Rare skid testing Dodgers' mettle

August 30th, 2017

PHOENIX -- Rookie savior , already credited by many for turning around the season in April, can help halt the Dodgers' longest losing streak since June when he returns to the lineup Wednesday night.

After Rich Hill spotted the D-backs five runs in the first inning, the Dodgers rallied but fell short Tuesday night, 7-6, giving them a season-high three-game losing streak for the fourth time and first time since June 4-6.

Manager Dave Roberts offered a positive spin afterward, noting that the Dodgers had pulled within a run against Arizona closer in the ninth inning and had the go-ahead run on first base when the game ended on a broken-bat groundout from , who had three hits after going 1-for-12 on the homestand.

"I thought that the bats coming alive tonight was a good thing," Roberts said after slugged his 24th home run and Chris Taylor hit his 18th while driving in three.

"After the first inning, we played a very good baseball game. We've run into some good pitching and the bats sort of went sour, but they're back," Roberts said. "Cody hit a homer tonight and sac fly [in a rehab game] and will be back in the lineup tomorrow. To get Yasmani going again, Yasiel the entire second half, C.T. and I thought J.T. [Justin Turner, who had an RBI double] looked a lot better in the batter's box. Even though there was a loss there, there were some encouraging things on the offensive side."

There almost was enough offense to counter the Jekyll/Hyde pitching of Hill, who followed up his near no-hitter in Pittsburgh with a five-run, 35-pitch first inning that left the Dodgers playing catchup the rest of the night.

Included in that inning was 's 104.9-mph line drive off Hill's left hip for an infield single. Hill, who threw three 90-plus-mph fastballs in that at-bat, never threw another. That hip on the push-off leg tightened up and Roberts said Hill was favoring it, although both indicated no concern about the lefty making his next start.

Hill joked that getting hit in the hip is better than getting hit in the neck, and he should know. Hill was hit there by a pitch on Aug. 11 while attempting to bunt. He pitched two more innings that night, too.

Hill's contrasting outings are a lot like a team with an 18-game lead struggling through a three-game losing streak.

"It's baseball. It's going to happen," said Taylor, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Tuesday. "We're going to continue going about our business the way we have, come to the park looking to get a win tomorrow. I think we ran into good teams that have played us tough and we lost a couple of close games."