gave the Dodgers the series victory as they extended their lead in the National League West to 16 games over the second-place Rockies and 17 over the D-backs, who lead the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot by 5 1/2 games. The Dodgers are 26-4 since July 4 and have 81 wins, a number they reached last year on Sept. 12.

Turner's double plates two runs

"We have a deep lineup, good bench, really good starting rotation and a good bullpen," said Hernandez. "There aren't a lot of ways to beat us. On paper, we're as good as it gets. On the field, we're playing good baseball. We don't give up extra outs, we're rallying. We hit home runs but don't rely on them like last year. With all that, usually you win, and that's what's happening."

Hernandez's bases-clearing double came in the first inning off Arizona starter Anthony Banda (1-2). After the D-backs rallied against Yu Darvish to cut the lead to 3-2, the Dodgers poured it on against the D-backs' bullpen, scoring three runs in the fifth -- including Chris Taylor's 16th homer -- and two in the sixth on Justin Turner's two-run double.

They would end up needing almost all of those as the D-backs cut the deficit to two in the eighth on a two-run single by Ketel Marte.

Marte's two-run single

"This is a pretty good team that we're playing against and they can hit you in a bunch of different ways and they're the frontrunner right now," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "They're pacing the league. It's a good marker for us. I think you go up against a team like this and see what you're all about and that's what I was proud of, we fought hard. Unfortunately we lost two out of three."

Darvish, who was making his second start since being acquired from the Rangers, allowed two runs on five hits over five innings while striking out 10.

Darvish fans 10 vs. D-backs

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big blow: Banda ran into trouble early as the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the first inning after Corey Seager and Justin Turner singled and Logan Forsythe drew a walk. Still, Banda had a chance to get out of it without any damage, but on a 1-2 pitch, Hernandez lined a double to left. The hit gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead and they didn't look back.

Lovullo on 8-6 loss

Quick hook: Lovullo has given a long leash to his starting pitchers this year, but that wasn't the case Thursday night. Lovullo elected to pinch-hit for Banda trailing, 3-2, with two outs and two on in the fourth. Pinch-hitter Brandon Drury struck out and then reliever Jake Barrett allowed three runs in the fifth as the game swung the Dodgers way. More >

"I just felt like in that situation we were going to try and turn the lineup over, Darvish to me was looking a little flimsy and I felt like we had a chance to potentially break the game open," Lovullo said. "Unfortunately it didn't work out."

Taylor's solo homer to left

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his 30th save, Kenley Jansen became the first Dodger with four seasons of at least 30 saves.

Jansen locks down 30th save

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Dodgers challenged an out call on Forsythe at first base with one out in the fifth inning, with the initial ruling that pitcher Barrett, who took first baseman Paul Goldschmidt's throw, beat Forsythe to the bag. The call was overturned and Forsythe was safe.

Forsythe safe after challenge

WHAT'S NEXT
Dodgers: Rich Hill opens the homestand against the Padres Friday night in a 7:10 p.m. PT start. Hill allowed three first-inning home runs in a no-decision in New York. He pitched seven scoreless innings the last time he faced San Diego on July 1.

D-backs: Taijuan Walker gets the start Friday night when the D-backs open up a three-game series against the Cubs at Chase Field. It will be Walker's first career start against the Cubs as he looks to get his first win since June 21. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. MST.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.