LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have spent 2014 whacking the Arizona Diamondbacks around like a big, reptilian birthday party piñata and taking 13 of the first 17 meetings this season. Early in Saturday's 5-2 win, it looked as if they'd again cruise to victory.
Although a three-run win doesn't seem all that nail-biting, it makes things look more comfortable than they actually were. Still, the Dodgers kept pace with the victorious San Francisco Giants to maintain a two-game lead in the NL West.
How it happened: Think of L.A.'s offense as a sandwich, with scoring opportunities as the bread. The Dodgers stuck seven innings of quiet between two productive frames. Adrian Gonzalez put two on the board in the bottom of the first with his 20th homer of the season. Dee Gordon capped a nine-pitch at bat with a single that put the Dodgers up 3-2 in the eighth. Hanley Ramirez followed with a two-run double, and as it has been for most of the year, L.A. leaned on its pitching to bridge the gap.
Hits: Gonzalez hasn't run up all his numbers this season against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but you'll forgive the D-backs for thinking that the case. In 17 head-to-head games this season before Saturday’s meeting at Dodger Stadium, Gonzalez hit .411 (23-for-56) with 18 runs scored, four home runs and 17 RBIs. So it wasn't surprising to see him club the first pitch he saw from Diamondbacks starter Chase Anderson over the wall in right to score Gordon and stake L.A. to a 2-0 first-inning lead. It's the eighth time in nine seasons Gonzalez has reached 20 home runs. Hyun-Jin Ryu, though a notch below dominant, still pitched well and gave up only two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. He escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the first and managed to keep Arizona off the board until the seventh. Jamey Wright ended an Arizona rally in the seventh, and Brian Wilson threw a perfect eighth.
Misses: Although they started things off with a bang, the Dodgers went silent offensively after the first inning and managed only one hit -- an infield single from Gordon in the third -- until Juan Uribe led off the eighth with ... another infield single. Still, it was enough to start what became the winning rally, aided by some questionable defense from the visitors.
Stat of the game: The Dodgers moved to 39-21 (.650) against division foes this season. All but three of their 19 remaining games are against teams in the NL West.
Up next: The Dodgers wrap up the season series, much to their disappointment for sure, against Arizona on Sunday. Right-hander Trevor Cahill (3-10, 5.06 ERA), who has given up 19 hits and 17 runs in 15 1/3 innings this season against the Dodgers, takes the mound for the D-backs against Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.72).