Dodgers keep rolling along, a 3-1 win giving them a sweep of the Diamondbacks

Dodgers' Yasiel Puig rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

An autumnal chill did not envelop Chavez Ravine on Wednesday night — it was 74 degrees, not an October-like 54 degrees, at first pitch — but Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts sensed a different feeling in the stadium, one that has grown with each passing day of September.

“There’s that anticipation,” Roberts said. “Guys are getting to the ballpark a little bit earlier, and you feel the energy in the crowd at home a lot more. It’s intensified. We all know what’s at stake.”

The six-month marathon has been reduced to a 3 1/2-week sprint, and the Dodgers look like a team capable of a strong finishing kick.

Behind a superb start by another rookie — Brock Stewart — two clutch swings from rejuvenated right fielder Yasiel Puig and a seven-man relief effort, the Dodgers beat Arizona, 3-1, to push their National League West lead over San Francisco to five games with 23 games left.


A suspense-filled evening built to a high point in the seventh inning when the Diamondbacks, trailing, 3-1, loaded the bases with two outs and pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks worked the count full against Dodgers left-hander Grant Dayton.

Weeks fouled off two pitches before Dayton blew a 91-mph fastball by him for strike three, Dayton punctuating it with a violent pump of his fist.

“The crowd gets into it, I heard it tonight,” Dayton said. “It was a huge moment, right? If it had gone the other way, it could have been a game-changer.”

Pedro Baez struck out two of three in the eighth, and Kenley Jansen retired the side in order in the ninth for his 43rd save, as the Dodgers extended their winning streak to five.

Perhaps girding themselves for October baseball, the Dodgers played with a sense of urgency that could be seen in second baseman Charlie Culberson’s diving effort, after an 80-foot sprint, to catch Paul Goldschmidt’s bloop that dropped for a run-scoring double in the first.

And in the way Howie Kendrick, scoring from first on Corey Seager’s first-inning double to right, slid headfirst into the plate to avoid the tag of catcher Chris Herrmann for a 1-1 tie.

And the way Roberts used four relievers — J.P. Howell, Louis Coleman, Luis Avilan and Jesse Chavez — to match up with four batters in the sixth.

The crowd of 44,352 roared in the top of the sixth, when Colorado’s 6-5 victory over San Francisco was posted on the Dodger Stadium scoreboard.

Fans erupted again in the bottom of the sixth when Puig, who hit a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead in the first, lined an 82-mph slider from left-hander Robbie Ray over the left-center-field wall for a homer and a 3-1 lead.

Into this cauldron of a pennant race, the Dodgers sent a rookie to the mound for the fourth straight game. The last Dodgers team to start four straight rookie pitchers before this season played in Brooklyn in 1952.

Stewart, who opened the season at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, gave up one run and five hits in five innings, and for the first time in franchise history, the Dodgers won four straight games with a rookie starter getting the win.

In fact, the five rookies who have started for the Dodgers this season — Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, Stewart and Jose De Leon — have combined to go 23-18 with a 3.90 earned-run average in 59 games.

Stewart walked A.J. Pollock with two outs in the first, and Pollock scored on Goldschmidt’s bloop double. Stewart struck out only one, but he blanked Arizona on four hits over the next four innings despite the leadoff man reaching base in all four innings.

“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I was still able to put the team in position to win,” said Stewart, who earned his first big league victory. “That was a huge confidence boost for me.”

Stewart doesn’t seem to lack confidence, which is why Roberts thought he could handle this assignment.

“His biggest strength for me … is his pulse,” Roberts said. “He doesn’t scare off. For us, that’s been one of the common factors with a lot of our young players.”

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna