The Los Angeles Dodgers needed a strong effort from starter Dan Haren and their bullpen on Friday night, and that’s exactly what they’d get in a 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
It didn’t look like a game where you’d need your starter to throw up a bunch of zero’s on the scoreboard, especially after a first inning where Los Angeles had three hits and a batter hit by a pitch. But the Dodgers failed to score a run with the bases loaded, and that’s not breaking news.
The Diamondbacks successful challenge didn’t do any favors for the Dodgers in that first inning, when umpires overturned a call at first base from safe to out after Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice following Yasiel Puig, who was hit by a pitch.
Haren’s run support came one inning later, thanks to a Ramirez bloop single to right field that gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead and ended his 0-for-20 stretch. Matt Kemp added to the Dodgers lead in third inning by hitting his 18th home run of the season into the Arizona bullpen, off Diamondbacks starter, Vidal Nuno.
“See the ball, hit the ball,” Kemp said. “Getting good pitchers to hit, and taking advantage of mistakes.”
Arizona posed a threat in the fifth inning after a single and a double put runners on second and third with no outs. Didi Gregorius knocked in a run with a sac-fly, scoring A.J. Pollock from third base on Puig’s late throw to the plate. Haren escaped without any further damage, and finished six innings with six strikeouts, one walk, and one run on four hits. He’s now 4-1 in five starts against Arizona in 2014.
“I had one real jam with runners on second and third and no outs, I threw a ton of pitches that inning but I was really just trying to limit them to one run,” Haren said.
The bullpen held down the fort for the Dodgers. Pedro Baez pitched a perfect seven-pitch seventh inning and recorded one out in the eighth. He’s now pitched 9.1 scoreless innings in six appearances at Dodger Stadium. And then, J.P. Howell recorded the second out before handing it over to Brian Wilson for the third and final out of the inning.
That was the bridge to closer Kenley Jansen, who earned his 40th save of the season. He became just the fourth Dodger to post a 40-save season along with Eric Gagne, Todd Worrell and Jeff Shaw. A big milestone for the 26-year-old closer, “It’s crazy, just doing this for a short time,” Jansen said. “You don’t understand, 40, when people say milestone and stuff like that, sometimes you try to realize how much it is. I’m just happy to be doing a great job this year and try to help the team win.”
The Dodgers improved to 13-4 against Arizona this season.
W: Dan Haren (12-10, 4.17)
L: Vidal Nuno (2-10, 4.37)
S: Kenley Jansen (40)