Zack Greinke sat at the far end of the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night after Arizona had just lost to Los Angeles, 8-5, to fall behind by two games to none in its best-of-five National League Division Series.
Dodgers - Face either the Washington Nationals or Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. They'll await the victor of the Cubs-Nationals series in their attempt to reach the World Series for the first time since 1988. Greinke labored but prevented the Dodgers from making more headway until Cody Bellinger homered in the fifth. A solo shot by the struggling Bellinger extended the Dodgers lead to 2-0. The Cubs lead that series 2-1, with game 4 scheduled for Tuesday in Chicago.
The Dodgers' 1-16 skid from late August into September seemed unusual while it was happening. After holding Arizona to one run, Darvish was pulled in the sixth following a high pitch that hit Christian Walker in the helmet. A ground out by Utley advanced Hernández to third base. Still, he struck out 208 hitters, and largely stayed healthy. Jimmy Sherfy took over for Ray in the fifth and gave up hits to the first four batters he faced (along with two stolen bases), resulting in four more runs scoring and the Dodgers effectively putting the game away. While Greinke slogged through five-plus frames, Darvish whizzed through his.
The only time Darvish pitched out of the stretch was for two batters following Ketel Marte's one-out bunt single in the first inning.
Some of baseball's norms just don't apply to the exuberant Puig. He dialed his four-seam fastball as high as 97.8 miles per hour, averaging 95.2 and generating 11 strikes from among the 14 he threw, three of them swings and misses.
Behind the arm of Yu Darvish, the Los Angeles Dodgers are moving on towards the NLCS for the second straight season.
In came Kenley Jansen, looking to end the series, the Dodgers closer started the inning off by striking out Grégor Blanco. Fittingly, Jansen struck out Paul Goldschmidt, the Dodgers' top nemesis, on a 95 miles per hour cutter outside to end the game and the series. The right-hander allowed just two hits on the night and didn't issue a walk.
The Dodgers clinched the best-of-five divisional series in three games.
Both starting pitchers were an afterthought by the time the game was over, as neither lasted five innings.
The trouble began when Taylor smoked that leadoff double into the leftfield corner on Greinke's sixth pitch.
Rizzo dropped a bloop single into shallow center field off Oliver Perez to score pinch-runner Leonys Martin, who replaced Tommy La Stella after he led off the eighth inning with a walk.
"My only thought has been on being prepared", said the 42-year-old Uehara. On that night, he struck out 10 and but needed 106 pitches. On the first pitch, he took an inside toss to the knob of his bat and his acting job wasn't selling the umpires on a hit-by-pitch more than the replay review that upheld the foul ball called. On Greinke's second pitch of the sixth, he served up an 89 miles per hour fastball that Barnes lined 398 feet to leftfield, restoring their two-run lead.
Archie Bradley walked off the mound after another scoreless relief outing and tried to appreciate the moment.