Fast start fizzles for Dodgers in loss to D-backs

Fast start fizzles for Dodgers in loss to D-backs

Fast start fizzles for Dodgers in loss to D-backs
PHOENIX -- Making several trades to bolster their lineup on paper, the Dodgers hoped the additions of Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino would spark their offense into a lengthy postseason run.

But as Los Angeles continues to fall further behind the National League West-leading Giants, the team is struggling to find a way out of its scoring lull while the lack of results begin to reach a boiling point.

After Gonzalez provided the club an early two-run lead, the Dodgers' bats went quiet throughout the rest of Wednesday's game and the team fell for the sixth time in its last seven games, 3-2, to the D-backs at Chase Field.

Perhaps the only silver lining for the Dodgers through their recent struggles is the team they're trying to catch in the NL Wild Card standings, the Cardinals, have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. St. Louis also lost Wednesday, keeping Los Angeles within one game of the second NL Wild Card spot before the teams open a four-game set on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.

"I think we have to feel fortunate -- I'd rather feel fortunate that we're winning and we're keeping ourselves in the hunt but we have to turn the page," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "At the end of the day and the beginning of the day tomorrow, we'll be a game back. We've let a lot of people back in the race, but it's still in our hands, no matter how bad it has looked. It's there for us."

With a Giants victory over the Rockies, however, the Dodgers dropped to seven games back in the division.

Los Angeles entered the night with an 18-inning scoreless streak and failed to put a run on the board the final eight innings Wednesday.

"You feel good you're able to score two early, but that feeling goes away as you're not able to add on," Mattingly said. "You feel you're giving momentum back."

The defeat continued Los Angeles' woes against Arizona, losing for the 10th time in the rivals' last 12 meetings.

And for the second consecutive night Wednesday, Gonzalez struck out looking against D-backs reliever David Hernandez in the ninth inning of a one-run game. This time, however, Gonzalez took exception to the call by home-plate umpire Dale Scott.

"It should've been ball four," Gonzalez said. "Game on the line, he made a great pitch, but it's still a ball. That shouldn't happen. Not at that time. You get on first base, probably pinch-run, maybe steal second then you have two chances to drive home."

Admittedly frustrated by his .229 batting average since coming over from Boston, Gonzalez feels like he hasn't been receiving any breaks either.

"Day in and day out, you take pitches that are close and it's always a strike," he said. "I want to turn around and start yelling, but I didn't want to take away from my teammates' concentration either. Human element, I guess."

Hernandez, who recorded his second save in as many days Wednesday, also acknowledged the call was close.

"I thought it was a strike," he said. "I guess it could have gone either way, but it seems like more times than not I don't get that pitch, but I'll take it. I thought it was a strike."

Earlier in the game, Gonzalez handed the Dodgers their 2-0 advantage in the first inning with a two-run double to right-center field. The club hoped the hit would jump-start its offense, but the Dodgers recorded only two hits the rest of the way.

"We've been needing a hit to get us going, it felt great in the moment," Gonzalez said. "We're just not getting the job done."

Aaron Harang pitched well enough to win but yielded four walks and three earned runs over his 5 2/3 innings. Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra drove in the tying and game-winning runs in the sixth after Harang retired the first two batters of the frame.

Despite the outcome, the outing was a significant improvement for the 34-year-old compared with his previous appearances against the D-backs. In three starts vs. Arizona this year before Wednesday, the right-hander allowed 15 runs over 14 1/3 innings.

"I thought he was pretty good up until that point, there was two outs and then next thing you know, we're down," Mattingly said. "He pitched good early, gave us chances to add on, but we didn't do it."

D-backs starter Trevor Cahill settled down after the first, tossing his next six innings with only three batters reaching base.

"I don't mind giving guys credit," Mattingly said. "He's a good pitcher, but it's hard for me to continue to give guys credit and not us take some blame for not getting it done."

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