Utley leads Dodgers past Arizona 4-1, snapping 4-game skid
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Zack Greinke’s sore calf prevented him from attempting to end the Los Angeles Dodgers’ four-game losing streak in the middle of a playoff race.
Although the Dodgers realized they couldn’t replace the major league ERA leader, their much-maligned bullpen and their Philadelphia connection came through splendidly.
Chase Utley hit a leadoff homer and added a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning, and the Dodgers snapped their skid with a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
Utley’s double to the wall in right field drove in Jimmy Rollins, whose clever bunt single leading off the eighth was Los Angeles’ first hit since Utley’s homer on Chase Anderson’s first pitch.
Clutch play is nothing new for the Phillies’ longtime double-play combo, but Utley and Rollins were thrilled to connect for their new team.
“I’ve seen Jimmy do that a few times over the years,” Utley said. “Being in a playoff race is a nice change of pace from the last few years. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be in this atmosphere.”
Chavez Ravine was rocking when Corey Seager added a two-run homer later in the eighth for the Dodgers (86-65). Thanks to their victory and San Francisco’s loss at San Diego, the Dodgers’ magic number for clinching a playoff berth and their third straight NL West title dropped to five.
Carlos Frias pitched four innings of one-hit ball in an emergency start for the Dodgers. Greinke has won five straight starts and 13 of 15 overall, yet Frias was outstanding in his second appearance after spending two months on the disabled list with a back injury.
The rest of the Dodgers’ bullpen also provided excellent work, yielding four hits and never allowing a runner to reach third after Paul Goldschmidt’s homer in the second.
“Those guys did a tremendous job,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “It felt like Carlos really set the tone, (and) everybody did a good job in there in the middle, and then the Philly boys got some big hits.”
Chris Hatcher (3-5) finished the eighth for Los Angeles, and Kenley Jansen closed it out for his 33rd save.
Goldschmidt homered in his fourth straight game at Dodger Stadium for the Diamondbacks, who easily won the first two games of this series.
Anderson struck out a career-high 10 during six dominant innings, but Rollins and Utley finally broke through against David Hernandez (1-5).
Anderson mowed down the Dodgers after the first pitch, striking out five straight batters at one point.
“I thought (Anderson) threw as well as we’ve seen him, as well as probably early in the year when he was dominating,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “It was really good to see, especially after not being out there in competition for a while.”
Utley put Anderson’s first pitch of the game into the bleachers in right. The veteran infielder had never hit a leadoff homer in the first 1,575 games of his 13-year career. Anderson was just as shocked as the Dodgers’ fans: “I knew that he was probably the lowest in Major League Baseball on first-swing percentage on pitches. After that, I just kept going and tried to make the outing as strong as I could.”
Utley was the fourth player to hit a leadoff homer for the Dodgers in September, setting a major league record for a calendar month.
ANOTHER BIG BLAST
Goldschmidt answered Utley with his 31st homer on Frias’ first pitch of the second inning. He joined Chad Tracy as the only Arizona players to homer in four straight games in Los Angeles.
Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed is expected to miss at least two games with a sore lower back.
Dodgers: Greinke is expected to take his next turn in the rotation early next week. He said the calf injury isn’t serious.
Diamondbacks: Patrick Corbin (6-4, 2.99 ERA) has a 1.44 ERA in his last five starts.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (14-7, 2.18 ERA) is coming off his first loss since June 27, but still leads the majors with 272 strikeouts.