Originally Published: October 8, 2017 6:02 a.m.
LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig had three hits and drove in two runs, Austin Barnes added a key two-run double and the Los Angeles Dodgers used another relentless offensive performance to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5 on Saturday night for a 2-0 lead in their NL Division Series.
Logan Forsythe had three hits and Kenley Jansen earned a flawless five-out save for the 104-win Dodgers, who have made their mediocre pitching irrelevant by pounding out 17 runs and 24 hits in the first two games against their NL West rival.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Brandon Drury added a pinch-hit, three-run shot in the seventh, but the Diamondbacks are on the brink of elimination after Robbie Ray and reliever Jimmie Sherfy couldn’t contain the Dodgers’ lineup.
Game 3 of the best-of-five matchup is Monday at Chase Field. Arizona ace Zack Greinke will attempt to save the season when he faces his former teammates with the Dodgers, who counter with late-season acquisition Yu Darvish.
Greinke is probably the Diamondbacks’ best chance to stop the Dodgers from scoring their way out of every problem.
“If you had to pick the one guy to stop the situation we’re in, we’ve got the right guy in Zack Greinke,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Los Angeles turned an early 2-0 deficit in Game 2 into a 7-2 advantage with a four-run rally in the fifth.
Forsythe got his first career playoff RBI during that stretch, and Barnes followed with his two-run double. With the Dodger Stadium crowd chanting his name, Puig added an RBI single to his earlier run-scoring groundout, flipping his bat and pointing back to the Dodgers’ dugout as he sprinted toward first base.
Puig has five hits and four RBIs in two games, but the exuberant Cuban slugger is just one purring component of the Dodgers’ formidable offensive machine.
Rich Hill made it through just four innings for the Dodgers, yielding three hits and three walks. Kenta Maeda got the victory by getting three outs of middle relief.
The Dodgers pounded out six runs on eight hits in a two-inning stretch against three Diamondbacks pitchers, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 7-2 lead.
Drury kept it close with his no-doubt shot in the seventh on Brandon Morrow’s first pitch, but the Dodgers rallied for another run in the bottom half.
Ray had been outstanding in five regular-season starts against the Dodgers, but he struggled mightily with his control from the first inning. The left-hander walked four of nine batters early on, and the Dodgers didn’t get their first hit until Forsythe, Barnes and Puig delivered consecutive singles in the fourth in a go-ahead rally.
Manager Dave Roberts went to Jansen after Daniel Descalso’s one-out double off Josh Fields in the eighth, and the vaunted closer reprised his multiple-inning dominance from last October. Jansen mowed down five straight batters, getting David Peralta on a groundout to end it. Jansen even got to bat, watching three fastballs from Archie Bradley during an eighth-inning strikeout.
Justin Turner drove in five runs in the Dodgers’ 9-5 victory in Game 1, which began with a four-run first inning against Arizona’s Taijuan Walker. Turner went 1 for 4 in Game 2 and popped out with the bases loaded to end the seventh, but the Dodgers didn’t even need their slugging third baseman.
The Diamondbacks got the jump on Game 2 when Goldschmidt drove a one-out pitch from Hill off the back of the Dodgers’ bullpen behind left field. Hill struggled with his control and never found a groove, but stranded runners in scoring position in the second and third innings to keep it close.
Roberts used seven pitchers, including Maeda. The Japanese 13-game winner didn’t make the Division Series rotation, but he needed only nine pitches to retire three Diamondbacks in the fifth and sixth.
With 54,726 fans in attendance, the Dodgers had their largest crowd in Chavez Ravine since 2012, before renovations to the venerable stadium. The crowd also was one of the season’s loudest, egged on by Puig’s enthusiasm and by Hill, who held up a cardboard sign in the seventh inning exhorting fans to get loud.
Greinke couldn’t make it through four innings in the Diamondbacks’ wild-card game, but nobody around the Dodgers doubts the $206.5 million right-hander who won 51 games in three years with Los Angeles. Darvish went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA in two months with the Dodgers, but the Japanese star yielded just one earned run in 19 1/3 innings over his final three starts before the postseason.