There was a lot of the chatter revolving around the Dodgers magic number of four as they started their series with Arizona. If they split the series, two wins in four games, they would clinch the division and a spot in the playoffs.
Well, the journey to clinching is going to last at least one more game, as the Dodgers wasted a fantastic start by Hyun-Jin Ryu in a 2-1 loss to Arizona.
Hyun-Jin Ryu threw eight innings of three-hit, two-run ball, but ended up with a complete-game loss. He gave up a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning, putting the Dodgers down 2-0 early, and then retired the next 19 batters faced on his way to the loss.
Ryu struggled his last couple times out to the mound with back pains and an extended period of rest, but he appeared to be back in top form on Monday. This was the confident-boosting start the Dodgers needed to see from him before the playoffs. Hopefully he can keep it up in his final two starts this season.
On the Dodgers Live Postgame show, Don Mattingly had praise for his starter, "we got just what we needed from Hyun-Jin. He was terrific." Ryu had just one bad pitch to Goldschmidt, but then, "he gives us, basically, eight innings to get two runs." Two runs in eight innings was too much of a task for the Dodgers
Arizona's starter, Trevor Cahill, also had a strong outing despite lasting only 5.1 innings. He gave up two hits to Nick Punto, and held the rest of the Dodgers lineup hitless in thirteen at bats.
Cahill had control issues, walking four batters, and was removed when he ran into trouble. He gave the Dodgers a fantastic scoring opportunity in the sixth, walking two and giving up a hit to Punto to load the bases with no outs.
Yasiel Puig worked out a walk for an RBI to score Ryu from third for their only run of the game.
In the ninth they had another great chance to score, with runners on first and second and no outs. Juan Uribe bunted, but Michael Young was thrown out at third, rendering it useless. Nick Buss grounded out, advancing the tying run to third with two outs.
Matt Kemp, who was activated from the DL just minutes before the game, was used as a pinch hitter and struck out to end the game. It was his first plate appearance since July 21.
The loss is the Dodgers fourth in a row, five in six games, and ninth in twelve games. Tuesday they try again to shrink their magic number to two, with Zack Greinke taking on Patrick Corbin.