first_imgLOS ANGELES — Among other things, Thursday night showed that Robbie Ray was not just a one-year wonderment for the Dodgers.Unlike last year, he is only one of their obstacles.The Arizona left-hander was one of the few major league pitchers who had the combination to lock up the 2017 National League champs. He struck out 37 of them in 20-1/3 innings last season and came into this game with 49 punchouts in his past four visits to Dodger Stadium.Injury and delivery imprecisions have slowed Ray this year, but he floated into the opener of this four-game series like an ominous ghost. He blanked the Dodgers through five innings and only left when Manny Machado belted a one-out home run in the sixth. “I was on third when David hit that one, and he mashed it,” Ray said with a smile. “He’s been doing that every night for us. On that double play, I was sliding into second and just trying to put my hands in front of my face. I’m not involved in plays like that very often.”“He (Hill) dropped down, but he did that earlier in the game,” said Peralta, who was a pitcher in the Cardinals’ organization, was released after arm injuries, and learned how to hit for the Amarillo Sox, Wichita Wranglers and the Rio Grande Valley White Wings, all teams in independent leagues, before Arizona signed him. He has 26 home runs and 74 RBIs.“I really thought that ball was off the wall,” Peralta added. “Then it went ahead and went on. I went, ‘Whoo.’”Hill was gone after five, despite seven strikeouts and no walks, and the Dodgers got quality work from four relievers. The drama only arises when they get leads, apparently. On Friday, they’ll have to get a lead against Zack Greinke.In their past four games against contending teams, they have scored seven runs and lost them all. Life was easier when only one man had their number. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start By then the Diamondbacks had enough runs, and enough defense and bullpen to sustain them, and they won 3-1 to shove the Dodgers two games behind in the National League West.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.As Ray was recounting his performance, slight applause wafted in from various clubhouse rooms.San Diego’s Franmil Reyes had just taken Colorado’s Brian Shaw over the wall, and the Rockies were 13th-inning losers and dropped 1½ games behind Arizona.But nobody’s worried about anything except the game at hand. Right.The Dodgers are 2½ games out of the second NL wild-card spot. This is not an irrevocable series, not with another series at Arizona on the docket later, but a four-game sweep would make the terms of engagement somewhat forbidding. The Diamondbacks are the only team that can do that now. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Ray struck out Matt Kemp and Kiké Hernandez in the first, with two men on. He struck out Chris Taylor and retired Yasiel Puig with two men on in the fourth. He got a double play ball from Justin Turner in the third, then struck out the side in the fifth. The Dodgers put up another triple-K in the ninth and struck out 15 times all told.Taylor, the National League’s whiff leader, is perhaps the most graphic illustration of why this year isn’t last year. He struck out four times Thursday on a total of 16 pitches.“We haven’t played them since May,” Ray said. “They hadn’t seen me and maybe that helped me tonight. But when I’m able to make a pitch on time, it makes a big difference. There were times when I might have gotten behind a guy by a pitch or two, and I was able to execute and it would come out 94 (mph). The pitches were pretty crisp tonight. It might have been the best I’ve thrown this season.”Ray had an oblique strain that kept him out from late April to late June, and he had a 1.459 WHIP, as opposed to 1.154 last year when he finished seventh in Cy Young Award voting.He also figured in Arizona’s only scoring inning. He led off the fifth by slapping a single to left off Rich Hill.“Third hit of the season for him,” noted Dave Roberts, the Dodgers manager.Steven Souza singled and A.J. Pollock slapped a standard-issue double play ball to Justin Turner at third. But Turner threw wide to second, and Brian Dozier had to stretch every ligament to keep the ball from getting away. Thus, the Dodgers got one out instead of two, which meant Paul Goldschmidt’s pop foul was the second out instead of the third.David Peralta, hitting .382 in August, did not let that deed go unpunished. He lined Hill’s first-pitch fastball into the right-field pavilion.Ray and Souza scored ahead of him and it was 3-0.“They hit a three-run homer and we had a solo homer and that was the difference,” said Roberts, who also could have mentioned the double play that didn’t get turned, compared to the eighth-inning, one-out bouncer by Matt Kemp that the Diamondbacks did turn. That happened with two on and one out against reliever Yoshi Hirano.Related Articleslast_img