LOS ANGELES -- David Peralta had seen Rich Hill do it twice already, so he knew there was a chance the left-hander would drop his arm angle down at some point during his at-bat in the fifth inning."I mean, I watch video before the game and kind of know what
LOS ANGELES -- David Peralta had seen Rich Hill do it twice already, so he knew there was a chance the left-hander would drop his arm angle down at some point during his at-bat in the fifth inning.
"I mean, I watch video before the game and kind of know what he's been doing lately," Peralta said after he and his D-backs teammates celebrated a 3-1 win over the Dodgers on Thursday night. "So he did it a couple times my first at-bat, and the second, too. And he got me twice, so I was aware."
Still, Peralta couldn't be certain what was coming when he dug in with two on and two out in a scoreless game.
"When he drops his angle, he can throw a curveball from the side and [other pitches]," Peralta said. "So sometimes you have to sit on something and just be ready for that. So I was just looking for a fastball, and he threw it."
Hill dropped down on his first pitch of the at-bat, threw a fastball and Peralta hit it. Hard, 107.7 mph to be exact. But it was on a line, and he didn't think it was leaving the park.
"To be honest, I felt it was just going to hit the wall," Peralta said.
Robbie Ray, standing on third base, thought the same.
"That ball was mashed," Ray said. "It was really cool to see. I didn't even think it was going to be a home run. I didn't think it got high enough, because he hit it so hard."
Meanwhile, Hill's frustration boiled over on the mound.
"I made a poor decision on dropping down," he said. "I should have stayed over the top, and it cost us the game."
The three-run homer proved to be all the D-backs would need as they increased their National League West lead over the third-place Dodgers to two games with three games remaining in this series. Arizona also gained a game on Colorado, which lost on a walk-off in San Diego and fell to 1 1/2 games back.
There is still plenty of baseball to be played, but taking the first game of the series certainly adds some urgency to the Dodgers.
"Having that loss looms over us moving forward," Hill said. "These games are huge."
Ray (4-2) picked up the win, striking out nine and pitching his way out of jams in the first and fourth innings when the Dodgers had a pair of runners on base with fewer than two outs.
The only run Ray allowed came in the sixth on Manny Machado's 33rd homer.
Ray, who has battled inconsistency since missing May and most of June due to an intercostal strain, walked two.
"Tonight was a big step forward," Ray said. "I felt in control of the game. I felt like my pitches were crisp. My curveball, there was good separation between that and my fastball. I kept them off balance the whole game. Just looking to take that into the next one."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
At-'em ball: After Machado's one-out homer in the sixth, Matt Kemp followed with a single to left off reliever Brad Ziegler. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts sent the left-handed-hitting Cody Bellinger to the plate to pinch-hit for Enrique Hernandez and Bellinger crushed an offering from Ziegler. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the ball, which left Bellinger's bat at a scorching 103.9 mph, went right into the glove of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who stepped on first for an inning-ending double play.
"It was a tough one, because I loved the matchup," said Roberts. "That could have easily been first and third or second and third, whatever, but it would have changed the game. He hit it hard, unfortunately it turned into a double play."
HE SAID IT
"Coming out and winning the first game is huge. This is a tight division right now, and to be able to start off like this and put more of a gap between us is huge." -- Ray
The D-backs take on the Dodgers in the second game of their four-game series on Friday night with ace Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.93 ERA) on the mound at Dodger Stadium. The former Dodger is 1-0 with a 2.14 ERA over his past two starts, and he is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA over his past five starts against his former club. The Dodgers will counter with Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-1, 2.18).
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.