D-Backs drop second straight series
The Arizona Diamondbacks lost their second consecutive series to begin the season, falling 3-1 on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
With the roof open at Chase Field on a sun-splashed Easter holiday, the gathering of 25,485 witnessed a pitchers duel between Arizona’s Dan Haren and the Dodgers’ Randy Wolf. The Diamondbacks (2-4) managed just three hits off Wolf, who pitched seven-plus innings to earn the win.
Haren allowed two runs on four hits in six innings, but he was charged with his second hard-luck loss of the week. Haren has given up just three runs on seven hits in 13 innings in opening-week starts against the Rockies and Dodgers (for an earned-run average of 2.08), but he has an 0-2 record to show for it.
By all rights, Haren should have given up only one run on Sunday, but the Dodgers (4-3) scored another in the second inning thanks to the little-known and seldom-seen “four-out rule.” With one out and Andre Ethier at third base and Juan Pierre at second for the Dodgers, Wolf hit a line drive back to Haren, who caught the ball and threw to second baseman Felipe Lopez to complete an inning-ending double play. In recording the third out, however, Lopez opted not to step on second base for the forceout, instead crossing in front of the bag and tagging Pierre. Ethier crossed home plate before Lopez applied the tag to Pierre. Even though Ethier failed to tag up at third before dashing toward the plate, his run counted because the Diamondbacks headed to the dugout without appealing that Ethier had left the base early.
Ethier’s run tied the score at 1-1. The Dodgers then pulled ahead to stay in the top of the third when Rafael Furcal led off with a walk, advanced to second on a groundout off the bat of Orlando Hudson and scored on a single to right field by James Loney.
Haren struck out two and walked three in his six innings of work. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ Wolf recorded five strikeouts and two walks in improving to 1-1 on the season.
The D-backs tallied their only run in the bottom of the first when Lopez doubled to center field, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chris Young and scored on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew.
Arizona’s best subsequent threat occurred in the eighth, when Chad Tracy led off with an opposite-field single to left. Ryan Roberts pinch-ran for Tracy, and left-handed reliever Hong-Chi Kuo was called upon to pitch for the Dodgers. Arizona’s Chris Snyder attempted to sacrifice, but Kuo fielded the bunt and threw to second to force the lead runner. After pinch-hitter Tony Clark took a called strike three, Lopez slapped a ground-ball single through the middle. With two runners on base and two out, Kuo ended the inning by getting Young to bounce into a fielder’s choice.
The Dodgers added an insurance run in the ninth off D-backs reliever Jon Rauch. Russell Martin led off the frame by singling to right field. He eventually scored on a two-out double to the left-field corner by Matt Kemp.
With a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, Dodgers manager Joe Torre summoned closer Jonathan Broxton, who retired the Diamondbacks in order to record his third save.
Prior to Sunday’s game, the Diamondbacks placed ace right-hander Brandon Webb on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 7, with shoulder soreness. Webb, a 22-game winner last year, gave up six runs in four innings in the D-backs’ 9-8 Opening Day victory over the Colorado Rockies. Webb underwent an MRI on Friday, and the test revealed no damage to the shoulder.
By: Tom Kessler
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