Arizona Diamondbacks Get Solid Pitching in Series Win Over Los Angeles Dodgers; Joe Saunders Only Weakpoint

Yahoo! Sports
Saunders is 0-5 to start the season.

​Except for a few innings thrown by struggling Joe Saunders, the Arizona Diamondbacks had a perfect weekend of pitching en route to a series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Diamondbacks lost Saunders' start Friday, 4-3, then cranked out a couple of wins against the Dodgers 1-0 Saturday and 4-1 Sunday.

Josh Collmenter and Ian Kennedy combined with the bullpen to throw 21 innings of one-run ball the rest of the weekend.

Saunders' effort stood in stark contrast to his young rotation mates'. Ian Kennedy continues to impress as he matures into a veteran while Collmenter was excellent in the first start of his major league career.

Saunders looked alright to start the game, but then he gave up a solo shot to Rod Barajas in the bottom of the fifth. The next inning, he got himself into trouble by allowing back-to-back singles to Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles to lead off the inning. Andre Ethier lined out for the Dodgers but Matt Kemp doubled in Carroll.

He managed to minimize the damage but getting James Loney and Barajas out to snuff out the threat, but he just couldn't keep out of trouble.

It seemed as if Saunders would get out of the seventh unscathed, as he got Jerry Sands and Russell Mitchell out to kick off the frame, but then he walked Carroll and gave up a single to Miles, scoring Carroll on a bad throw by Stephen Drew. Manager Kirk Gibson took Saunders out but Andre Ethier drove Miles in on a second off Joe Paterson, closing the book on Saunders.

Clayton Kershaw was spectacular for seven innings on the Dodgers' end, allowing three hits and striking out 11. The Los Angeles bullpen gave up three runs combined in the eighth and ninth innings but the Diamondbacks couldn't overcome their own sloppy defense and bad pitching.

Saturday's contest was straightforward: Josh Collmenter threw six innings of two-hit ball to get the win against the Dodgers. David Hernández, Aaron Heilman, and JJ Putz combined out of the bullpen to keep the Dodgers scoreless.

Chad Billingsley was a hard-luck loser for the Dodgers, throwing eight innings of one-hit and one-run ball. The only run he allowed came in the second inning, when Stephen Drew led off with a double and advanced to third on a bad pickoff attempt by Billingsley. Melvin Mora later came up and hit a sacrifice fly to give the Diamondbacks the lead.

The Diamondbacks scored all their runs during Sunday's win in a giant second-inning burst but managed to keep the game from becoming anticlimatic. Xavier Nady homered with Drew on base to kick off the scoring. Ryan Roberts homered to deep left. Later, Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly with Miguel Montero on third to net the fourth run.

Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy threw six innings of one-run, four-hit ball with eight strikeouts. He allowed a run on a single by Miles in the third plating Carroll but nothing after. In a long season with a team few expect to contend, Kennedy is a bright spot worth tuning in for.

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Gregory Pratt
Contact: Gregory Pratt