PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers limped into their big series after being embarrassed by last-place teams, neither club showing they have what it takes to assume control of the NL West.
"Somebody's got to win tonight," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said before the game.It turned out to be the Diamondbacks, who rallied for a 9-3 victory that snapped a four-game slide and widened their NL West lead to 4 1/2 games over the nose-diving Dodgers."The way both teams were playing, the first one's real big for us," Melvin said afterward.Stephen Drew, Adam Dunn and Conor Jackson each drove in two runs, and the Diamondbacks took advantage of a pair of costly errors by Los Angeles shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to bounce back from being swept by the San Diego Padres.Manny Ramirez had four hits for the Dodgers, who lost their eighth straight -- all on a 10-game road trip that mercifully ends this weekend. Los Angeles dropped three in a row to Washington, baseball's worst team at 50-85, before heading to the desert."We need to find a way to get this stuff straightened out," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "There's still plenty of time left. Right now, the last couple of weeks have been ugly."The Diamondbacks, who are closing in on their fifth division title in 11 seasons, will send aces Dan Haren and Brandon Webb against the Dodgers in the next two games."It's good to know that we're going to be in first place no matter what happens" in the next two games, Arizona starter Doug Davis (6-8) said. "With Haren and Webby going the next two days, we have a chance of being up six [and a half] games pretty easy. It's looking good."Down 2-1 in the fifth, the Diamondbacks cashed in on a throwing error by Garciaparra, scoring three times to give Davis his second victory since July 30. Garciaparra also made a fielding error that led to another run in the seventh.Arizona and Los Angeles have been dueling for control of the NL West, and lately neither has appeared capable of winning the race.The Dodgers had mustered 12 runs in the first seven games of their road trip. Desperate to bolster his attack, Torre put catcher Russell Martin in the leadoff spot for the first time this year and moved Ramirez up one slot, to third.It didn't make much difference. As they have all year, the Dodgers struggled to produce with runners in scoring position.Los Angeles loaded the bases in the first on a double by Andre Ethier and walks to Ramirez and Matt Kemp. But James Loney grounded to shortstop to end the threat.Asked if the Dodgers were tight, Loney said, "I don't know. I can't answer for everybody. Guys are playing hard."Hiroki Kuroda (7-10) retired the first 10 batters before giving up a single to Chris Young, who scored the game's first run on Dunn's double to the left-field corner.The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on Kemp's sacrifice fly and Loney's RBI single.It took four batters -- and a little help from Garciaparra -- for the Diamondbacks to take the lead.After Chad Tracy singled and Chris Snyder walked, Augie Ojeda bounced to Garciaparra, who fired a potential double-play ball into right field.Tracy scored to tie it 2-2 as Snyder took third and Ojeda reached second.A single by Salazar and a sacrifice fly by Drew put the Diamondbacks ahead 4-2.Arizona didn't trail again."It's nice to get one in the standings, but we've still got two more games in the series," Melvin said. "We need to get at least one more of these."
Melvin was ejected in the fifth inning by first base umpire Wally Bell after arguing a fan interference call. It was Melvin's second ejection this year and the 14th of his career. "That was a little bit of a misunderstanding," Melvin said. "I did say a bad word which would get me thrown out." ... Dodgers 2B Jeff Kent left the game with left knee pain, and he said he would undergo an MRI. "It just got the better of me today," Kent said. "I've got a lot of clicking and popping going on in there right now, and it's pretty painful." ... Arizona RF Justin Upton returned from the DL to double and score a run in the seventh.