Ted Lilly has been a major part of the turnaround for the Los Angeles Dodgers and his unblemished record is proof. Lilly has a chance to stay unbeaten on the season and pitch his team to a seventh straight win as well as a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight at Chase Field.
Lilly has received at least six runs of support in five of his seven starts this season, going 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in that time. He had won three straight starts until posting a no-decision the previous time out in a 6-5 win versus St. Louis last Friday. He gave up four unearned runs in seven innings, struck out six batters and did not issue a walk for the first time this season.
The veteran left-hander will pitch on the road for the first time since May 1 at Colorado and has won both of his starts away from Chavez Ravine. Lilly has made 14 career appearances (12 starts) against Arizona and is 5-7 with a 4.14 earned run average.
Los Angeles has won each of Lilly's last four starts and rallied for an 8-7 win over the D-Backs last night. Ivan De Jesus put the Dodgers ahead for good with a two-run double in the top of the ninth inning and finished with three RBI. De Jesus is just another example of players stepping up for the injury- depleted Dodgers, while Tony Gwynn Jr. ended 3-for-5 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored for Los Angeles, which has won six in a row and 11 of 13.
"I was just looking for a fastball, just looking for a fastball to drive in, and I was going to home plate just aggressive, just aggressive and that's what I did," De Jesus said of his hit in the ninth inning.
Dodgers starter Aaron Harang struck out six and gave up five runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings for the no-decision. Josh Lindblom earned the win with a scoreless eighth inning and Kenley Jansen struck out two in the ninth for his sixth save of the season.
After tonight's game the NL West-leading Dodgers will return to L.A. for a seven-game homestand versus Houston and Milwaukee. They haven't won seven straight games since a nine-game burst in 2010 and hope slugger Matt Kemp (hamstring) will return some time next week. Manager Don Mattingly wants to see the center fielder get some work in down in the minors first, however.
"We want him to play a couple rehab games; one at least, two would be better," Mattingly told the club's website. "Maybe the 29th, maybe the 28th. Sue [Falsone, trainer] will tell us if it's the 28th or 29th. It would be crazy to rush him by a day."
Arizona continued to falter last night and has dropped two straight, three of four and 12 of its last 17 contests.
Closer J.J. Putz was saddled with the loss and his third blown save for allowing the game-winning runs to score in the top of the ninth inning. Trevor Cahill pitched well in the start, as he fired six innings of one-run ball, struck out six and walked three batters.
Lyle Overbay collected four hits, including a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, and scored three runs for the Diamondbacks, who are 0-2 on a six-game homestand and 7-14 in the desert this season. Josh Bell also homered and Justin Upton went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
"It's kind of frustrating, we just couldn't get her done, we had our chance, we battled in the ninth and just couldn't get the tying run across," Overbay said.
D-Backs catcher Miguel Montero is out until at least Friday because of a strained left groin. Montero is batting .255 on the season with two homers and 21 RBI. The club promoted catcher Konrad Schmidt from Triple-A Reno on Tuesday as insurance and Henry Blanco is now the full-time catcher.
Arizona, which will also host Milwaukee on the residency, hopes Joe Saunders can pitch both the club and himself back into the win column tonight. Saunders is 0-2 in his past four starts and did not receive a decision in last Friday's 6-4 win at Kansas City after he allowed three runs in six innings. He is 2-3 on the season in eight starts to go along with a 3.55 earned run average.
Saunders, a lefty, is just 1-3 in four home outings and 3-6 with a 3.89 ERA in 11 career starts against the Dodgers.
Arizona and Los Angeles split two meetings last week in L.A.