Arizona Diamondbacks' Gerardo Parra, right, celebrates after scoring… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
It seemed like the Dodgers had a nice formula for success: start Clayton Kershaw, scrape together a few runs, catch the ball and hang on.
It worked well enough Monday night, until it got to the hanging on part. Closer Brandon League blew a two-run lead in the ninth as the Diamondbacks rallied to edge the Dodgers, 5-4, before an announced crowd of 38,275 at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw did his part to get the would-be formula off to a good start. He wasn’t even at his dominating best, more like just really effective. He went seven innings, holding the Diamondbacks to one run on six hits and a pair of walks. He struck out five, which for him almost qualifies as an off night.
The Dodgers staked him to a 1-0 lead in the first inning against struggling Arizona left-hander Wade Miley (1-4, 7.94 ERA in last five starts) after Mark Ellis walked and Yasiel Puig singled with two outs. Jerry Hairston Jr. lined a basehit to center to score Ellis.
But the Diamondbacks evened it back up in the second on a Cody Ross double and Miguel Montero basehit.
The Dodgers regained the lead in the fourth, the same inning Puig got a taste of what it’s like to be the victim of Puig. He led off the inning with a single, but when he tried to advance to third on a Hairston hit to Gerardo Parra in medium right field, Parra fired on a line to third to throw out Puig.
The Dodgers, however, kept the pressure on. Andre Ethier singled off the glove of second baseman Willie Bloomquist and Juan Uribe dropped a broken-bat double into center to score Hairston.
Ellis put the Dodgers up 3-1 in the fifth with a solo home run. Ellis, who came with one hit in his last 20 at-bats, went 3 for 4 with a walk.
The Dodgers kept threatening to extend their lead, but never could cash in. Miley went six innings, surrendering the three runs on nine hits and two walks.
Puig, making his debut in the cleanup spot, had three singles in four at-bats to raise his batting average to an even .500 (16 for 32).
It was still a 3-1 Dodgers lead when it was turned over to League in the ninth. That's when the hanging on part went astray. Like, four runs in the ninth astray.
League's troubles started with one out when Martin Prado singled and Parra doubled him to third. Pinch-hitter Jason Kubel's infield single went off the glove of a diving Ellis at second scored one. After a walk to Didi Gregorius, Bloomquist singled off the glove of shortstop Nick Punto to drive in two.
That ended the night for League (2-3), but unfortunately for the Dodgers, not the Arizona scoring. Peter Moylan gave up a run-scoring single to Paul Goldschmidt, for what held as the game-winning run after Juan Uribe hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth.