LOS ANGELES —- Diamondbacks-Dodgers III went down without incident, but not before Danys Baez and Luis Gonzalez had a confrontation that was, thankfully, contained to the field.
Less than 24 hours after Gonzalez essentially called Baez “gutless” for plunking Shawn Green with two outs in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game, Baez nicked Gonzalez with a pitch in the eighth inning of a three-run game Wednesday.
Gonzalez took his base, and the Diamondbacks were swept out of Los Angeles with a 5-4 loss. Those in the Dodger Stadium crowd of 38,505 who came to see a continuation of hostilities between teams that had combined to bean one another seven times in the first two games left disappointed. For the second day in a row, umpires did not even bother to warn the combatants before the game. Instead, fans had to settle for another win over the visitors, who suffered through the third game of a sweep three days after their own sweep of the Oakland Athletics.
“We were just trying to win a game,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “You don’t think about (beanballs) going into a game. You just play the game.”
The Dodgers already led by two runs with men on the corners and one out in the third inning when Orlando Hudson threw low to backup shortstop Damion Easley while attempting to start an inning-ending double play. The ball ended up in foul territory and two runs scored in what became a four-run inning that gave the Dodgers a five-run lead they did not relinquish.
Claudio Vargas gave up three hits, including a single that was wiped out when Rafael Furcal was caught stealing, and walked a batter before Hudson’s error. A slow start to the fifth inning, a double and a walk, ended his evening after 88 pitches, only 48 of which went for strikes.
Four relievers held the Dodgers scoreless over the final four innings, but the Diamondbacks could not recover from the five-run deficit.
It was the third straight short outing by a Diamondbacks starter since Miguel Batista and Brandon Webb tossed back-to-back complete games to finish off the sweep of the Athletics. Juan Cruz lasted just three innings in his first day back from the disabled list Monday and Enrique Gonzalez pitched four innings Tuesday.
With a day off today, the bullpen should be rested in time for Friday’s series-opener in Colorado, but it is obviously a scenario that cannot repeatedly be played out over the second half of the season.
“We had to get him earlier than we wanted to,” Melvin said. “Our bullpen’s been beat up. We have to find a way to get deeper innings (out of our starters).”
Rookie outfielder Andre Ethier continued to bedevil the Diamondbacks. The Phoenix St. Mary’s High graduate and former Arizona State star hit a leadoff home run to break a scoreless tie in the second inning then robbed Johnny Estrada of a base hit on a sliding basket catch in shallow left field with two outs and two men on in the sixth.
In the series, Ethier went 6-for-12 with seven RBIs, three runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a home run and a walk.
The Diamondbacks trimmed the lead to one run on Chad Tracy’s bases-loaded two-out double in the ninth, but Conor Jackson struck out with the tying run on second base. “We have to stay in the game early. We can’t keep trying to come back,” Eric Byrnes said. “We can’t lose the games in the first and second innings like we’ve been doing.”