With news that the Rockies had won on Monday night, the Dodgers knew it was up to them to maintain their 1.5 game lead in the NL West. Clayton Kershaw did his part, allowing three runs over six innings for his 15th straight quality start.
David Freese contributed to the offense with two RBI, including a solo home run, but Manny Machado will be remembered in this game for his two late-inning RBI that gave the Dodgers their 7-4 win over the D-backs.
The Dodgers and D-backs traded runs in the first inning when Freese hit an RBI single and Ketel Marte countered with an RBI triple. The Dodgers had a runner on third base with one out when Freese poked the ball into right-center field for an easy base hit.
Marte continued his great game against Kershaw in the third inning. Marte took advantage of Kershaw’s declining velocity when he crushed a 91mph fastball into the seats in left-center field. This home run gave the D-backs a 2-1 lead.
Of course, Freese had no intention of being out-done by a 24-year-old Diamondback, so he countered in the fifth. D-backs’ pitcher, Robbie Ray, threw a fastball over the heart of the plate. Freese smashed the ball into a massive group of Dodger fans in the right-field seats for a game-tying home run.
Marte, however, ended up with a slightly more impressive stat line as he drove in another run in the bottom of the fifth. He hit a soft line drive that stayed just out of Machado’s reach as it landed in center field. Dodger fans could only look on as the D-backs took a 3-2 lead on another RBI single by Marte.
The Dodgers, however, gained the upper hand in the later stages of the game. With the expanded September rosters, they have 40 men on their active roster, as opposed to 36 for the snakes. Because of this, the Dodgers were able to take control of matchups in a way the D-backs couldn’t.
This was the key in the Dodgers taking the lead in the seventh inning. Yasmani Grandal led off with a walk, but the Dodgers decided to have Tim Locastro pinch-run for him. Locastro moved to second base on a single, putting him in scoring position. This allowed Max Muncy to drive him in with a game-tying single to left field. If Grandal had been running, the bases would have been loaded and the Dodgers would still be trailing.
The Dodgers then took the lead three batters later, when Machado drove in his first run of the game. The Dodgers had the bases loaded with one out when Machado grounded out. Because of where the ball was hit, the D-backs had no chance at a double-play. This allowed Yasiel Puig to score the go-ahead run.
The Dodgers added three insurance runs in the ninth inning. Machado drove in one and the D-backs gave the Dodgers the other two. Yoshihisa Hirano threw two wild pitches that book-ended Machado’s RBI double. When the dust settled in Arizona, the Dodgers led 7-3. The D-backs tried to rally back in the ninth inning, but they only managed one run as the game ended with a 7-4 score.
The Dodgers will continue to fight for their 6th straight division title in game two of the three-game series. Walker Buehler will take the mound for the Dodgers against Matt Koch. In his last start, Buehler struck out a career-high 12 Rockies over six innings. Koch has a 4.26 ERA in 18 games this year. The game will begin at 6:40pm.