The Dodgers look to avoid being shut out in three consecutive games for the second time this season when they finish a two-game road set against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.
In a major slump over the last three weeks, Los Angeles has faded in the NL West race, falling a season-high six games behind San Francisco after a 1-0 loss Tuesday.
Ian Kennedy pitched into the eighth and Arizona scored an unearned run off Clayton Kershaw in the seventh when Paul Goldschmidt reached on Hanley Ramirez 's throwing error and scored from first on Miguel Montero 's double.
The Dodgers, who had five hits for the second straight game, have lost 13 of 20. They've scored three runs or fewer in 13 of those games while being held scoreless four times during that span. They lost 4-0 to San Francisco on Sunday."They all hurt the same right now," Kershaw said. "It is kind of the card that we are dealt right now. We are searching for answers. If we could explain it, we would, but we don't know. We just have to keep grinding. I know it is all cliché but we have to keep going, just keep playing and see what happens."
Getting Kemp back on track would help. He returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the previous two games with an inflamed left shoulder and went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts.
Kemp's batting average has dropped 44 points to .315 after going 14 for 79 (.177) over his last 21 games. He is 4 for 33 with 11 strikeouts since crashing into the outfield wall in Colorado on Aug. 28.
Los Angeles (74-68), which remained one game behind St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot, was also shut out in three consecutive games in June by the Giants.
Arizona (70-72), which is five out in the wild card, has won four of six. Tuesday's victory snapped a six-game home losing streak for the Diamondbacks, winners of four in a row at home over the Dodgers.
While Arizona hasn't been playing well at home recently, struggles at Chase Field are nothing new for Trevor Cahill (10-11, 3.98 ERA), who has some baffling home/away splits.
Cahill is 4-7 with a 5.33 ERA at home compared to 6-4 with a 2.91 ERA on the road. He gave up two runs and two hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-2 victory at San Francisco last Wednesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh.
"I felt good early on and I just tried to throw strikes, and the defense was good behind me so I tried to let them put it in play," the right-hander said.
Cahill is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers this year, although his last outing against them wasn't his strongest. He allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win in 11 innings opposite Aaron Harang on Aug. 31.
He'll be matched up again with Harang (9-8, 3.75) in the finale.
The right-hander went five innings last Wednesday against San Diego, allowing three runs and seven hits in the 4-3 loss. He threw 61 pitches in the first two innings.
"With that long first inning throwing a lot of pitches, that ultimately hurt me in going out there for a sixth inning," Harang said.
He is 0-1 with a 9.42 ERA in three starts against Arizona this year, with the Dodgers scoring two runs in those games.
Montero is 9 for 17 (.529) with a home run off Harang.
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|September 11, 2012||Adam Kennedy||60-Day DL||Strained right groin|
|September 09, 2012||Clayton Kershaw||Day-to-Day||Sore hip|
|September 08, 2012||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder strain|
|September 08, 2012||Adam Kennedy||Day-to-Day||Strained right groin|
|September 03, 2012||Javy Guerra||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|September 01, 2012||Chris Withrow||60-Day DL||Recovery from torn pectoral muscle|
|September 11, 2012||J.J. Putz||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|August 30, 2012||Chris Johnson||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|August 21, 2012||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Tight hamstring|
|August 17, 2012||Jason Kubel||Day-to-Day||Neck stiffness|
|August 14, 2012||Takashi Saito||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|August 14, 2012||Takashi Saito||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
PHOENIX (AP) -- Facing division rival Los Angeles for the fourth time in two months, Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill reached deep into his bag of tricks.
Cahill got through a rocky first inning before mixing four pitches to retire 20 of his final 22 batters, and Arizona beat the slumping Dodgers 3-2 on Wednesday night.
"I felt confident I could throw all four pitches anytime in the count," said Cahill, who has won his last four starts against Los Angeles. "If you only have two pitches working and they know it and I know it, you end up trying to throw too fine a pitch."
Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra hit consecutive RBI singles to support Cahill's seven strong innings.
The Dodgers, who have lost six of seven, squandered a chance to pull even with St. Louis in the race for the second NL wild-card spot. The Cardinals lost 3-2 to San Diego earlier Wednesday.
The defeat left Los Angeles a game behind St. Louis. The teams begin a four-game series Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
"I'm sure people are getting tired of hearing me say it, but we have to turn the page," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "St. Louis and ourselves, we have let a lot of people back in the race - but it's still in our hands. No matter how bad it has looked and no matter where it has been, it's still right there for us."
Arizona (71-72) moved within four games of the Cardinals.
"It's getting better," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We need to keep running in the same direction we're going now, but it's getting interesting."
Cahill (11-11) scattered four hits, struck out seven and did not walk a batter for the second time this season. He also did not issue a free pass June 20 against Seattle.
"He kept it together," Gibson said. "He limited the damage and that was big."
Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in the first when Shane Victorino singled, Cahill hit Matt Kemp with a pitch and Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run double to right-center.
After that, Luis Cruz 's two singles represented all the offense for the Dodgers over the final eight innings.
"It feels good that you're able to score two early," Mattingly said. "But that feeling goes away as you're not able to add on. As the game gets later you've given the momentum back."
Pitching with a 2-1 lead, Dodgers starter Aaron Harang issued consecutive two-out walks in the sixth. Upton followed with a single to tie the game 2-all and end Harang's night.
Left-hander Randy Choate came on to face the left-handed hitting Parra, who lined a single to right that gave the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead.
"You get two guys who are up there that can change a game real quick, so you're not trying to lay a cookie in there," Harang said. "You're trying to give them something to swing at that they're either going to hit softly or hit on the ground somewhere. Then I end up walking those guys."
Harang (9-9) allowed four hits in 5 2-3 innings but walked four.
David Hernandez pitched the ninth for his second save in two nights, retiring Kemp, Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in order.
"As closer, that's who you want to face," Hernandez said. "They're not all going to be three-run saves."
Gonzalez, punched out on a called third strike for his third strikeout of the game, thought it was ball four.
Los Angeles, which dropped seven games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West, is batting .184 in its last five games with one homer and seven runs.
The Diamondbacks have won 10 of the past 12 meetings between the clubs. Arizona starters are 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA in their last 12 games against the Dodgers.
"Winning one-run games against division rivals, sometimes those are better than blowouts," Cahill said.
The Diamondbacks cut Los Angeles' lead in half in the second when Paul Goldschmidt singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Upton.
NOTES: Hernandez last recorded back-to-back saves on July 7-8, 2011. ... Arizona has won consecutive one-run games for the first time since opening the season with three straight one-run victories over the Giants. ... Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz missed his second straight game with stiffness in his back. ... Harang is 3-8 with a 3.19 ERA in 17 career appearances and 16 starts against Arizona. ... What better way to reduce some pennant-race tension than phantom infield practice? Before the game, the Dodgers pantomimed their way through their infield warmup, with the fielders scooping imaginary grounders and catchers stumbling in foul territory under invisible, sky-high popups. ... Dodgers RHP Josh Beckett (1-2) starts against St. Louis RHP Lance Lynn (14-7) on Thursday. The Diamondbacks have the day off before rookie LHP Tyler Skaggs (1-1) faces RHP Matt Cain (13-5) to begin a three-game series against San Francisco.