PHOENIX -- The Dodgers started the D-backs' September downfall with a trio of late-inning wins at Dodger Stadium, and Arizona flipped the script on Tuesday night, getting to the Dodgers' bullpen for a 4-3 walk-off victory that has them clinging to the National League West lead by the slimmest of
PHOENIX -- The Dodgers started the D-backs' September downfall with a trio of late-inning wins at Dodger Stadium, and Arizona flipped the script on Tuesday night, getting to the Dodgers' bullpen for a 4-3 walk-off victory that has them clinging to the National League West lead by the slimmest of margins.
With Colorado winning again, Los Angeles' advantage is down to a half-game. The Dodgers' magic number for clinching a sixth consecutive NL West title remains at five with four games to play -- one in Arizona and three in San Francisco.
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Eduardo Escobar led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off homer on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Kenta Maeda, who was unavailable to the media afterward to discuss whether he was still shaken from the night before, when his 94-mph fastball broke a bone in the face of Christian Walker.
"I think it was getting behind and not executing the fastball," said manager Dave Roberts.
Maeda is being counted on for high-leverage innings, as he was last September and right into the World Series. The walk-off home run he allowed was only one of three disappointing relief appearances by a bullpen that couldn't protect a one-run lead.
In addition to Maeda, Dylan Floro didn't retire any of the four batters he faced while allowing a run, and Zachary Rosscup walked the only one he was asked to retire. By contrast, Scott Alexander, Alex Wood and Pedro Baez were effective as the 'pen had to cover nine outs following another effective outing by rookie Walker Buehler, who took a two-hit shutout into his sixth and final inning before David Peralta's two-out, two-run double put the D-backs on the board.
Roberts hung the loss on his club's offense, which went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left runners at second or third base each of the last three innings.
"It was the situational hitting," said Roberts. "We had three opportunities, and not getting the guys to third base was the difference in the game."
There were offensive highlights. Yasmani Grandal went 3-for-3 with a triple. Cody Bellinger homered. Enrique Hernandez went 2-for-4, tying the game at 2 with an RBI single in the seventh inning and creating another tying run in the ninth with a single and stolen base, taking third on catcher Chris Stewart's throwing error before scoring on pinch-hitter Chris Taylor's double.
"They're not in the playoffs this year, but you can't discredit that team," Hernandez said of the D-backs. "They have a lot of good players in that lineup. Really good bullpen. Our bullpen has been really good the last few weeks. We're human, we're baseball players, it happens. Just a tough night for them."
The Dodgers were hoping that sweeping the Rockies last week had dealt the kind of death blow they handed the D-backs a few weeks ago by winning the last three games of the four-game series at Dodger Stadium. But Colorado hasn't lost since leaving L.A. with a 2 1/2-game deficit last Wednesday.
"We're not only trying to win a division, but right now we match up against Atlanta and we'd like to start the series at home, so we want to win every game we can, not only to win the division but to start the series with the home-field advantage," Roberts said. "We know the Rockies have a great team, they're hot. They're not going to go without a fight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Dodgers felt they should have scored in the third and eighth innings. In the third, with two on and no outs, Player Page for Max Muncy struck out and Manny Machado grounded into a double play. In the eighth, Machado led off with a double off rookie reliever Yoan Lopez, but Bellinger flied out and Yasiel Puig and pinch-hitter Alex Verdugo struck out. Lopez celebrated that last pitch so exuberantly that Machado stared him down between innings.
"It was a situation where I was excited," Lopez said. "I respect Machado. I respect what he's all about. He was excited. I was excited. Just like he raised his arm when he hit the double, I raised mine when I had the strikeout. Again, I respect him a lot."
With Bellinger's 24th long ball, the Dodgers passed the 2000 Giants for sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list for home runs in a single season (227).
HE SAID IT
"You don't expect them to [go away]. In a perfect world, maybe, but you can't expect those guys to lay down. They're a good ballclub and they're winning games they have to win. Their backs are against the wall. We have to more concern ourselves with how we play and beating the Diamondbacks tomorrow." -- Roberts, on Colorado not folding after being swept by the Dodgers last week
In Wednesday night's 6:40 p.m. PT series finale, Thomas Stripling will square off with former Dodger Zack Greinke. Stripling had a breakthrough first half that was rewarded with an All-Star nod, but he's only lasted 3 1/3 innings in each of his three starts since returning from the disabled list and lower back pain.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.