Capuano shaky vs. D-backs to close first half

Capuano shaky vs. D-backs to close first half

Capuano shaky vs. D-backs to close first half
PHOENIX -- When the Dodgers defeated D-backs All-Star lefty Wade Miley on Thursday with rookie starter Nate Eovaldi on the mound, the rest of the four-game series appeared to set up perfectly for the club.

The Dodgers trotted out their top three starters the rest of the weekend with a chance to bury the D-backs in the standings heading into the All-Star break.

Things didn't go quite as planned, though.

After Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingley fell Friday and Saturday, Sunday was Chris Capuano's turn to struggle as the Dodgers mustered up just five hits and dropped their third straight, 7-1, to the D-backs at Chase Field.

"This leaves a bad taste no doubt, but overall physically I feel great and I'm executing my pitches well," Capuano said. "I'm excited for the second half. We are right there."

Even with the slip-up, the Dodgers maintained a half-game lead in the National League West heading into the break because the Giants lost Sunday, 13-2, in Pittsburgh.

"I don't like how it's ended but we've put ourselves in a good position," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We had leads in the second and third games of the series. Today we weren't really in the game. Other than that, at the end of the day, we know we're in a marathon and we have put ourselves in a good position. We'll see if we are good enough in the second half."

Capuano entered Sunday with a team-best 2.62 ERA and hadn't allowed more than four earned runs in any of his 17 previous starts in 2012. He finished the day tossing five innings and surrendering five earned runs on nine hits.

D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt had Capuano's number and drove in four of Arizona's runs with two hits, including a three-run homer.

"We wanted to pitch around Goldschmidt, but he made a couple mistakes there," Mattingly said. "[Capuano] did pretty good though, it's a good place to hit and they are getting second looks at him."

In collecting his first Major League victory, D-backs starter Trevor Bauer allowed leadoff doubles in the second and third innings to Juan Rivera and Capuano but that was it. The rookie retired the last 12 batters he faced in throwing six shutout innings and striking out six.

"He pitched well today, you have to give him credit," Dodgers third baseman Jerry Hairston said. "His slider was working well and his fastball really gets on you."

Bauer had struggled in his first two starts for the D-backs, surrendering a combined eight earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. Mattingly came away impressed but thinks his club will experience success the next time the Dodgers face him.

"Obviously today was the first time we had seen him," Mattingly said. "I think we'll have a better feel next time. We'll see if guys make any adjustments against him, but he was effective today."

The Dodgers scored their only run in the ninth inning off of fellow D-backs rookie Patrick Corbin, who earned the first save of his career by pitching three innings in relief. The club loaded the bases with no outs in the frame but only produced a sacrifice fly from Juan Uribe.

Capuano found himself in trouble early Sunday, allowing three hits in the first inning, including an RBI triple to Justin Upton and an RBI double to Goldschmidt.

The 33-year-old Capuano settled in over the next three innings, but with two outs in the fifth, Goldschmidt beat him again, tattooing the second pitch he saw into the left-field bleachers for a three-run shot.

"It was a situation where I didn't want him to beat me but I got a little sloppy and made a not-so-great pitch," Capuano said. "It was frustrating because I felt like I got myself through the game pretty well to that point and let it get away from me."

Once Capuano exited, the D-backs tacked on two more runs in the seventh on Miguel Montero's bases-loaded single against Ronald Belisario.

Kenley Jensen tossed a perfect eighth inning, making it eight straight appearances the right-hander hasn't allowed a hit. He also has 14 strikeouts in that span.

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.