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Kershaw, Dodgers Open Series In Phoenix

(Sports Network) - The 2010 campaign hasn't gone as hoped for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the team has certainly been doing its best to try to close out strong.

Fresh off a series sweep of a postseason contender, the Diamondbacks continue their final homestand of the season tonight with the first of three straight meetings with the Los Angeles Dodgers from Chase Field.

Arizona is buried in last place in the National League West and entered its home set with the Colorado Rockies having lost 12 times in a 15-game span. The Diamondbacks bounced back in a big way, however, and dealt a severe blow to Colorado's playoff hopes by winning all three matchups of the series.

The Diamondbacks had to hang on in Thursday's finale, however, surviving a late comeback attempt by the Rockies to post a 10-9 triumph.

Stephen Drew led a 14-hit Arizona attack by going 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI. Kelly Johnson also had three hits, including a two-run homer, for the Diamondbacks, who built an 8-2 lead after six innings before staving off the Rockies down the stretch.

Carlos Gonzalez's grand slam in the top of the seventh brought Colorado within two runs, but Drew and Chris Young came through with solo homers to extend Arizona's lead to 10-6 heading into the ninth. Those runs would prove beneficial, as the Rockies scored three times against relievers Aaron Heilman and Juan Gutierrez in their final at-bat.

Colorado cut the deficit to 10-8 on Gonzalez's two-run single and scored once more later on to make it a one-run game. However, Gutierrez managed to strike out Melvin Mora with two men aboard to close out the contest and register his 12th save of the year.

"I give the guys credit for putting themselves in a position and grinding through it," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Was it ideal, would we have liked it to be easier? Of course we would, but you don't determine those things. It's the game, it's the way it is."

The victory was the fourth in a row at home for the Diamondbacks. The club has not won five straight at Chase Field since a seven-game streak there from Sept. 15-28, 2008.

Los Angeles comes in having dropped six of its past eight tests and is in danger of its first losing season since 2005, but did produce a positive result in last night's game with San Diego. The Dodgers knocked the Padres out of first place with a 3-1 win behind eight outstanding innings from starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.

Kuroda (11-13) limited San Diego to the one run and just five hits while fanning four in a crisp 98-pitch performance. Hong-Chih Kuo then came on to strike out the side in the ninth to earn his 10th save and help the Dodgers avoid a three-game sweep by the visiting Padres.

"Hiroki had great stuff in the bullpen before the game, so going into the game I expected him to pitch well," Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas remarked.

Andre Ethier was the hitting star for Los Angeles, coming through with an RBI double in the first inning and a run-scoring single in the third that snapped a 1-1 tie. The Dodgers tacked on an insurance run when Barajas drew a bases- loaded walk in the sixth.

Even after last night's win, Los Angeles is still a subpar 6-14 so far in September. A few games against the Diamondbacks could help improve that record, considering the Dodgers have won 10 of 12 matchups with Arizona this season and are 5-1 at Chase Field in 2010.

Clayton Kershaw has fared quite well when facing Arizona this year as well, having gone 2-0 with an excellent 1.64 ERA in three previous 2010 encounters with tonight's opponent. The young southpaw, who gets the call for the Dodgers in the opener, struck out eight over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his team's 14-1 rout of the D-Backs at Chase Field back on July 3.

Kershaw is 12-10 with a very solid 2.98 ERA for the season, but was not at his best in Sunday's start against Colorado. The former first-round pick lasted only four innings and was tagged for six runs (four earned) and issued four walks. That performance followed up a gem against San Diego on Sept. 14 in which he yielded four hits and no walks for his first career shutout.

In five career starts versus Arizona, Kershaw is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA.

Rookie Barry Enright takes the mound for the Diamondbacks tonight seeking to end his recent troubles. The right-hander has permitted 17 runs and 22 hits over a combined 12 2/3 innings in losing his past three starts.

The long ball has been the source of Enright's struggles, as he's served up a whopping nine homers over the course of his skid. Two of those came in a 3 2/3-inning stint at Pittsburgh on Saturday in which he was battered for six runs on six hits.

Enright, who's 6-5 with a 3.87 ERA in 15 starts since being called up from Triple-A Reno in late June, has never previously faced the Dodgers. In eight home starts this season, he's 4-3 with a 3.40 ERA.