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Diamondbacks keep Dodgers' party on hold with 9-4 win

September 18, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers shortstop Nick Punto avoids the slide of Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill as he completes a double play in the fourth inning Wednesday night in Phoenix.
Dodgers shortstop Nick Punto avoids the slide of Diamondbacks second baseman… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

No clinching, no celebration, no taste of the bubbly.

The way this month has gone for the Dodgers, did you really expect them to party at first opportunity?

Instead of becoming the first team this season to clinch their division, the Dodgers fell 9-4 Wednesday to the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

BOX SCORE: Arizona 9, Dodgers 4

Their last chance to clinch against the Diamondbacks comes Thursday afternoon, then it’s on to San Diego.

Once baseball’s hottest team, the Dodgers are now 7-10 in September.

The game got off to a horrendous start for the Dodgers. It could have been plenty worse, but it was still too much to overcome.

The Dodgers elected to push Clayton Kershaw back to Saturday to give him additional rest and line him up to start the postseason, giving Wednesday’s start to Stephen Fife.

Fife had filled in nicely as a starter earlier this year, going 4-3 with a 2.47 ERA in nine starts. But since then, they’ve tried using him out of the bullpen, in the minors and now here, and that has proved a struggle.

Wednesday was his first start for the Dodgers since Aug. 4, and he very much looked it. Fife gave up two in the first the usual way for the Dodgers against Arizona, via a Paul Goldschmidt home run.

Fife then loaded the bases, but managed to pitch out of more trouble in the first. The Diamondbacks seemed to have the bases loaded every inning, but in truth it was only four times. And in three innings they left them loaded.

Fife couldn’t get out of the third, leaving the bases loaded after giving up another run. Carlos Marmol came in, walked in one more, but then got A.J. Pollock to pop up and struck out Goldschmidt.

In Fife’s 2 1/3 innings, he gave up the four runs on six hits, three walks, two wild pitches and two hit batters. Otherwise, just really sharp.

The Dodgers got two runs back in the fourth, the first on a solo home run by Yasiel Puig that went an estimated 442 feet. Singles by Carl Crawford, Michael Young and Adrian Gonzalez produced one more.

In the sixth, things got a little weird. Young singled and Gonzalez doubled into the left-center gap. Third base coach Tim Wallach waved Young home. It was a close play, but replays showed Young made an excellent one-handed slide over the plate, just before catcher Miguel Montero tagged him on the elbow.

But umpire Jim Joyce, rotating down from first base on the play, called Young out. Gonzalez, who had a clear view of the play at second, could not believe the call. He apparently expressed his displeasure too vocally, and second base umpire Andy Fletcher, rather amazingly, ejected him. While Gonzalez was standing on second base.

The Dodgers pulled within a run in the seventh when Nick Punto singled and scored on a Tim Federowicz double.

Mattingly then decided to have Skip Schumaker bunt Federowicz from scoring position at second to third. Ugh. Pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke bounced into a double play and the tying run was left stranded at third.

The Diamondbacks made it a late rout by scoring five runs in the eighth, all charged to struggling Ronald Belisario. Despite a ninth-inning solo home run from Federowicz, the celebration remained on hold.

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