Kershaw fans 9 as LA moves closer to clinch
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Heisey hit a grand slam to punctuate a six-run fifth inning for the Dodgers in a 6-3 win over the D-backs on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. The victory, plus the Giants' walk-off loss to the Padres, lowered the Dodgers' magic number to three in the National League West while also helping them maintain their lead for home-field advantage in a potential NL Division Series with the Mets to 1 1/2 games.
Despite the shortest outing of the season for Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers rallied from a 3-0 deficit to earn a split in the four-game series. Kershaw (15-7) was pulled after only five innings as he allowed three runs on six hits while striking out nine on 80 pitches. It was Kershaw's shortest outing since Sept. 19, 2014 -- when he also pitched five innings -- and it marked his fewest pitches in a start since June 8, 2014. After being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth, Kershaw had an animated discussion with manager Don Mattingly, but the Dodgers went on to erupt in the frame.
"My curveball was terrible. I need to go back to the drawing board on that. Just a lot of two-strike hits, you can't have that happen," Kershaw said. "They hit a couple balls hard, a couple balls fell in but they had a great game plan and they swung the bats well against me."
Arizona starter Patrick Corbin (6-5) was cruising until the fifth inning. After getting Austin Barnes to fly out, Corbin allowed a single and walked two batters before allowing a two-run single to Howie Kendrick, which ran him from the game. Corbin was charged with four runs on five hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
"The walks are not good. Didn't make the pitches we needed to," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "The home run right down the line just was a killer."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walk this way: The Dodgers had only two hits in the fifth before Heisey's grand slam, but three walks kept the inning going -- all three would eventually come around to score. With reliever Andrew Chafin looking to pound the strike zone, he left a slider over the plate that Heisey sent into the left-field stands for his second career grand slam. More >
Stay Gold: Paul Goldschmidt kept rolling against the Dodgers. After homering in each of the first three games, the D-backs' All-Star first baseman notched a pair of hits against Kershaw. He singled leading off the second, eventually coming around to score the game's first run, then drove in a run of his own with a base hit to left in the third. Goldschmidt batted cleanup in all four games -- the first times he had done so all year -- and finished the series 7-for-16 with the three long balls.
"You're just trying to have good at-bats. There's no really plan to beat him," Goldschmidt said of facing Kershaw. "I've been playing well the last few games. Hopefully it'll continue and end the season like that." More >
Nicasio comes up big: Immediately following the Dodgers' rally in the fifth, the D-backs put runners in scoring position in the top of the sixth after a Brandon Drury double and a walk from Chris Owings, who were both moved over with a wild pitch from reliever Juan Nicasio. The right-hander would rebound, however, to strike out Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a 98-mph fastball and end the inning.
Drury gets Kershaw: Arizona rookie third baseman Drury, the club's No. 7 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a homer and a double. He took Kershaw deep, lining a hanging 1-2 curveball over the left-field fence in the fourth inning. Entering the series against the Dodgers, Drury -- who was called up at the beginning of September -- was hitting .208 in his first 11 Major League games. He ended the four-game set with his batting average almost 100 points higher, at .300, after three multihit efforts.
"Obviously, I play him almost every day, so we are impressed with what we're seeing," Hale said. "He's doing a good job. We want him to finish strong so we have to continue giving him a good game plan against these guys, which our hitting coaches do a wonderful job with."
"You can't ever argue with the competitive spirit the guy has, and you want to play behind and play with a guy who cares that much to be in the game and to get the win."
-- Heisey, on Kershaw
"That's the guy I wanted in the game -- Chafe -- he's the one we really trust a lot. We have to find out what made him so good before we gave him some rest, and we need to have him end the year that way. Because it's really important for him, and for us, that we see the guy that we need him to be next year."
-- Hale on Chafin, who surrendered the grand slam to Heisey
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Kershaw's outing snapped a Major League record for consecutive quality starts at home at 31. His last non-quality start at home was Aug. 27, 2013, against the Cubs, when he lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs (one earned).
D-backs: Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa starts the series opener against the Padres at Petco Park on Friday at 7:10 p.m. MST. After posting an 8.50 ERA in his previous four starts, De La Rosa beat the Giants with 5 2/3 innings of scoreless one-hit baseball his last time out.
Dodgers: The Dodgers embark on their final road trip of the season, starting with a three-game series in Colorado on Friday at 5:10 PT. Mike Bolsinger, who will take the ball, has been ineffective in three starts since being called up from Triple-A; he owns a 6.23 ERA in that span and has made it through five innings in of just one of those outings.
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