It's beginning to appear that October baseball will be in the cards for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The National League West leaders are closing in on their first division title since 2007, the last time they swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in three games on the road.
The Diamondbacks and Dodgers will wrap up their three-game set tonight from Chavez Ravine. Arizona has won the first two installments of this series and hasn't swept the Dodgers in three games in Hollywood since Aug. 3-5, 2007. It is 18-3 in its last 21 games and trimmed its magic number for an NL West title to six with Tuesday's 5-4 victory in 10 innings.
Chris Young drew a bases-loaded walk and Gerardo Parra came home for the go- ahead run for the D'Backs, who are 8 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco in the division standings. Miguel Montero hit a two-run homer and finished with three RBI, while Parra ended 3-for-5 with a home run and three runs scored. Ian Kennedy was aiming to become the NL's first 20-game winner, but did not record a decision after he was reached for four runs in six innings. Micah Owings improved to 7-0 on the season after he tossed a scoreless ninth inning and J.J. Putz notched his 40th save in the bottom of the 10th.
"I didn't have my best stuff. My command wasn't as sharp," Kennedy said. "I'm glad my team picked me up."
Arizona is still even with Milwaukee for the second-best record in the National League and home-field advantage in the NL Division series.
Daniel Hudson will take the hill for Arizona tonight and he has won four straight starts. He recorded his third complete game of the season and third of his career in Friday's 3-2 win over San Diego, as he gave up two runs -- one earned -- and five hits with seven strikeouts. Hudson is 16-9 in 30 starts to go along with a 3.41 ERA and 6-2 in his previous eight decisions.
The right-hander is 7-5 in 15 road starts this season and 2-0 with a 1.53 earned run average in two career starts against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles has lost three in a row since a four-game winning streak and had the Diamondbacks on the ropes in last night's extra-inning loss. Javy Guerra pitched the final two innings and was dealt the loss for walking three batters, including Young in the 10th inning.
"We had a couple chances to put it away, but we didn't get the hit we needed," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley yielded three runs on four hits and three walks over 6 1/3 frames in the no-decision for LA, which set the tone early with four runs in the first inning. Jerry Sands had two hits and an RBI and both James Loney and Aaron Miles knocked in a run. Matt Kemp owns 20 homers against Arizona, the most versus any opponent.
Los Angeles is 0-2 so far on a 10-game homestand and will hand ace Clayton Kershaw the ball tonight. Kershaw is 5-0 in his last six starts and 10-1 with a 1.19 ERA over his previous 12 outings, with the Dodgers going 10-2 in that stretch. Kershaw allowed one unearned run in eight innings with nine K's in Friday's 2-1 win at San Francisco and improved to 18-5 with a 2.36 ERA in 30 starts this season.
Kershaw lost at Arizona on Aug. 7 and is 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in nine career starts in this matchup. The lefty and NL Cy Young Award candidate has been stellar at home this season, going 10-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 14 starts. He is trying to become the first Dodgers pitcher to win 19 games in a season since Ramon Martinez tallied 20 in 1990.
Arizona has won nine of 14 meetings with Los Angeles this season, including six of eight matchups at Dodger Stadium.