• Dan Bickley wraps up D-Backs' Game 1 loss to Dodgers

    Dan Bickley wraps up D-Backs’ Game 1 loss to Dodgers

  • Nick Piecoro, Dan Bickley preview NLDS Game 1 from LA

    Nick Piecoro, Dan Bickley preview NLDS Game 1 from LA

  • Shot Clock: D-Day for Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers

    Shot Clock: D-Day for Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers

  • Shot Clock: Lovullo's decisions work for D-Backs

    Shot Clock: Lovullo’s decisions work for D-Backs

  • Reaction to Archie Bradley's triple

    Reaction to Archie Bradley’s triple

  • Who starts against the Dodgers?

    Who starts against the Dodgers?

  • Diamondbacks win wild one over Rockies

    Diamondbacks win wild one over Rockies

  • What happened in that Diamondbacks Rockies wild-card game? Everything

    What happened in that Diamondbacks Rockies wild-card game? Everything

  • Shot Clock: D-Backs vs. Rockies in wild card

    Shot Clock: D-Backs vs. Rockies in wild card

  • Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez share insights on each other

    Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez share insights on each other

  • Greinke looks ahead to his wild-card start

    Greinke looks ahead to his wild-card start

  • Lovullo discusses the wild-card game against the Rockies

    Lovullo discusses the wild-card game against the Rockies

  • Shot Clock: Zack's comfort dog? Wild-card preview

    Shot Clock: Zack’s comfort dog? Wild-card preview

  • Piecoro, Moore on D-Backs' preparations ahead of wild-card game

    Piecoro, Moore on D-Backs’ preparations ahead of wild-card game

  • Lovullo on Martinez: 'As good a hitter ... that I've been around'

    Lovullo on Martinez: ‘As good a hitter … that I’ve been around’

  • D-Backs' Pollock on facing Rockies starter Jon Gray

    D-Backs’ Pollock on facing Rockies starter Jon Gray

  • Torey Lovullo on Paul Goldschmidt's stats, focus

    Torey Lovullo on Paul Goldschmidt’s stats, focus

  • D-Backs' Pollock on security concerns for wild-card game

    D-Backs’ Pollock on security concerns for wild-card game

  • D-Backs' manager Torey Lovullo on Walker, Bradley vs. Royals

    D-Backs’ manager Torey Lovullo on Walker, Bradley vs. Royals

  • Archie Bradley after loss to Royals

    Archie Bradley after loss to Royals

  • Torey Lovullo after Greinke's loss vs. Royals

    Torey Lovullo after Greinke’s loss vs. Royals

  • Zack Greinke on his outing vs. Royals

    Zack Greinke on his outing vs. Royals

  • J.D. Martinez's on his record-tying home run

    J.D. Martinez’s on his record-tying home run

  • David Peralta on his walk-off walk, J.D. Martinez's hitting

    David Peralta on his walk-off walk, J.D. Martinez’s hitting

  • J.D. Martinez on his hot streak, D-Backs' win over Giants

    J.D. Martinez on his hot streak, D-Backs’ win over Giants

  • Paul Goldschmidt after D-Backs clinch wild card spot

    Paul Goldschmidt after D-Backs clinch wild card spot

  • Diamondbacks celebrate playoff berth

    Diamondbacks celebrate playoff berth

  • Fernando Rodney on his 300th career save

    Fernando Rodney on his 300th career save

  • Chris Iannetta on his 8-RBI night in D-Backs' win

    Chris Iannetta on his 8-RBI night in D-Backs’ win

  • Archie Bradley answers questions from reporters – and J.D. Martinez

    Archie Bradley answers questions from reporters – and J.D. Martinez

  • Torey Lovullo after D-Backs avoid sweep in San Diego

    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs avoid sweep in San Diego

  • A.J. Pollock on his two-homer game vs. Padres

    A.J. Pollock on his two-homer game vs. Padres

  • Taijuan Walker on shaky outing vs. Giants

    Taijuan Walker on shaky outing vs. Giants

  • Zack Greinke after 2-0 win over Giants

    Zack Greinke after 2-0 win over Giants

  • Torey Lovullo on Greinke's dominant start vs. Giants

    Torey Lovullo on Greinke’s dominant start vs. Giants

  • Robbie Ray after 10-strikeout game vs. Giants

    Robbie Ray after 10-strikeout game vs. Giants

  • Archie Bradley on baseball and beards

    Archie Bradley on baseball and beards

  • Torey Lovullo on Pollock's two-run double, Ray's outing

    Torey Lovullo on Pollock’s two-run double, Ray’s outing

  • Zack Godley on his outing against the Rockies

    Zack Godley on his outing against the Rockies

  • Torey Lovullo on big win over Rockies

    Torey Lovullo on big win over Rockies

  • Paul Goldschmidt downplays his 1,000th career hit

    Paul Goldschmidt downplays his 1,000th career hit

  • Lovullo discusses his team's win over the Rockies

    Lovullo discusses his team’s win over the Rockies

  • D-Backs' A.J. Pollock on his three-hit night

    D-Backs’ A.J. Pollock on his three-hit night

  • Coyotes take batting practice at Chase Field

    Coyotes take batting practice at Chase Field

  • Torey Lovullo on the end of the D-Backs' win streak

    Torey Lovullo on the end of the D-Backs’ win streak

  • Paul Goldschmidt says his elbow is structurally sound

    Paul Goldschmidt says his elbow is structurally sound

LOS ANGELES – Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker had Justin Turner where he wanted him in the first inning on Friday night. With two strikes on the Dodgers’ most dangerous hitter, Walker went to his slider. Turner did not budge. Walker then went to his change-up. Again, Turner did not flinch.

