Goldschmidt, D-Backs deny Dodgers clincher 9-4

AP - Sports
Goldschmidt, D-Backs deny Dodgers clincher 9-4
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PHOENIX (AP) -- With Clayton Kershaw merely a spectator, the Los Angeles Dodgers fell short in their bid to clinch the NL West.

Kershaw had been scheduled to start for the Dodgers against Arizona on Wednesday night, but was pushed back to Saturday to give him some added late-season rest.

He watched as Arizona took an early lead, then blew the game open late in a 9-4 victory on Wednesday night.

The Dodgers, losers of five of six, get another chance at the clincher in the series finale on Thursday.

It was a difficult night, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, but his team remains in a great position with 10 games to play.

''We like where we are at,'' he said. ''It is one game at a time. Tonight was a little bit frustrating. it was a frustrating game, but other than that, I am not really frustrated so much ''

If the Dodgers, still with a huge lead in the division, don't clinch in Arizona, it's not the end of the world.

''We are fine,'' Adrian Gonzalez said. ''Win tomorrow. If not, we will win two in San Diego.''

Paul Goldschmidt homered in the first inning and Arizona led the rest of the way, although the Dodgers cut it to 4-3 before the Diamondbacks scored five off Ronald Belisario in the eighth.

''Really after three we could have been in a load of trouble and then after four we are only down by a couple,'' Mattingly said. ''At that point you are kind of back in it. The bullpen did a nice job of keeping us in it really for a while and give us a lot of chances to score. We had some chances and just didn't take advantage.''

Goldschmidt is batting just under .400 against the Dodgers this season with six home runs and 20 RBIs. His opposite-field two-run shot on a 3-2 pitch from Stephen Fife (4-4) in the first inning moved him into the NL lead with 34 home runs.

Yasiel Puig hit a solo home run calculated at 442 feet for the Dodgers, who have lost five of six and get one more chance to clinch in Arizona in the series finale Thursday.

The Diamondbacks want to send the Dodgers out of town with that celebratory champagne still on ice.

''It's still a pride thing,'' Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy said. ''You understand where things stand but you don't want to see them celebrate. ... If you can get them out of here without having to see it, then all the better.''

Gonzalez was ejected after Michael Young was called out at the plate in a close play in the sixth inning.

McCarthy (5-9) went six-plus innings to get the victory. He gave up two runs and scattered 10 hits.

Tim Federowicz drove in two runs with a home run and RBI double.

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was glad that a national television audience got to see Goldschmidt - who is the runaway NL RBI leader with 118 and is hitting .305 - excel.

Gibson hopes the late exposure will help in the MVP voting.

''We were on ESPN tonight and I wanted Goldy to have a good game,'' Gibson said. ''They're talking about other very good candidates. We're certainly biased here. He proves it day in, day out. He's everything you could want. He's certainly deserving of Most Valuable Player.''

Arizona led just 4-3 before blowing the game open with five runs in the eighth inning off Ronald Belisario, the sixth of seven pitchers used in the game by Los Angeles. Adam Eaton had a two-run single, Aaron Hill and Martin Prado each an RBI double and Chris Owings walked with the bases loaded.

Fife never made it out of the third, giving up a two-run homer to Goldschmidt in the first and a two more runs in the third as Arizona took a 4-0 lead. He allowed four runs on six hits in 2 1-3 innings, walking two and hitting two batters.

Gonzalez was tossed by second base umpire Andy Fletcher in the top of the sixth inning after Michael Young attempted to score from first on Gonzalez's double. Young was called out by first base umpire Jim Joyce, catcher Miguel Montero taking the shortstop Owings' relay throw and put down the tag although replays showed Young's hand appeared to touch the plate

Gonzalez said he was criticizing the call because he didn't think Joyce got into position to see the play.

''I got to second base and I could see clearly that he was safe,'' Gonzalez said. ''I said, 'Let's go. If you guys are going to switch, hustle so you can make the call.' That is when he threw me out.''

NOTES: In the last meeting of the teams' this season, the Dodgers send RHP Ricky Nolasco (13-10, 3.36 ERA) to the mound Monday while LHP Wade Miley (10-10, 3.70). ... Gonzalez was ejected for the third time in his career, first this season.

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