On a night where the San Francisco Giants were fighting (literally) to stay on top in the National League West, the Diamondbacks had a prime opportunity to take sole possession of the top spot in the division for the first time in 2011.
Unfortunately, the D-backs' offense had trouble driving home their baserunners, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated Arizona 7-4 on Friday night in Phoenix.
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Josh Collmenter struggled from the onset. Collmenter loaded the bases in the first inning and was bailed out by some highlight reel-worthy catches from Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra.
Collmenter had no such luck in the top of the third, giving up six hits before getting lifted in favor of Micah Owings. By the end of the third inning, the Dodgers had scored six runs and the D-backs looked listless.
Arizona threatened to make the game very competitive in the bottom of the seventh inning. Down 6-1, the D-backs got the bases loaded with no outs before Cody Ransom struck out and Justin Upton was robbed by Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon on a low line drive that resulted in a double play.
In the eighth, down 7-3, Chris Young kicked into high gear, going from first to third on what looked like an errant steal attempt. Miguel Montero drove in Young with a sacrifice fly to center, bringing the D-backs within three runs.
Mattingly brought in rookie closer Javy Guerra, who shut the door on the D-backs and earned his tenth save of the season.
The Diamondbacks collected nine hits on the night, but just couldn't overcome Collmenter's rough start.
With the loss, the Diamondbacks (61-51) still sit a half game behind the Giants in the NL West standings -- the Giants lost to the Phillies.
The Dodgers send rookie Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Saturday to face Joe Saunders. Eovaldi is only 21 years old and was called up from Double-A Chattanooga to replace recently injured Rubby De La Rosa.
Notes and Observations
-This one was a head scratcher: with the bases loaded and zero outs, the Diamondbacks were down by three runs. With Kelly Johnson next in the order, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly went with lefthander Scott Elbert out of the pen.
Instead of sticking with Johnson, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson went with the matchup and pinch-hit Cody Ransom, a journeyman infielder that bats righthanded.
Ransom pushed the count but ended up looking foolish, striking out on a ball up and outside to give the Dodgers their first out of the inning.
Should Gibson have gone with Xavier Nady? Stuck with the erstwhile Johnson?
-Excessive pitching changes are really boring - and they suck the life out of the fans. That's probably what Don Mattingly was hoping for...
- There were a lot of foul balls that nearly entered the press box tonight. They look like huge white bullets coming in from the field.
- The crowd was pretty good tonight but there were a lot of Dodgers fans on hand. That's to be expected, but when will the D-backs fans show up in droves? We all know they are watching on TV.
- This game felt like it went on forever; in reality, it was 3:31 long.
- Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley rebounded from his last start against the D-backs, going six innings and only giving up three runs to earn his tenth win of the year.