LOS ANGELES -- The D-backs seemed destined to lose Friday night against the Dodgers when they allowed a pair of runs on an eighth-inning grounder that would have been an inning-ending double play had it not hit the second-base bag.And yet, they found a way to hang on for an
LOS ANGELES -- The D-backs seemed destined to lose Friday night against the Dodgers when they allowed a pair of runs on an eighth-inning grounder that would have been an inning-ending double play had it not hit the second-base bag.
And yet, they found a way to hang on for an 8-7 nail-biting win, their 10th straight regular-season victory over the Dodgers, four of which have come this year.
"When those kind of things happen and it seems like the ball is not really bouncing your way and you still come out with a win, it's just a testament to the way this team plays and the way we fight," said D-backs reliever Archie Bradley, who gave up that two-run grounder. "And at the end of the day, the ball bounced our way one more time."
The D-backs are now 10-3, the franchise's best 13-game start to a season, and they lead the Dodgers in the National League West by 5 1/2 games.
And while it's way too early to be focused on the standings, the D-backs know the Dodgers have won the division five years running and swept the D-backs in the NL Division Series last year before falling one game shy of a World Series victory.
In short, the D-backs know that the division runs through Dodger Stadium.
"I guess we've beaten them four in a row this year," said D-backs infielder Daniel Descalso, who had a homer and four RBIs in his first start as the cleanup hitter. "I think that's what matters so far, not that it even matters a whole lot. But last year is last year. We're happy to be off to a hot start, and anytime you can beat teams in your own division, that's an added bonus."
The D-backs seemed on their way to an comfortable victory when they scored a pair of runs in the seventh to push their lead to 7-2.
That's when the ball stopped bouncing their way.
The Dodgers scored three runs in the seventh, one on an infield single and two on grounders that found their way through the infield.
A solo homer by Nick Ahmed in the eighth gave the D-backs an 8-5 lead, but in the bottom of the frame with Bradley on the mound, the Dodgers scored a pair on the ball that hit the bag.
After the play, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt told Bradley that it was OK, they were still ahead, just focus on getting the next couple outs.
Bradley did just that, getting Chris Taylor to ground into an inning-ending double play. Closer Brad Boxberger pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many tries.
"We were up, 7-2, and all of a sudden they worked their way back in it," Descalso said. "Our guys got ground balls, but they found holes and it created a couple of scoring changes there and they capitalized. But we stopped the bleeding and Arch got out of it and Box nailed down the save. So, we'll take a win any way we can get it."
Friday's win clearly came the hard way.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cleaning up: D-backs manager Torey Lovullo usually tells his players ahead of time where they will be playing and what spot in the order they'll be in. But Lovullo decided instead to surprise Descalso on Friday with the news that he'd be hitting in the cleanup spot for the first time.
Descalso delivered with four RBIs, including a two-run homer off lefty Tony Cingrani.
"He was probably worried that I would totally change what I'm trying to do up there," Descalso said jokingly of Lovullo. "It doesn't matter to me where I'm hitting in the lineup, I'm going to try to do the same thing."
Zack's back: The D-backs had a scare in the first inning when Zack Greinke bent over and signaled for the D-backs trainer after throwing a pitch to Corey Seager, the second batter. It turned out that Greinke experienced mid-back spasms. He was able to stay in the game and wound up with the win after allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings.
"It didn't feel real good," Greinke said of his back. "My pitches still were OK. It might have been the first and second innings, I was missing with my fastball over the plate a little too much. But from then on out, the location was fine, the stuff was pretty good. It ended up not really being too big of a problem."
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With runners at first and second and no one out in the third, Ketel Marte hit a tapper back to Maeda. He turned to throw to shortstop Corey Seager to start a double play, but his throw was to the right of second base. Seager tried keep his foot on the bag while catching the ball so he could at least get one out, and it was initially ruled that he did. The D-backs issued a manager's challenge, however, and the call was overturned, loading the bases and setting up a four-run inning.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The 10 straight wins against the Dodgers are tied for second in franchise history for consecutive wins over an opponent. The D-backs also won 10 straight against the Phillies from 1999-2000. The franchise record is 16, over the Reds from 2001-03.
The D-backs will turn to Taijuan Walker at 6:10 p.m. MST on Saturday in the second game of their three-game series at Dodger Stadium, opposing Dodgers lefty Rich Hill. The last time Walker pitched at Dodger Stadium, the right-hander allowed four runs and lasted just one inning in Game 1 of the 2017 National League Division Series. Walker also faced Los Angeles in his first start this season, giving up three runs over five innings at Chase Field on April 2.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.