Kuroda shines, but Roberts' slam wins it in 10th for Arizona
Kuroda will become a free agent at the end of the season, and at age 36, has said he’s uncertain whether he wants to pitch in the majors again next year or return for a final season to Japan.
When Kuroda took the mound Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, everyone knew it might be his final performance as a Dodger. So all he did was go out and throw six scoreless innings, holding Arizona to five hits. While not walking a batter and striking out five. It was Kuroda at his best.
Just so the humble Kuroda didn’t think anything had changed, the Dodgers typically offered modest support, scoring only one run for him. They finally pushed five across in the 10th, only to see the Diamondbacks come back with six of their own in the bottom of the inning, Roberts' walk-off grand slam leaving Arizona with a stunning 7-6 victory.
Kuroda completed his fourth season with a 13-16 record and a 3.07 earned-run average -– ninth lowest in the National League.
The Dodgers finally broke through with a run in the seventh after Rod Barajas singled and Jamey Carroll walked. Eugenio Velez ran for Barajas and scored when Dee Gordon singled to center off Alberto Castillo.
Velez is a record 0 for 36 on the season, but has nonetheless scored five runs.
The Diamondbacks, however, got the run back in the bottom of the inning after Matt Guerrier walked Chris Young and pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay doubled him home. Mike MacDougal came on with no outs to retire the side and avoid further damage, inducing Paul Goldschmidt into a key double play.
Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out the side. He’s averaged 16.3 strikeouts per nine innings this season, a Major League Baseball record.
The Dodgers' Gordon led off the 10th with a double past a diving Goldschmidt at first -- Goldschmidt was playing up in case Gordon bunted. Reliever Micah Owings then fielded a bunt from Jerry Sands and mistakenly tried to get the speedy Gordon at third. He had no chance, but worse, threw it away for an error to allow Gordon to score.
Matt Kemp then singled Sands home, James Loney’s base hit scored Kemp, Aaron Miles walked and A.J. Ellis tripled two in. Ellis’ drive went off the top of the fence and hit Justin Upton in the side of the head. Upton seemed OK, but left the game.
Blake Hawksworth made a mess of the bottom of the 10th, allowing one run and loading the bases before rookie Javy Guerra came on to walk in one run before facing Roberts. Guerra, who had saved 21 games in 22 opportunities, gave up a line-drive homer to Roberts
As Roberts circled the bases, he looked back at Manager Kirk Gibson and pumped an arm, a la Gibson in the 1988 World Series.
Kemp went two for five with a double, though his bid for a batting title was clearly over even before his first at-bat. He remains two home runs shy of joining the 40-40 club with one game to left. He already has 40 stolen bases.
He was, however, caught for the National League lead in home runs, as Prince Fielder hit three for the Brewers to match Kemp at 38.
The two teams combined to use 41 players.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Arizona's Ryan Roberts celebrates after hitting a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning of the Dodgers' 7-6 loss Tuesday. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images