Kershaw, Mattingly clash before Dodgers get past D-backs 6-3
LOS ANGELES (AP) Clayton Kershaw hates being removed from any game. As Dodgers manager Don Mattingly found out, Kershaw really hates getting yanked while he trails by three runs in the middle of a pennant race.
Right after Kershaw aired his feelings to Mattingly during a very public dugout confrontation, his teammates put together a comeback that made him a winner.
Chris Heisey hit a grand slam during the Dodgers' six-run fifth inning, and Los Angeles trimmed its magic number to three for clinching the NL West crown with a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Los Angeles increased its NL West lead to eight games over the Giants, who lost 5-4 to San Diego.
Kershaw (15-7) had nine strikeouts while yielding six hits and three runs over five innings. He also had a vehement discussion with Mattingly after the manager pinch-hit for Kershaw, who had his shortest start of the season.
''Same as always with Kersh. He doesn't ever want to come out,'' Mattingly said with a wry grin. ''I've seen him like that before, and I've talked about it numerous times with different guys - it never bothers me, none of that stuff. Those guys being competitive, wanting to stay in the game, that never bothers me at all. That's just part of it, and I've got to make that decision.''
Kershaw, who leads the majors with 281 strikeouts, pointedly refused to talk about the clash. Pinch-hitter Austin Barnes flied out in Kershaw's spot before the Dodgers' decisive rally began.
''It's between Donny and I, you know?'' Kershaw said. ''Nobody else needs to know.''
Kershaw, who threw a season-low 80 pitches, made it into the sixth inning in each of his first 30 starts this year.
The NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner left trailing 3-0, but ended up with his fifth victory in six starts when the Dodgers rallied for their second straight win.
''It was huge,'' Kershaw said. ''I felt pretty crummy after that, and for those guys to step up like that, and (Heisey's) big swing of the bat right there - he's such a gamer. I like Heise. For him to do that, the kind of a year he's had, it's been unbelievable. I'm thankful, honestly. And then for our bullpen having to pick up four innings, (it) did an amazing job.''
Howie Kendrick had a two-run single for the Dodgers (87-65), who wrapped up their 10-game homestand in firm command of their postseason destiny.
Diamondbacks rookie Brandon Drury homered off Kershaw, and Paul Goldschmidt got his 19th RBI in his last 19 games against the Dodgers. Arizona (73-80) would have to win its final nine games to avoid its fourth consecutive non-winning season.
''We made (Kershaw) throw a lot of pitches,'' manager Chip Hale said. ''You battle against a starter who's a Cy Young Award winner, then you get to the bullpen and we weren't able to do too much. So that's frustrating in itself. But that's a first-place team that's going to the playoffs, and we battled with them and gave them everything we had.''
Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 34th save.
Patrick Corbin (6-5) was in control until the fifth inning of his second loss to the Dodgers in 12 days.
Heisey is batting. 173 in a strange season that has included several stints in Los Angeles, long stretches in the minors and a month in Toronto's system before the Dodgers reacquired him this month. He connected in a key moment against Andrew Chafin, sneaking his first homer of the season just inside the pole and into Dodger Stadium's short left-field porch.
''They had been throwing me a lot of breaking balls, and I just moved up in the box and figured I'd try to get one before it broke,'' Heisey said.
Diamondbacks: Hale now thinks SS Nick Ahmed will miss Arizona's weekend series with a lower back injury.
Dodgers: Mattingly is ''100 percent'' confident Kike Hernandez will return from his hamstring injury before the regular season ends.
Diamondbacks: Rubby De La Rosa (13-8, 4.60 ERA) opens a series in San Diego against Casey Kelly (0-0, 4.50).
Dodgers: Mike Bolsinger (6-4, 3.26 ERA) pitches at Colorado vs. David Hale (4-5, 6.32).