One swing was all it took.
Scott Van Slyke knocked in all the Dodgers runs with his first home run of the season and Los Angeles defeated the Diamondbacks 3-2, in the rubber match of the three game series at Chase Field in Arizona on Wednesday.
It was a pitcher's duel between Clayton Kershaw and Patrick Corbin through the first five innings of the game. Corbin put up five scoreless innings whereas Kershaw made just one mistake—a solo homer served up to Rickie Weeks—in the second inning.
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Corbin ran into trouble with two outs in the top of the sixth. Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick hit back-to-back singles before Van Slyke belted a fastball halfway up the seats in left field to give LA the lead.
"Gonzo started it with two outs getting that hit," Van Slyke told Alanna Rizzo of SportsNetLA after the game. "Howie getting that hit gave me a chance to do something."
Corbin (3-6) made just one costly mistake on the homer to Van Slyke in an otherwise strong start. The left-hander allowed three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in 6 and 1/3 innings.
Kershaw (10-1) avoided catastrophe in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.
Paul Goldschmidt came within inches of a game-tying home run when he smashed a ball to the wall in left field that a fan reached over and touched. After a lengthy review, umpires determined the fan did indeed interfere with the ball and it would not have been a home run.
"It seems like every time Goldy [Goldschmidt] gets in the box I hold my breath," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts told the media. "He's one of the premiere players in the game and he's scary. We caught a break there."
In the seventh, Kershaw surrendered a lead off double to Welington Castillo, but pitched out of the jam with bookend strikeouts of Yasmay Tomas and Phil Gosselin to end the inning.
"I left a couple sliders up today," Kershaw told reporters of his struggles in the sixth and seventh. "Thankfully that ball that Goldschmidt hit didn't go out."
The three-time Cy Young Award winner was in command of his curveball—and all of his pitches for that matter—as he struck out 11, walking just one over 7 and 1/3 dominant innings.
Kershaw's MLB-leading ERA rose to 1.58, but is still well ahead of his counterparts. He tied Stephen Strasburg, Chris Sale and Jake Arrieta for the most wins in the big leagues (10) by a pitcher this season.
"There's something to being able to win games," Kershaw said of his double-digit wins. "There's starters out there that find ways to win games and there's some that find ways to lose games. I don't know if you can go by your record necessarily, but you know when guys have an aptitude wo win games and I think guys know how to do that better than others."
The 2014 NL MVP leads the league in strikeouts, walks, WHIP, WAR, ERA and innings pitched so far through the 2016 season.
"When you step back and look at the whole sample of what he's done this season, it's certainly impressive," added Roberts.
Kenley Jansen pitched his second consecutive scoreless ninth inning, recording his 161st career save, tying Eric Gagne for the Dodgers all-time franchise record.
Players of the Game:
Scott Van Slyke: Three-run home run.
Rickie Weeks: Solo homer in second inning.
Clayton Kershaw: 2 runs, 5 hits, 11 strikeouts, 7.1 IP.
1. Fan Out: Arizona Diamondbacks' slugger Paul Goldschmidt missed a game-tying two-run home run by inches in the bottom of the sixth inning when a fan reached over the wall and interfered with a ball in play. From the image below, you can see it would not have been a home run, but Dodgers held their breath as the play was reviewed on the field. When the dust settled, Goldschmidt had to settle for an RBI single instead.
2. Poison Pen: After struggling to start the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen now leads the National League in ERA at 3.04. The pen through two more scoreless innings on Wednesday night in relief of Clayton Kershaw.
3. The Closer: Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen tied Eric Gagne for the franchise record in saves with career save number 161 on Wednesday. Jansen has tossed 24 scoreless relief appearances this season and has converted 18 of 21 save opportunities for the boys in blue.
Dodgers (35-32): Los Angeles heads home to host the Milwaukee Brewers for a four-game set at Dodger Stadium this weekend. Scott Kazmir starts game one at 7:10PM PST.
Diamondbacks (29-39): Arizona has a travel day before playing the Phillies in Philadelphia this weekend.
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