LOS ANGELES (AP) - A couple of youngsters getting a shot at the end of a losing season made it a memorable game for themselves.
Zach Kroenke scattered two hits over five innings to earn his first major league win and catcher Konrad Schmidt singled in his major league debut, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 on Friday night.
``Getting my first win in the bigs is pretty cool,' said Kroenke, a 26-year-old Rule 5 draftee. ``Konrad getting his first hit is pretty cool. We were on the same page almost all game.'
Adam LaRoche homered and drove in three runs to reach 100 RBIs for the first time as the Diamondbacks ended a three-game skid. He set a franchise season record for RBIs by a first baseman. He left the clubhouse before speaking with reporters.
The Dodgers, coming off a three-game sweep of Colorado, assured themselves of a losing season for the first time since 2005 after going to the playoffs the last two years. It will be the fourth time since 1990 they have finished under .500.
It marks the first losing 162-game season for outgoing Los Angeles manager Joe Torre since 1984 with Atlanta, when the Braves went 80-82. Backup catcher Brad Ausmus managed the Dodgers in place of Torre, who will end his three-year stint running the team on Sunday.
Ausmus was assisted by ``bench coach' Jamey Carroll, ``hitting coach' Russell Martin, ``pitching coach' Mike Borzello and ``bullpen coach' Jeff Weaver - all chosen by Ausmus. That gave Bob Schaefer, Don Mattingly and Ken Howell the night off.
Ausmus also managed the last game of the 2009 season, a day after the Dodgers had clinched the NL West title. They beat the Rockies that day.
Kroenke (1-0) allowed one run, struck out one and walked two in his first major league start and his third appearance overall. He had previously worked out of the bullpen.
``They hit some balls hard, but fortunately, they were right at guys. I got away with a few things,' he said. ``Looks like starting is better for me, but I'll go wherever I'm needed. It was a little less nerve-racking because you weren't going into a bases-loaded situation.'
Kroenke hadn't pitched since Sept. 18, when he allowed a run and a hit, two walks and struck out one in a 9-6 loss at Pittsburgh.
``He threw strikes. Guys played very well behind him,' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ``He did a real good job. It was a pretty nice stage to do it.'
Kroenke impressed Dodgers first baseman James Loney, who notched his team-leading 88th RBI with a single in the sixth.
``He threw strikes and kept the ball down pretty good and changed speeds,' Loney said. ``We hadn't seen him before, so you try to prepare as much as you can.'
Juan Gutierrez pitched the ninth to earn his 24th save in 27 chances.
John Ely (4-10) got off to a rocky start, giving up three consecutive hits that led to two runs to start the game and going downhill from there. He allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked three starting in place of Clayton Kershaw, who was shut down for the season. Ely lost his fifth straight decision.
Chris Young doubled in Stephen Drew, who led off the first inning with a double, before Kelly Johnson singled up the middle to score Young and make it 2-0.
Arizona added three runs in the third. LaRoche had an RBI double and Mark Reynolds followed with an RBI single before Brandon Allen's sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
The Dodgers got on the board in the fourth with Matt Kemp's 26th homer, tying his career high set last year. It was his third homer in as many games.
LaRoche's two-run homer with two outs in the fifth extended the Diamondbacks' lead to 7-1.
``They jumped on him early and he seemed to settle down after that,' Ausmus said about Ely. ``But the two-run homer by LaRoche was the big blow. At 5-0 that early in the game we still felt like we could come back.'
The Dodgers added three runs in the sixth. Esmerling Vasquez hit Kemp in the torso with the bases loaded, forcing in Ryan Theriot, who walked to lead off. Loney singled up the middle off Carlos Rosa with the bases loaded before pinch-hitter Rod Barajas' sacrifice fly made it 7-4.
Notes: Martin brought the Dodgers' lineup card to home plate and shook hands with Gibson. Martin sustained a right hip injury in early August that ended his season. ... LaRoche became the sixth player in Diamondbacks history to top 100 RBIs. ... Ausmus, who was injured most of the season and turns 41 in April, said after the game that he's ready to retire. ``I think you'd find a lot of people that would tell you I overstayed my welcome at the major league level anyway,' he said.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved