PHOENIX (AP) — Yu Darvish wasn’t always sharp in his second start as a Los Angeles Dodger, but a slow curve ball 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 night.
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.
Turner hit a two-run double high off the center-field wall in the sixth off reliever Jorge De La Rosa. Diamondbacks starter Anthony Banda (1-2) got through only four innings and took the loss.
The Diamondbacks scored four straight runs, starting with Iannetta’s two-run homer in the sixth. Ketel Marte singled in two runs in the eighth off reliever Brandon Morrow to make it 8-6, but Tony Cingrani struck out Gregor Blanco and David Peralta to end the threat.
“Threw some heaters, threw some sliders and they missed the ball,” Cingrani said.
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth inning for his 30th save.
“It’s a good marker for us. We go up against a team like this and we see what we are all about,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We fought hard. Am I concerned? No. Minimal concern. I think we are doing just fine.”
BAD BAT BOUNCE
Turner made a productive out in his team’s three-run fifth inning, despite tripping and tumbling over his bouncing bat as he headed up the first base line on a grounder hit to third. Turner moved teammate Seager into scoring position.
Brandon Drury, who had been the Diamondbacks’ starting second baseman until earlier in the month, did not start for the fifth straight game.
“We switched roles for a reason. We feel very comfortable with Daniel Descalso and Adam Rosales playing second base,” Lovullo said. “Brandon knows what’s going on. It’s been outlined to him, and right now his role is coming off the bench to help us win a game there with the idea of continuing to improve in a couple of areas and winning back playing time.”
Lovullo said Drury, who is batting .271 in 98 games, has been solid offensively, but needs to work on his defense. Drury struck out as a pinch hitter in the fourth inning Wednesday.
Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig wasn’t in the starting lineup Thursday due to light hamstring soreness, manager Dave Roberts said before the game, but Puig entered the game on a double switch in the seventh. … LHP Tony Watson left the game with a trainer after being hit in the ankle with a liner back to the mound in the seventh. The ball caromed to first base where the Dodgers were able to get an out. Roberts said Watson is fine and was going to be removed from the game anyway for matchup purposes.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray played catch and took batting practice on Thursday, and if he continues to feel well, the plan is to have Ray pitch a simulated game on Saturday. Ray has been on the concussion disabled list after being struck in the head with a batted ball late last month. … OF Rey Fuentes (thumb contusion) played nine innings and got four at-bats for Triple-A Reno Wednesday night, and will play Friday. … OF Yasmany Tomas (right groin injury) was to work on outfield, baserunning and hitting drills with the goal of soon getting into a rehab game.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (8-4) will open a three-game series against San Diego on Friday at Dodger Stadium. He’s 3-3 in six career starts against the Padres.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker (6-5) is set to face the Chicago Cubs in the series opener Friday, two days short of his 25th birthday. Walker hasn’t gotten a win since June 21 at Colorado.
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