Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Dodgers were trying to avoid the sweep, relying on Clayton Kershaw to put the breaks on the club’s six-game losing streak.
But even the divine arm of Clayton Kershaw was not enough to quiet the tremendously hot bat of Paul Goldschmidt, as his first career multi-home run game helped Arizona complete the sweep of the Dodgers, 3-2.
A.J. Pollock started the game off with a double with a hard grounder that flirted with the left field line.
Kershaw got out of a jam later in the inning with runners on the corners and one out. Former Dodger Cody Ross grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that was almost misplayed by Dee Gordon at shortstop. Nick Punto made the throw just quick enough to beat Ross and turn the double play to end the inning.
In the top of the third inning with two outs, Kershaw twice thought he had Didi Gregorius out on strikes — the first coming on a curveball that the umpire didn’t bite at, and the second on a check swing that did not go, and Gregorius ending up walking.
Some of the old “Brooklyn Bums” bloodline showed up in the top of the fourth, when with two outs, Wil Nieves hit a towering pop up just foul of the first base line. Kershaw, A.J. Ellis, and Adrian Gonzalez all gave chase, and none of them knew who was in better position than the others to make the catch. It was decided late that Gonzalez had that job, and he made an acrobatic stretch on the slicing ball. The ball landed in his glove, the crowd erupted, and then the ball fell to the ground — no play. Nieves would later be retired.
Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left center, and Nick Punto followed with a double down the right field line. Gordon took off, and Arizona right fielder Gerardo Parra seemed to have difficulty making a scoop on the ball. Everyone watched third base coach Tim Wallach, wondering if Gordon would be sent home. By the time Parra made a play on the ball, Gordon was already at third. Wallach gave the signal and Gordon turned on the jets. Parra threw the ball to home, Nieves made the catch, but Gordon slid and hit the plate just before a play could be made, and the Dodgers took a 1-0 lead.
Adrian Gonzalez then connected and grounded one hard up the right field line — even closer to the line than Punto’s double. Punto scored and the Dodgers were in business 2-0 off the pair of doubles.
The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the 6th when Paul Goldschmidt, who has been carrying the majority of the Arizona offense, blasted his eighth home run of the season. It was the third home run of the series for Goldschmidt, homered in each of the three games of the series at Chavez Ravine.
Goldschmidt came back up to bat in the top of the eighth, and hit a towering fly ball off a full count by Kenly Jansen. The ball carried back, and Carl Crawford wasn’t close on an effort to make a grab at the wall, and the same bat that has been giving the Dodgers sleepless nights all week gave the Diamondbacks the lead on his second homer of the game. It was the first multi-homer game of Goldschmidt’s career.
Then the Dodgers had a moment of truth.
The Dodgers have been abysmal from the plate with runners in scoring position, and even worse in clutch situations, but they had an opportunity to defeat the demon that had been troubling them all season.
Skip Schumaker came in to pinch hit for Luis Cruz (who originally took over at third after Adrian Gonzalez left the game in the fourth inning) in the ninth inning. He led off the bottom of the ninth with a double down the left field line.
A.J. Ellis was unable to move Schumaker over after grounding to short.
Andre Ethier tried to recapture some of the magic he showed back in 2008 and 2009, when he was known for his Dodger Stadium walkoffs. But he struck out swinging.
It fell to Carl Crawford, who was pinch hitting for Juan Uribe with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
The crowd erupted when Crawford connected on a 2-2 pitch and sent the ball to left field.
But the cheers died away slowly as it dropped and Cody Ross made the catch that completed the sweep.
The Dodgers will have a day off on Thursday before they host the Florida Marlins for a three-game series.
Kershaw is just 0.1 innings away from reaching the milestone of his 1000th career inning pitched.