LOS ANGELES -- The bottom of the batting order finally cracked the code on Arizona starter Robbie Ray and the Dodgers took a commanding two games to none lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile on Saturday night, hanging on for an 8-5 win over the
LOS ANGELES -- The bottom of the batting order finally cracked the code on Arizona starter Robbie Ray and the Dodgers took a commanding two games to none lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile on Saturday night, hanging on for an 8-5 win over the D-backs at Dodger Stadium.
The series moves to Arizona for Game 3 tonight, when a win would give the Dodgers a sweep. In the current best-of-five format, teams up 2-0 have gone 36-4 in the postseason and those up 2-0 at home are 22-2.
:: NLDS schedule and coverage ::
Having lost all three regular-season decisions to Ray, the Dodgers caught him this time on two days' rest -- he pitched in relief Wednesday night in Arizona's Wild Card win -- and, on this night, he was wild.
"I don't know if I want to share that," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of his offense's approach to Ray, which appeared to be to lay off high fastballs, low breaking balls and force him to throw strikes.
• Dodgers finally get to Ray
"He's a heck of a pitcher. And it's always a tall task trying to battle him and get baserunners. But I think today he just wasn't that sharp. The fastball command wasn't like it has been against us, and I think that he couldn't strike the breaking ball. But to our guys' credit, we got the pitch count up and took advantage of that."
Ray didn't give up a hit until the fourth inning, but he issued three walks, three wild pitches and hit a batter -- becoming the second pitcher in postseason history to issue at least three walks, hit a batter and have three wild pitches in a game. He squandered a lead provided by Paul Goldschmidt's first-inning two-run homer off Rich Hill, and was removed after 4 1/3 innings.
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"I felt great," Ray said. "It's not like they were roping the ball all around the field on me. It was all self-inflicted. Just trying to do too much in situations where I didn't need to."
• Puig's bat flip and dance
The bottom of the Dodgers' batting order carried the load, with Austin Barnes' two-run double on an 0-2 pitch from Jimmie Sherfy in a four-run fifth inning the big blow and Yasiel Puig driving in two runs for the second consecutive game with three hits. John Forsythe had three hits and scored twice.
• Dodgers' 6-7-8 hitters come up big
"That's what we talk about as far as the length of the lineup," said Roberts. "We've got a lot of good players, and a lot of good depth. There are so many guys in our lineup that can hurt you. I don't know how many times they were on base, but that 6, 7, 8 spot, these guys were on base all night, being productive, driving runs in."
"It's going to be fun," Forsythe said of Game 3. "It's going to be about as loud as it is here, and it might be even louder with the dome [Chase Field]. But it's a great atmosphere there and I like our momentum going in."
• Missteps have D-backs on brink
D-backs pinch-hitter Brandon Drury slugged a three-run home run off Brandon Morrow's first pitch in the seventh inning, the first homer Morrow has allowed this year. Kenley Jansen, who had 12 saves of at least four outs this year, picked up a five-out save.
• Drury, D-backs won't roll over
"I'm ready for everything," said Jansen. "It's playoffs now. To me, the save situation I throw out the window. I just want to finish the game."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Maeda reliever: Kenta Maeda won 11 games as a starter this year, but the Dodgers sent him to the bullpen for this series and he's embraced the new role. He entered the game with one out in the fifth inning, the Dodgers leading 3-2, and struck out two of the three batters he faced in the middle of the order, including Goldschmidt. He was awarded the win by the official scorer.
"He's a righty killer, and he's really dominated right-handed hitters," said Roberts, explaining why Maeda pitched to only three batters. "So lefties, hasn't been as successful, and, again, he's on the roster to do that, and there was a run of righties, and he did what he needed to do." More >>
Austin City Limits: Barnes' two-run double broke the game open in the fifth, but he was in the middle of three Dodgers rallies. He walked before Puig's two-out RBI grounder in the second, singled and scored in the fourth and after doubling stole third and scored on Puig's single in the fifth.
"You've got to listen to your manager when he tells you not to swing. Don't want to be grounded." -- Jansen, a former catcher, on taking three called strikes in an eighth-inning at-bat
"There's a lot of fight left in this team. There's a lot of fight left in this clubhouse and we're going to compete." -- Ray
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The D-backs are 6-0 in franchise history in win-or-go-home games. Arizona has out-homered the Dodgers in the series, 6-1.
OUT OF ORDER
Several innings after being removed from the game, Hill was in the dugout holding up a sign imploring fans to "Make Some Noise," until bench coach and parliamentarian Bob Geren notified Hill that he was breaking an MLB rule.
"It was a little subdued atmosphere and I just wanted to get them into it a little bit," Hill said. "Found out it's not quite allowed in the dugout. It was all in fun." More >>
D-backs:Zack Greinke will look to redeem himself after struggling in the NL Wild Card Game against the Rockies when he takes the mound to start Game 3 tonight against the Dodgers at Chase Field. Greinke allowed four runs in just 3 2/3 innings in the Wild Card Game after being handed a 6-0 lead in the first three innings.
Dodgers:Yu Darvish was acquired for a start like Game 3 tonight, where a Dodgers win would mean they advance to the NL Championship Series. In his only start against Arizona this year, Darvish allowed two runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts in five innings of an 8-6 win at Chase Field on Aug. 10. In two postseason starts for Texas, he was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.