Strange brew strands the blue

Well, it would have been a heck of a way to clinch a division.

A tragicomic game that seemed someone’s idea of a practical joke on both teams ended with the Arizona Diamondbacks staving off the Dodgers’ first match point in the National League West, hanging on for a 9-4 victory.

The Dodgers’ magic number for wrapping up the NL West remains two, heading into Thursday’s 12:40 p.m. series finale.

The game began with some horrendous pitching by Stephen Fife, who was making the start to give Clayton Kershaw a slight bit of rest ahead of October. Fife faced 18 batters and 11 reached base, on six hits, three walks and two hit-by-pitches, not to mention two wild pitches. He was lucky to only be charged with four runs, the last when reliever Carlos Marmol issued a bases-loaded walk to his first batter, with one out in the bottom of the third.

But somehow, four runs is all Arizona scored in the first six innings, the Diamondbacks stranding 12 runners on base in the process. Almost as bizarre was the Dodgers’ inability to take the lead, given what transpired in innings four through seven.

Yasiel Puig, having one of those games that makes him famous (a double in the first, followed by a pickoff, for example), hit one into orbit to lead off the top of the fourth and put the first run next to Los Angeles on the scoreboard. Consecutive singles by Carl Crawford, Michael Young and Adrian Gonzalez cut the Diamondbacks’ lead to 4-2, but with none out and two on, the next three Dodgers made outs.

The sixth inning then brought this round-the-horn extravaganza: The Dodgers got a bad call on their third baseman at home and ejection of their first baseman at second base on the same play.

With Young on first and one out, Gonzalez doubled deep in the left-field gap. Young was waved home and appeared to score ahead of the tag by Miguel Montero, but was called out at the plate – by first base umpire Jim Joyce, no less. In disbelief, Gonzalez (apparently) did something at second base to bring about his ejection. Despite yet another hit in the inning, by Matt Kemp, the Dodgers came up empty.

Los Angeles did only slightly better in the seventh. Nick Punto singled and Tim Federowicz doubled him home (no controversy this time), making the score 4-3. But frustratingly, Skip Schumaker was asked to bunt Federowicz to third base, and even though he succeeded with two strikes, it gave the Dodgers their first out. Puig hit an infield single (that could have been ruled an error), but Scott Van Slyke, coming up as a right-handed power bat against a left-handed pitcher in place of Carl Crawford, hit into a double play.

This became all but moot in the bottom of the eighth, when Arizona rapped Ronald Belisario for five insurance runs, three of them after the bases were cleared against Peter Moylan. Arizona ended up with 25 baserunners against the Dodgers. After going more than four seasons without allowing that many in a game, this was the fifth time it has happened in 2013.

Tim Federowicz’s two-out, ninth-inning homer would have been pretty nifty if Arizona still had only a one-run lead, but instead, as Vin Scully would say, it was but a murmur of protest before the game’s end.

  • WinnipegDave

    That was fast Jon. You even managed to get the final score correct, although I suspect you worked on it from the 8th inning on…

  • WinnipegDave

    I love the “round the horn” comment.

  • TAFKA_Gagne55

    Schumaker’s bunt that was called foul but appeared on replay to still be touching the line when it was picked up deserves mention.

  • DS1981

    One thing is obvious if the dodgers continue in this vein and lose in the first round, Mattingly will be gone.

    • btimmer

      Or maybe he won’t.

    • TAFKA_Gagne55

      I’m pretty certain that Fife and company won’t be starting any playoff games.

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    Just read on that Hanley is NOT expected to play today — a decision made earlier.

    I don’t like to take anything for granted — or maybe I’m overly nervous — but if you have a chance to eliminate two games from the magic # at once, don’t you take it? That’s what surprised me most about pushing back Kersh, and now this. Still, I’m grateful Hanley was able to play in Tuesday’s game — and so productively. And I’d rather sweat out another game or two if it means a healthier Kershaw.

    • btimmer

      Hanley Ramirez is in the lineup today, but Adrian Gonzalez is not.

      • WinnipegDave

        I believe AGon received a red card last night which means he can’t play today. Oh wait, wrong sport.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        Glad for Hanley (and the team), but AGon is heating up again . . . in more ways than one!

  • Bob_in_Vegas

    I know I’m late on this, but nice to see the story about Bison & the Bat/Ball Boys . . . sharing the joy (hopefully!) and creating memories.

    • Linkmeister

      What story is that, Bob? Got a link?

  • btimmer

    Puig RF
    Hairston 1B
    Ramirez SS
    Kemp CF
    Ellis 2B

    Uribe 3B
    Van Slyke LF
    Ellis C
    Nolasco P

    • thescrounger

      Hairston is a clown at first, why no SVS there and Hairston in left where he won’t have as much opportunity to cost us a game?

  • Jon Weisman