It wasn’t until Walker went back to his fastball that Turner unleashed what turned out to be the biggest swing of the night. His three-run home run in the first inning was the opening blow to the National League Division Series, setting the tone in a game the Diamondbacks would lose 9-5 at Dodger Stadium.

The Diamondbacks did their best to find the positives. They are a resilient team, have been all season, and they believe it is a trait that will benefit them. They took Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw deep four times – all solo shots – and, for a brief moment, made a game of it. They have, perhaps most importantly, lefty Robbie Ray going in Game 2 on Saturday.

But the series opener was a gut-shot from the opening inning. Walker, who twice had thrown so well in this stadium during the regular season, gave up four runs in a 48-pitch first inning. He did not return for the second.

“It definitely wasn’t the start I wanted for my first postseason start,” Walker said.

To catcher Jeff Mathis’ eyes, Walker seemed like his normal self before the game. He maybe looked excited, Mathis said, but not overwhelmed by the moment. 

Two nights earlier, during the tense wild-card game at Chase Field, Walker admitted to feeling so caught up emotionally in the dugout that he retreated to the clubhouse to watch on television. But after Walker warmed up in the bullpen, Mathis saw the same guy he had all season long. Calm, even-keeled. “He was just like he would be every fifth day,” Mathis said. Walker said the same.

It was not his emotions that beat him, Walker said. It was the Dodgers. In starts in this ballpark early in the season, Walker did not shy away from his fastball in key situations. During an outing on April 16, he found himself in a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, and he escaped by pumping fastballs.

During his last inning at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 6, Walker again fired fastballs by Dodgers hitters, striking out two, pumping his fist into his glove on his way off the field.

On Friday, Walker felt like the Dodgers were ready for his best pitch. And they hit it.

“I just felt like they had a really good game plan against me,” Walker said. “It looked like they were sitting on the fastball most of the time. I threw some good offspeed pitches that they took. They just had a better game plan than me.”

The pitch to Turner was down and in, clocked at 93 mph, but Walker thought it caught too much plate. Turner destroyed it. The Dodgers got another run when Cody Bellinger grounded a single to center and Yasiel Puig roped a run-scoring double to center. That made it 4-0. By that point, Walker had thrown 33 pitches, faced five batters and retired none of them.

“They just put some good at-bats together there, the first three guys,” Mathis said. “They laid off some pitches down and ended up getting some pitches in the zone.”

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said he had “no regrets whatsoever” about the decision to start Walker in Game 1, and said he lifted the right-hander after the first in part because he wanted to keep him available to pitch in relief, if needed, later in the series.

“There was nothing that we regretted,” Lovullo said. “I just think he didn’t execute the game plan to get grounded and get into the flow.”

Right-hander Zack Godley gave the Diamondbacks five solid innings in relief, but the Dodgers scored three times off him in the fourth, getting three hits and a walk while capitalizing on a Godley misplay on a slow roller to the right side.

It was 7-1 after five innings. Kershaw had allowed just two hits, one of which was an A.J. Pollock homer. It felt like it was time to focus on the Ray-Rich Hill matchup in Game 2.

But the Diamondbacks kept chipping away in the form of solo homers. J.D. Martinez launched one in the sixth. Kershaw came back out for the seventh, and Ketel Marte and Mathis went back-to-back. Suddenly, it was a game again.

“We gave them a run for their money there towards the middle and end of the game,” Martinez said. “They had to execute and get a couple of more runs, so you tip your hat to them, but I know we feel a lot more confidence since we were able to battle back in that game.”

It wasn’t close for long. In the eighth, a Corey Seager RBI triple was followed by a Turner single through the drawn-in infield, and the Dodgers again had a cozy lead.

Down a game, the Diamondbacks do not sound discouraged. They bounced back from uncompetitive or dispiriting losses with some frequency during the regular season. They see no reason why they can’t do it again.

“I think we’re confident,” Martinez said. “I think everyone in here is like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ We knew it was going to be a battle, a grind. Nobody expected to come in here and sweep these guys. This is a good team.”

BICKLEY: Robbie Ray is Diamondbacks’ best weapon in NLDS

MORE: D-Backs starter Taijuan Walker pulled after 4-run 1st inning in NLDS Game 1

NOTES: Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo explains controversial lineup

RELATED: D-Backs GM Hazen credits predecessors for laying playoff foundation

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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