PHOENIX (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers picked a bad time to have their first losing streak in two weeks.
Plagued by another night of missed opportunities and Ross Stripling’s shaky start, the Dodgers lost 7-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night to fall to second place in the NL West.
The Dodgers (88-71) rallied to tie Arizona in the ninth inning Tuesday night, only to have Eduardo Escobar hit a walkoff homer in the bottom half. That loss, combined with Colorado’s win over Philadelphia, dropped the Dodgers’ division lead to a half-game.
With Rockies (88-70) rolling over the Phillies 14-0, the Dodgers couldn’t bounce back from Arizona’s three-run second inning against Stripling (8-6) or take advantage of an early opportunity against Zack Greinke. Los Angeles has lost consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 10-11 and is now a half-game back in the NL West.
“As far as getting to the postseason, it takes us, we control our own fate,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We’ve got to win baseball games. For us, there’s a little back against the wall.”
The Diamondbacks displayed plenty of power in their final home game. A.J. Pollock hit a three-run home run, David Peralta had his 30th of the season and Socrates Brito hit his first big-league homer in two years.
Greinke (15-11) overcame a shaky start to allow two runs and strike out six in six innings.
The Diamondbacks struggled early in September to fall out of the playoff race, but made an impact by winning the final two games against the Dodgers.
“I understand what happened in the early part of the month, but this is really all we had left,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We beat the Dodgers two out of three and hurt their chances of advancing.”
The Dodgers had a big chance against Greinke in the third inning, loading the bases with one out. They came away with nothing after Yasiel Puig lined out to shortstop and Yasmani Grandal grounded out to second.
“It was just the one hit or the at-bat that eluded us,” Roberts said. “That Puig at-bat, it goes a different way, it’s a completely different game. But that’s baseball.”
Stripling allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings in his return to the rotation against San Diego his last time out. He didn’t last that long against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona hit for the reverse cycle against him in a three-run second inning, starting with Brito’s leadoff homer. Stripling was pulled after walking Peralta to load the bases with two outs, but Pedro Baez ended the threat by striking out Paul Goldschmidt.
Stripling allowed seven of the 12 batters he faced to reach base, allowing three runs on five hits.
“It’s kind of tough when you’re trying to help a team win, help a team that’s battling for playoff implications and you can’t get through two innings,” Stripling said. “It stinks.”
The Dodgers had some hard-hit balls of Greinke early, taking a 2-0 lead on run-scoring hits by Cody Bellinger and Stripling. The right-hander escaped the jam in the third inning and allowed two more hits the rest of the way.
“They were hitting the ball pretty hard the first couple of innings and just had a lot of good defensive plays and scored some runs,” Greinke said. “Then I started pitching better after that.”
The eighth inning featured a rare switch-pitcher facing a switch-hitter.
Dodgers reliever Pat Venditte got the first two outs of the inning pitching right-handed, then switched to lefty with Ildemaro Vargas on deck. Vargas, who was swinging left-handed, saw Venditte switch and he asked the bat boy to bring another helmet so he could bat right-handed.
Venditte won the switch-off, getting Vargas to fly out to right.
Dodgers 3B Justin Turner got hit left thumb checked out after the game for swelling from a hard-hit ball by Goldschmidt in the fifth inning. He remained in the game and Roberts he was sore, but didn’t think there was anything wrong structurally.
Dodgers: Los Angeles could use another strong outing from LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu Friday against San Francisco. He tossed six scoreless innings to beat San Diego his last start.
Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin is 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 15 road starts heading into Friday’s game against San Diego.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports