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Marte nearly cycles vs. Kershaw in defeat

September 25, 2018

PHOENIX -- Ketel Marte finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle and drove in three runs, but it was not enough as the D-backs fell, 7-4, to the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw on Monday night at Chase Field.The loss was the eighth in the last nine games for

PHOENIX -- Ketel Marte finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle and drove in three runs, but it was not enough as the D-backs fell, 7-4, to the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw on Monday night at Chase Field.
The loss was the eighth in the last nine games for the sliding D-backs, who fell to 5-17 in September.
The D-backs held leads of 2-1 and 3-2 behind five solid innings from Robbie Ray before the Dodgers' bats got going with two runs in the seventh off Andrew Chafin and three in the ninth off Yoshihisa Hirano.

"We got to a certain point where things were going pretty good, but we just couldn't close the deal," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's like their engine gets started, and as soon as it gets started they have a lot of resources, they turn their lineup over a couple of times, got good matchups with good players ready to perform. They're chasing something, so they're an energized team."
The Dodgers lead the National League West by 1 1/2 games over the Rockies with five games to play.
Marte was 3-for-4 overall, but went 3-for-3 off Kershaw with an RBI single, an RBI triple and a solo home run. That was the entire offense until A.J. Pollock led off the ninth with a homer off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

Marte drove home Eduardo Escobar with a game-tying triple in the first inning and hit a tiebreaking homer in the third. After the Dodgers knotted the game at 2, Marte's single to center in the fifth scored Chris Owings to put the D-backs back on top.
"I just came in today and worked with [hitting coach Dave Magadan] on my right side," the switch-hitter said. "I was trying to have a good approach against Kershaw. I was just trying to hit the ball hard, see the ball, get my pitch and hit the ball in the gap."

Entering the game, Marte was 1-for-13 career against Kershaw in regular-season games, but he went 1-for-3 with a home run off the lefty in last year's NL Division Series. After that game, Marte took exception to Kershaw staring him down as he rounded the bases.
"He looked at me," Marte told USA Today Sports at the time. "But I know what I've got, and I don't care how he looks at me. If I face him again, I'm going to try to hit it out again."
This time around, Marte was more reserved in his comments.
"Every time when I faced him, he would strike me out," he said of his struggles against Kershaw before last year's NLDS. "I didn't think last year I was that good from the right side. Last year, I said, 'I'm going to face you next year, too.' I feel good. I'm trying to do my best out there."

SCARY MOMENT
With two outs in the eighth inning, D-backs first baseman Christian Walker was hit in the face by a 94-mph Kenta Maeda fastball. The ball hit the face guard of Walker's helmet and then his face.
"When I got out there, there was some blood from the nose," Lovullo said. "He was coherent. Everything was OK from what I could tell, but there's a lot of different bone and tissue in there, so we just want to make sure."
Steven Souza Jr. was called on to pinch-run, and the D-backs sent Walker to the hospital for a CT scan. The club is expected to reveal the results on Tuesday.
SOUND SMART
Hirano made his 74th appearance of the season, a record for a Japanese rookie reliever. Akinori Otsuka had the previous mark of 73, set with the Padres in 2004.

HE SAID IT
"Ketel had a very special day, three hits, three RBIs, a very loud aggressive home run. It's the types of swings you want to see your guys take. He was ready to play baseball today and did a very good job. Put us on his shoulder and carried us for a while." -- Lovullo
UP NEXT
The D-backs continue their series with the Dodgers on Tuesday night with right-hander Matt Koch (5-5, 4.26 ERA) on the mound. Koch is taking the place of Clay Buchholz, who is out for the rest of the season with a strained flexor tendon. Koch's last appearance came in relief when he tossed four shutout innings against the Cubs. The Dodgers will counter with Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.74). Fans can watch the 6:40 p.m. MST matchup free on MLB.TV.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.