In possible playoff preview, Dodgers’ Alex Wood outduels Zack Greinke
Dodgers Cody Bellinger stands on the field before the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning.(Matt York / AP)
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Adam Rosales throws to first after forcing out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager on a double play hit into by Justin Turner during the first inning.(Matt York / AP)
Arizona Diamondbacks’ Adam Rosales is held up by Los Angeles Dodgers Corey Seager after throwing to first on a double play hit into by Justin Turner during the first inning.(Matt York / AP)
Corey Seager flips his bat after drawing a walk against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Dodgers Cody Bellinger hits a solo home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Dodgers Cody Bellinger reacts in the dugout after hitting a solo home against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Dodgers Yasiel Puig reacts after being tagged out by infielder Adam Rosales of the Arizona Diamondbacks attempting to steal second base during the third inning.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
J.D. Martinez of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws his bat as he swings at a pitch during the fourth inning.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Fans and players attempt to catch a thrown bat from J.D. Martinez (not pictured) of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the fourth inning.(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers Yasiel Puig wipes his brow during the third inning.(Matt York / AP)
Los Angeles Dodgers Chase Utley hits against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning.(Matt York / AP)
Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson scores on a base hit by Yasiel Puig as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Jeff Mathis waits for the throw during the seventh inning.(Matt York / AP)
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson celebrates after scoring on a hit by Yasiel Puig against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning.(Matt York / AP)
Two months from Wednesday, the Dodgers most likely will play Game 3 of the National League division series on the road. Most likely, they will start Alex Wood, their 26-year-old All-Star left-hander. Most likely, they will play either Arizona or Colorado, whichever team wins the National League wild-card game.
If it is Arizona, the Diamondbacks will most likely start ex-Dodger Zack Greinke on Oct. 9 at Chase Field, making Wednesday’s game quite the postseason preview.
“Obviously, you can look at the standings and understand what’s possible,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “If that does happen, it’ll be fun.”
In Wood vs. Greinke at Chase Field Part 1, the Dodgers surpassed the Diamondbacks, 3-2, spurred by a seventh-inning rally against a tiring Greinke. Wood, improving to 14-1, regained the velocity he had lost in his last start by employing a hip adjustment made Sunday in New York, and both starting pitchers held their opponents to a solo shot through five innings.
Cody Bellinger struck first to begin the second.
Greinke threw the rookie a fastball up and in, grazing the edge of the strike zone. Bellinger whipped his bat and generated enough torque to propel the ball out to right field.
That was the Dodgers’ lone hit until the seventh, though they drew four walks up to that point, including a disputed one in the sixth by Chris Taylor. For the ninth pitch of their battle, Greinke fired a fastball along the apparent black of home plate. Taylor laid off, home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called it a ball, and Greinke crouched in disbelief, displaying more emotion than he typically did as a Dodger.
Wood permitted his first hit in the second, a double by J.D. Martinez, and a solo shot to Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth. He left a fastball over the middle of plate, and Goldschmidt banged it off of the batter’s eye.
Then, in the sixth, Yasiel Puig cursed himself when he could not catch A.J. Pollock’s ground-rule double to right. That proved consequential when Martinez dug up a low changeup and stroked it to center field for the go-ahead single.
The Dodgers’ rejoinder was a seventh-inning rally. With the count 3-and-2, Greinke (13-5) threw Bellinger another up-and-in fastball, a little lower than earlier. Bellinger again anticipated it and lined a double to right field. With two outs, Greinke missed with a 1-and-0 changeup and Joc Pederson hit a tying double to right to snap an 0-for-23 streak.
“You could see the exhale and the boyish smile,” Roberts said.
Two pitches later, Puig snuck a grounder into right field. As he neared first base, he happily motioned for Pederson to run home.
As an explanation for his demonstrations, Puig said he has not been receiving many opportunities to drive in key runs because of the likes of Bellinger and Taylor.
After Wood was pulled after six innings, Roberts deployed Josh Fields in the seventh. When Fields set down the Diamondbacks in seven pitches, Roberts stuck with the right-hander for the eighth and earned another quick inning thanks to Goldschmidt hitting into a double play.
After beginning to warm up with a man on in the eighth, Kenley Jansen waited out the Dodgers’ challenge for insurance runs in the top of the ninth. He secured his 29th save, his lone misstep a hit batsman.
It was the Dodgers’ 80th victory, and their 12th consecutive in games decided by one run, dating to June 28. Their players were left to fend off questions about how much they are thinking about the playoffs.
Puig said he’d prefer to face Colorado over Arizona because of how the Diamondbacks have played the Dodgers this season — close. But, when pressed, he said it did not much matter.
Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura
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