If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will do just that in their pursuit of an NL West title when they close out a four-game series Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Los Angeles had a chance to sew up its first division title since 2009 and dropped a 9-4 decision Wednesday to the Diamondbacks. A five-run eighth inning for Arizona kept L.A.'s champagne on ice and its magic number at two, as Paul Goldschmidt homered for an NL-leading 34th time this season and has three home runs and nine RBI in his last four games.
Adam Eaton knocked in three runs and D'backs starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy earned the win with six innings of three-run ball.
"It became an outing where you just got to fight through as long as you can," said McCarthy.
Stephen Fife took the loss for the Dodgers and was reached for four runs in just 2 1/3 innings of work. Yasiel Puig went 3-for-4 with a homer and Tim Federowicz added a solo shot for the Dodgers, who ended a four-game slide with Tuesday's 9-3 victory.
"We're fine," Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said afterward. "Win tomorrow. If not, win two in San Diego."
The Dodgers are scheduled to open a three-game series in San Diego this weekend and will hand Ricky Nolasco the ball Thursday. Nolasco has thrived in L.A. since coming over via trade from the Miami Marlins and is 8-2 in 13 starts with a 2.63 earned run average with the Dodgers.
Los Angeles had won Nolasco's last four starts until a 19-3 blowout to San Francisco on Saturday, when he surrendered seven runs, five of which were earned, and seven hits in only 1 1/3 innings. Nolasco was 7-0 in his last 10 trips to the hill before the loss. The right-hander has won all three meetings with the D'backs this season and is 8-2 in 11 career starts to go along with a 3.48 ERA in this series.
Arizona won for the fifth time in seven tries on Wednesday and will try to postpone the Dodgers' party plans once again. After this set the D'backs will start their final road trip of the season Friday against Colorado and San Diego.
Taking the mound for Arizona Thursday will be Wade Miley. Miley has a 10-10 record in 30 starts with a 3.70 ERA and put the brakes on a six-game winless drought (0-2) Saturday in a 9-2 win over Colorado, allowing just two runs over 6 1/3 innings. Miley has allowed exactly two runs in two straight and three of his last four appearances.
Miley, a left-hander, is 1-0 in two starts against the Dodgers this season and 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in seven matchups (6 starts) lifetime versus Los Angeles.
Arizona leads the season series with Los Angeles by a 10-8 margin, but the Dodgers have won six of the previous nine encounters.