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Alex Wood's dominant outing carries Los Angeles Dodgers past Arizona Diamondbacks

By Joseph D'Hippolito, The Sports Xchange
Alex Wood's dominant outing carries Los Angeles Dodgers past Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Alex Wood (57). Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES -- Within six days, left-hander Alex Wood of the Los Angeles Dodgers shifted from exasperating to dominant.

Wood retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced as the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 on Wednesday night in front of 44,244 at Dodger Stadium.

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"That's the best we've seen him pitch," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. "Early, I thought we were going to get him. Then he just settled in and was cutting us up."

Wood (1-1) generated 13 groundouts in seven-plus innings, scattered four hits and finished with three walks and three strikeouts.

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"He was working ahead and spinning the baseball," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Sometimes, he likes his fastball. He trusts his fastball. But that third time through the order, he really kept them off-balance with the change and set them up for the fastball."

In his first start April 7, Wood allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings in suffering a 12-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

"I thought my stuff and my command was a lot better in my first outing, but that's just baseball," Wood said. "I was a little erratic at first but I made some pitches when I had to."

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Closer Kenley Jansen retired all five batters he faced, striking out two, to earn his third save.

Offensively, Adrian Gonzalez hit his first home run of the season while Yasiel Puig and Chase Utley added two hits apiece for Los Angeles.

Despite Nick Ahmed's third home run and Jean Segura's two hits, the Diamondbacks sustained their third loss in four games.

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The Dodgers broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning by combining two hits, two fielder's choices and two errors to score two runs. Howie Kendrick began the inning with a single off right-hander Rubby De La Rosa's glove, then moved to third base when Arizona center fielder Chris Owings bobbled Joc Pederson's single.

Kendrick came home when Chase Utley hit a ground ball to shortstop Nick Ahmed, who attempted to start a double play. But Ahmed's throw hit Pederson, who moved to third base on the error. Pederson then scored on Corey Seager's fielder's choice.

"It looked like the ball just slipped out of Nick's hand," Hale said. "We usually make those plays."

Arizona put the potential tying runs on base in the top of the eighth inning. Wood retired 11 successive Diamondbacks before pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin hit a lead-off single to chase Wood. Gosselin hit the ball to the right side of the infield and beat Wood to first base.

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"Outside of covering first base late," Roberts said, "(Wood) did everything right."

Ahmed then lined out against right-hander Pedro Baez but Jean Segura followed with a walk.

Jansen replaced Baez, struck out pinch-hitter David Peralta and induced a deep fly out from Paul Goldschmidt to defuse the threat.

The Diamondbacks used Ahmed's third home run to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. On a 1-1 pitch, Ahmed propelled Wood's 91 mph fastball into the first row of the bleachers in left-center field.

But Los Angeles tied the score in the bottom of the fourth on Adrian Gonzalez's first home run. Gonzalez sent De La Rosa's 97 mph fastball on a full count one-third of the way up the bleachers in right-center field.

Until Gonzalez's homer, De La Rosa (0-2) conceded just one hit and one walk through 3 1/3 innings while inducing seven groundouts. The right-hander allowed two earned runs, five hits, a walk and a hit batter in 4 2/3 innings with three strikeouts.

"He deserved better," Hale said. "He worked quick and he was hitting his spots. He threw the pitches he needed to get the ground balls for the double plays."

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NOTES: Joe Garagiola, the former NBC broadcaster who worked as the Diamondbacks' part-time color commentator from 1998-2012, was buried Wednesday in St. Louis, his hometown. Garagiola died March 23 at 90. Team president Derrick Hall was among executives representing the Diamondbacks. ... Arizona RHP Brad Ziegler set a club record with his 29th consecutive save Tuesday. Ziegler broke J.J. Putz's standard of 28 set from July 27, 2011 to April 12, 2012. ... Los Angeles led the major leagues with 23 doubles and 85 hits entering the game. ... Dodgers UT Howie Kendrick made his first start in left field since 2011. Kendrick spent the vast majority of his career at second base. ... Dodgers SS Corey Seager saw his 11-game hitting streak dating from Oct. 1 broken. ... Dodgers C Yasmani Grandal made his first start of the season after being activated from the disabled list Tuesday.

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