Arizona's Justin Upton hits a run-scoring triple off the Dodgers'… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)
They limped into the All-Star break, arms and bats dragging behind them. The second half beckoned like an oasis, the last three weeks for the Dodgers barren as the Sahara.
The lifeless-looking Dodgers wrapped up the first half Sunday by getting whipped 7-1 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Then they packed their bags, headed home and gazed longingly upon the four-day All-Star break.
With the Giants also losing Sunday, the Dodgers still enter the break as leaders of the National League West, if desperately hanging onto to a slim half-game lead.
But the Dodgers have lost three consecutive games, and won only five of their last 20.
The three consecutive losses to Arizona also managed to give needed life to the Diamondbacks, who enter the break only four games back of the Dodgers.
The Dodgers' two best hitters, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, are due back after the break, and the team played Sunday as if they had had their fill of playing without them, their minds already fixated on the return.
They made rookie right-hander Trevor Bauer look like the next coming of Justin Verlander. Bauer, the rookie from UCLA, had been lit up in his first two major-league starts and carried a 9.82 earned-run average into Sunday’s game.
But against the makeshift Dodgers, Bauer was fairly dominant in earning his first career victory. He threw six scoreless innings, holding the Dodgers to two hits and one walk while striking out six. He retired the last 12 Dodgers he faced.
Chris Capuano, bidding to become the first Dodger to win 10 games going into the break since Brad Penny in 2007, never looked particularly sharp Sunday.
He went only five innings, a sporadic Capuano problem, giving up five runs and nine hits. Capuano (9-4) walked one and struck out four.
The Diamondbacks scored twice in the first inning on a Justin Upton triple and Paul Goldschmidt double, then added three more in the fifth inning on a Goldschmidt three-run homer.
Even Ronald Belisario, who hadn't given up a run in his last eight outings, was not immune to staggering into the first-half finish. Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero drove in two with a bases-loaded single in the seventh inning off of Belisario.
The Dodgers avoided being shut out for the sixth time in 13 games when they loaded the bases in the ninth inning and struggling Juan Uribe’s fly to right brought in their lone run.