PHOENIX -- When the bullpen is beleaguered, the last thing you want is a bullpen game.But faced with the emergency of Hyun-Jin Ryu's second-inning exit due to a left groin strain, Dodgers relievers carried the load in a 2-1 win over the D-backs at Chase Field on Wednesday night. Entering
PHOENIX -- When the bullpen is beleaguered, the last thing you want is a bullpen game.
But faced with the emergency of Hyun-Jin Ryu's second-inning exit due to a left groin strain, Dodgers relievers carried the load in a 2-1 win over the D-backs at Chase Field on Wednesday night. Entering the game, Dodgers relievers had allowed 22 earned runs in their previous 23 1/3 innings. But the 'pen combined for 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball in the victory.
"They got the MVP for the night, they really did," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "They've taken a lot of criticism, and they haven't performed. But tonight, we had no margin for error against a very good team playing well, each one of those guys stepped up."
Pedro Baez was first up with 2 2/3 scoreless innings and four strikeouts. Former D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson was next with two perfect innings and three strikeouts, earning the win. Tony Cingrani pitched around a double in the seventh with two strikeouts. Josh Fields was bailed out of a first-and-third jam with a double play started by shortstop Enrique Hernandez's backhand grab of a hard-hit grounder by A.J. Pollock.
"Up to this point," Roberts said, "it's the play of the year. I count on him a lot, and that backhand play was unbelievable. Josh was beginning to get stressed, and for [Hernandez] to bail him out for two outs on one pitch, he's a special player."
Kenley Jansen held on for his fourth save, despite allowing a two-out walk to Daniel Descalso and an RBI single to John Ryan Murphy.
"All these guys have been extended and taxed, and they all rose to the occasion," Roberts said. "I'm proud of them. The biggest win is the 'pen and how they performed, for their confidence."
Rookie Alex Verdugo, starting in left field and batting second, doubled twice and scored both runs.
"He's a gritty little player," Roberts said. "He does a lot of things to help you win ball games. I like his at-bats. For a young player, he's really unfazed."
After doubling in the first, Verdugo was singled home by Cody Bellinger. And after his eighth-inning double, Verdugo hustled to third base on a T.J. McFarland wild pitch to be in position to score on a Yasmani Grandal sacrifice fly.
"I was looking for any way to get to third for Grandal," Verdugo said. "[Roberts] put me at the top of the lineup. My goal is to get on so the heart of the lineup can drive me in. We pitched well, played well as a team and everything was cleaned up."
The victory ended a tailspin in which the Dodgers had lost their last four games and seven of their previous eight, as well as eight straight at Chase Field and seven of eight against the D-backs this year.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Hernandez turns key double play: Hernandez -- filling in at shortstop for Chris Taylor, who has been filling in at shortstop for Corey Seager -- might have saved the game for the Dodgers with his backhanded stop of Pollock's one-hop smash to start the double play that bailed Fields out of the eighth. The ball came off the bat at 99.7 mph, according to Statcast™.
"Obviously, it was the biggest at-bat of the game, 2-0 and tying run on first, got to do anything possible to keep the runner at first from advancing to third," Hernandez said. "Hit it good, I was able to stay down and make the play, give [second baseman Austin Barnes] a good feed, and he made a great turn. Pollock is pretty fast, but we were able to get it."
Baez threw a career-high 42 pitches and matched his career high of 2 2/3 innings.
HE SAID IT
"Just from the talk of the training staff, we're hoping for the best, but it's a pretty [bad] one. It doesn't look too, too promising. It's a big loss." -- Roberts, on Ryu's left groin strain
In the 12:40 p.m. PT finale of the four-game series, live exclusively on Facebook, left-hander Alex Wood starts for the Dodgers against the D-backs and fellow southpaw Patrick Corbin. Wood, an All-Star last year, is winless this season in six starts, despite a 0.89 WHIP, 30 strikeouts and only three walks.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.