LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks didn't put themselves in a position to challenge for the NL West lead by playing sloppy baseball, or by failing to come up with shutdown innings by their pitching staff after scoring.
But those glaring problems came back to bite the D'Backs on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who capitalized on an error by right fielder Justin Upton to score three unearned insurance runs in the seventh inning for a 9-5 victory.
``It wasn't a very clean game for us,' manager Kirk Gibson said. ``We gave up nine runs, and six of them were earned. Three times we scored, they came right back in those innings. So we had a hard time shutting them down, for sure.'
With one out and runners on first and second, pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a fly ball to the warning track in right that Upton misjudged for a two-base error. James Loney scored on the play, then Jamey Carroll hit a sacrifice fly and Rafael Furcal followed with an RBI double to make it 9-5.
``It's not an easy play,' Gibson said regarding Upton's ninth error. ``He was playing in a little bit and had to go all the way back to the wall. But he showed some emotion when he came back into the dugout.'
Arizona rookie Josh Collmenter (6-6) threw 81 pitches over 3 2-3 innings in the shortest of his 14 big league starts, giving up five runs and seven hits.
In Collmenter's first big league start on May 14 at Dodger Stadium, the 25-year-old right-hander allowed two hits over six innings in a 1-0 victory over Chad Billingsley - whose throwing error on an attempted pickoff to an uncovered second base resulted in an unearned run.
``It was a new pitcher we were facing that time. I think that was his first start, and we didn't really know too much about him,' said Matt Kemp, who hit a three-run homer and a two-run single.
``But tonight we remembered him from last time, and it was a little bit easier to face him because we knew what he had and what his pitches looked like. And we hopped on him tonight.'
Ryan Roberts hit his 14th homer in the second for the D'Backs, but the Dodgers responded with three in the third on Kemp's 25th homer.
Aaron Miles' sharp single went off Collmenter's lower right leg and ricocheted into foul territory behind third base. After a trainer came out to check on him, Collmenter gave up an opposite-field single by Andre Ethier on an 0-2 count, and Kemp drove the next pitch to right-center - becoming the first player this season with at least 25 homers and 25 stolen bases.
Collmenter had control problems in the fourth, hitting Furcal and Ethier. Furcal was erased when Miles bounced into a fielder's choice. But Ethier was plunked on a 1-1 count, loading the bases, and Kemp chased Collmenter with a two-run single to center that made it 5-2.
``His command wasn't like it has been recently - really all year,' Gibson said. ``He struggled and got behind in the counts, walked guys hit a couple of guys and they were able to get some big hits.'
Kemp's five RBIs game him a league-leading 80 for the season, three more than Philadelphia slugger Ryan Howard.
The only Dodger to finish a season as the NL leader in RBIs since the club relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958 was Tommy Davis. He drove in a franchise-record 153 runs in 1962, Dodger Stadium's inaugural season.
``That's really not important to me. What's important is winning games,' said Kemp, who had a career-high 101 RBIs in 2009 and dropped off to 89 last season. ``If I drive in runs, we win. I just want to do good for the team and try to make things happen around here.'
The All-Star center fielder has seven career games with five or more RBIs, including June 4 at Cincinnati, when he hit a tying grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs in an 11-8 victory in 11 innings.
``Last year was a disappointing year on the field for me, and I just didn't want to repeat that,' Kemp added. ``I promised that I would try my best not to let that happen again. And hopefully, I hope that never happens again. I don't like struggling. It's not a good feeling. I would say I was a little more focused in my offseason training and getting stronger and faster, and so far it's worked out.'
Arizona remained four games back of division-leading San Francisco, which lost 4-3 in 13 innings at Cincinnati. The Dodgers are 12 1/2 games off the pace, but things would be a lot worse without Kemp's numbers.
``I feel like I'm having a bad season because we're having a bad season,' Kemp said. ``I'd feel great if we were in first place and I had these numbers. I've just got to keep doing this so we can get back in the race. There's still a lot of games left to play and there's still hope for us.'
Ted Lilly (7-10) allowed three runs - two earned - and three hits in five innings for Los Angeles. The home runs he allowed by Roberts and Willie Bloomquist both were solo shots. The left-hander has given up 23, by far the most on the staff.
Notes: Upton has six homers in his past eight games and 21 on the season. ... Dodgers LF Juan Rivera doubled his first two times up. ... Roberts is 3 for 9 against Lilly, and all of the hits have been home runs.
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