This is where they are. The Dodgers are so far ahead in the National League West that manager Dave Roberts treated the seventh inning of a one-run game against a division rival as an audition stage.
Roberts didn’t frame it that way. He said instead that he hoped to burn an Arizona reserve by replacing dominant right-hander Brandon Morrow with left-hander Tony Watson as the pitcher’s spot approached.
He succeeded in that ancillary goal, but not the primary one, as Watson failed the apparent tryout in his third appearance for the team. The trade-deadline acquisition surrendered a go-ahead grand slam by Jake Lamb in the Dodgers’ 6-3 loss to the Diamondbacks on Tuesday at Chase Field.
“We loved the matchup,” Roberts said. “As good as Jake is, I’ll take Tony against him any day.”
Justin Turner supplied the game’s first run, redirecting a failed sinker from right-hander Zack Godley 430 feet to center in the fourth inning. After the solo shot, Cody Bellinger crushed the fifth outside pitch he saw to the left-field wall for a double and scored when Logan Forsythe roped a hanging curveball up the middle.
Yasiel Puig rapped a ball to third to begin the fifth and took off sprinting. He limped after reaching safely, but convinced Roberts and trainer Nate Lucero he was fit to remain in the game. Another solo shot from Turner, in the sixth, produced the Dodgers’ last run.
Kenta Maeda turned in his second straight helpful start since the Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish to usurp Maeda’s already tenuous grasp on a postseason rotation role.
He was unscored upon until the fifth inning, when Chris Iannetta clubbed a solo shot to center off a slider that caught too much of the strike zone. As Godley next batted after a single, first baseman Bellinger broke toward the plate to cover the likely bunt.
Maeda then made an unusual maneuver, throwing to an unmanned base. The throw bounced far enough for Ketel Marte to travel to third base.
Maeda said that catcher Yasmani Grandal had signaled for him to try the pickoff attempt. He rebounded from the oddity by striking out Godley, and lucking out on back-to-back liners his teammates caught.
Pedro Baez replaced him for the sixth and surrendered four hard-hit balls. The first, off Lamb’s bat, soared high for a homer. Joc Pederson speared the second, by Paul Goldschmidt, in center. The third, by J.D. Martinez, would have been a home run if not for Puig, who jumped and reached over the right-field wall to procure the ball. One last lineout, by Daniel Descalso, ended the inning.
The Dodgers put left-hander Luis Avilan on the paternity list and recalled right-hander Brock Stewart. Avilan is not expected back until the team returns to Los Angeles. … Roberts said it was a good sign that first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, rehabbing from a back injury with triple-A Oklahoma City, posted a social media photo of himself atop a rock.