PHOENIX -- This one had to hurt the Dodgers.They had their ace, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound facing a D-backs pitcher who began the year in the Minors and yet somehow, some way the Arizona found a way to once again beat the Dodgers, this time by a 4-3 margin
PHOENIX -- This one had to hurt the Dodgers.
They had their ace, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound facing a D-backs pitcher who began the year in the Minors and yet somehow, some way the Arizona found a way to once again beat the Dodgers, this time by a 4-3 margin Tuesday night at Chase Field.
The win increased the first-place D-backs' lead to nine games over Los Angeles, which came into the season as the pick of most experts to win its sixth straight division title. On Wednesday, the D-backs will have a shot to win their 10th straight series to open the season.
Yes, it's still early, but the D-backs, who are 21-8 after 29 games for the first time in club history, are starting to get that feeling like something special is happening because every night, they seem to have a different hero.
"I think what's surprising for me is that on a given night it's been one or the other that's been picking us up," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "Whether it's the pitching or the hitting, or maybe at times a combination of both. A player here, a pitcher there, it's never been one cast member.
"We're doing it now without a couple of really key pieces to this puzzle because of some injuries. We've lost a couple of pitchers to injuries and everybody keeps stepping up."
Tuesday, it was Daniel Descalso, who has done yeoman's work stepping in for the injured Jake Lamb at third and also playing left in this game in place of David Peralta, who was sitting out after being hit by a pitch the night before.
It was Descalso who delivered the key blow in the game when his two-run triple to right in the seventh gave the D-backs a 4-3 lead.
"Just trying to get a good pitch to hit and not miss it, really," Descalso said. "Not trying to do anything other than that in that spot. Just going up there and sticking to my plan, which is get a pitch to hit and drive it somewhere."
Of late, the biggest contributor has been A.J. Pollock. The outfielder homered three times Monday and he added another Tuesday in the second inning off Kershaw.
Pollock was willing to say the win was "great," but he was not about to wade into what a nine-game lead on the Dodgers means at this point in the season.
"When they have their ace out there and you can find a way to squeak out a win, that's definitely an uplifting game," Pollock said. "But tomorrow, we've got to get back at it. Today doesn't mean anything tomorrow."
It's a mindset the front office holds as well, as evidenced by general manager Mike Hazen's response before the game when he was asked to reflect on his team's start.
"It's been a good start," Hazen said. "That's my reflection."
Said Lovullo, "It's a nice start, but we've got a long way to go."
So do the Dodgers now if they want to catch the D-backs.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
He struck him out: Called up to replace the injured Robbie Ray, reliever Silvino Bracho started the seventh by retiring the first two hitters before walking Joc Pederson and Yasmani Grandal. That brought Cody Bellinger to the plate with a chance to blow the game open for the Dodgers. Instead, Bracho struck him out swinging on three straight changeups to end the inning.
The D-backs have won 13 of their last 15 games vs. lefty starters since Sept. 26, 2017.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Christian Walker's pinch-hit homer in the fifth not only interrupted someone's dinner at Friday's Front Row Grill, but it also traveled a projected 479 feet, according to Statcast™. That's the longest homer hit off Kershaw since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015. The homer, which left the bat at 114.4 mph, is tied for the third-longest homer in the Majors this year.
"Off a guy like Kershaw, just trying to keep it simple," Walker said. "Obviously if he's pitching the way he wants to, it's going to be tough to handle. I'm not saying I'm going to wait him out, but he's thrown a few pitches at that point and you're just waiting for a mistake and luckily, I executed."
Did he hear how far it was projected to travel?
"I heard 479," he said. "That's a good number."
HE SAID IT
"It was just one of those special days where everybody had a little bit of a piece in it and we won the ballgame." -- Lovullo
The D-backs take on the Dodgers in the third game of the four-game set at 6:40 p.m. MST on Wednesday night with Zack Godley getting the start. Godley is looking to improve upon his last outing against the Dodgers when he allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits while walking six in four innings at Dodger Stadium on April 15. He'll face Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.