Enright's strong effort for naught in quiet night

Enright's strong effort for naught in quiet night

PHOENIX -- After struggling in his previous three starts, Barry Enright decided to go back to what he does best.

While the result on the field was not to his liking -- a 3-1 loss to the Dodgers -- the D-backs' right-hander had every reason to walk away from Chase Field on Friday night with his head held high.

"I told him, 'Great game, there's nothing to hang your head about there,'" said D-backs interim manager Kirk Gibson. "Very solid performance. That's kind of what we saw previous to the last three outings."

When he was called up from Double-A Mobile at the end of June, Enright ran off a string of 12 quality outings -- during which time he matched up against aces like Stephen Strasburg, Tim Lincecum and Ubaldo Jimenez. In each of those starts, he went at least five innings and never allowed more than three runs.

However, over his previous three starts, Enright had allowed 17 runs in 12 2/3 innings.

"I put the three behind me and went out there and just trusted in my pitches," Enright said. "I talked about getting back to who I was. That's using the fastball and slider a little more and making them beat me on my best stuff, instead of getting beat with my third or fourth-best pitches."

Enright attacked the strike zone against the Dodgers and wound up allowing just two runs on five hits over eight innings.

"He was great," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "His pitch count was economical. He got a lot of easy outs early."

Both of the runs Enright allowed came thanks to a pair of triples.

In the third, Enright had two outs with slow-footed A.J. Ellis on first when he missed his spot with a pitch to Trent Oeltjen. The former D-backs outfielder drove one into the corner in right for a triple that scored Ellis and gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

One inning later, Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier jumped on a first-pitch fastball and tripled to right. Jay Gibbons followed with a sacrifice fly, and the result was a 2-0 Dodgers lead.

It may as well have been a 10-run lead the way Los Angeles left-hander Clayton Kershaw was pitching.

"He throws up to 95 [mph]," Gibson said. "He locates well. We knew he was on. Just the whole game, he managed through the lineup very well. He had great stuff. Very sneaky. He was throwing hard, but it was even harder to pick up."

Kershaw (13-10) did not allow a hit until Kelly Johnson singled with two outs in the fourth. The D-backs managed just one more hit off him -- again by Johnson -- through eight innings.

"He had his good stuff tonight," said D-backs outfielder Chris Young. "He's having a great year. He used his fastball well. He mixed in his off-speed pitches when necessary. He was aggressive with his fastball, and when a pitcher is able to do that and establish his fastball like he did, you're going to have success.

"Late in the game, we were able to get to him a little bit and Tony [Abreu] put a great swing on the ball. We gave ourselves a chance, and that's all you can do. That's pretty much how it was."

The D-backs finally broke through against Kershaw in the ninth when Young led off with a single and Abreu followed with a run-scoring double.

With Kershaw apparently out of gas after 102 pitches, Torre brought in Kenley Jansen, who got Johnson to pop out. And after walking Stephen Drew, Jansen fanned Adam LaRoche and Ryan Church to earn his second save.

"We hung in there fine," Gibson said. "We had our chance at the end of the game; it didn't work out."

The D-backs played good defense, especially in the sixth, when Mark Reynolds made a nice snag of a grounder at third and threw to second, where Johnson made a jumping turn for the double play.

The loss snapped the D-backs' three-game winning streak. Arizona has only one win in its past 11 games against Los Angeles this season.

"It was a good baseball game," Young said. "We just couldn't come through with the big hits tonight."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.