The Associated PressPHOENIX (AP) — Yu Darvish wasn’t always sharp in his second start as a Los Angeles Dodger, but a slow curveball he introduced toward the end of his outing helped him make it through five innings and get another win.
So did plenty of run support from his new teammates. National League batting average leader Justin Turner and Kike Hernandez drove in a combined five runs, and the Dodgers picked up an 8-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
The Dodgers, with two wins in the three-game series with Arizona, have won or tied 18 straight series, not having lost one since June 5-7 against Washington. They have won 15 of their last 17 games. The Diamondbacks have lost four of five.
“I struggled to throw first-pitch strikes. It was a battle throughout the game,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “I was going maybe too aggressive with my fastball. So [pitching coach Rick] Honeycutt came to me during the game and said, ‘Hey, let’s go mix it up with slow pitches,’ and that’s when I threw the curve ball.”
The Dodgers staked Darvish to a three-run lead before he even took the mound. Two singles and a two-out walk to Logan Forsythe brought up Hernandez, who with two strikes pulled a bases-clearing double into the left-field corner.
“The intent when he is in the batter’s box, he’s looking to slug,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Hernandez.
“He likes the fastball, but for him to stay back on the slider was big, and I think with Kike the average (.224) doesn’t speak to the quality of at-bats and the production that he’s given us.”
Darvish got out of the first two innings with six three-ball counts, and Arizona rallied as his pitch count climbed.
J.D. Martinez hit his 23rd home run, a solo shot in the fourth that was his seventh as a Diamondback. It cut the Dodgers’ lead to 3-2.
But Chris Taylor greeted Arizona reliever Jake Barrett with a line drive into the left-field seats on the first pitch of the fifth inning. Barrett walked Corey Seager, and one out later, Cody Bellinger hit a dribbler up the third-base line that catcher Chris Iannetta fielded and threw wildly to first base, allowing Seager to score.
With two outs, Austin Barnes reached on a broken-bat infield hit, driving in Bellinger for a 6-2 lead.
That was enough support for Darvish (8-9), who allowed two runs and five hits and struck out 10 throwing 106 pitches. He became the second Dodger in franchise history with at least 10 strikeouts in his first two starts with the club.
“Ultimately, you look at five innings, 10 punches. Got the punch when he needed to,” Roberts said.