PHOENIX -- Four batters into Monday's D-backs-Dodgers game, a pitchers' duel broke out.
By then, Arizona was already playing catchup.
In a game the D-backs played without right fielder Justin Upton, who was out for precautionary reasons a day after being hit in the head, Matt Kemp's three-run homer in the top of the first gave the Dodgers an early lead the D-backs couldn't overcome. Their 4-2 defeat at Chase Field kept them a game behind the Brewers for home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason, as Milwaukee lost to the Pirates.
Keeping perspective after the loss, starter Daniel Hudson said he was already ready to move on from Monday's start, noting the importance of his next one.
"You tell yourself you've got a more important start coming up in the playoffs, so you just take it as a fine tuning," said Hudson, who went seven innings and allowed four runs on five hits. "Obviously we wanted to win that game and try and catch Milwaukee, but you go get 'em tomorrow."
Hudson was sharp for much of the evening, keeping Dodgers hitters off balance for the majority of his seven innings. After the homer, Hudson retired 15 straight, and when he finally gave up a hit -- a single to shortstop Dee Gordon -- he easily cruised through the heart of the Dodgers' order to strand him.
But he bookended six solid innings with struggles at the beginning and end of his outing, allowing the early homer and another run in the seventh on a pair of Dodgers hits and a hit batter.
"I was on a roll; I was making good pitches. I just didn't get a couple calls and one bad pitch, we're down three runs," Hudson said, referring to his first-inning troubles. "I'll take the blame for that and just move on and go get 'em on Sunday."
Gordon sparked the first-inning rally that ended up costing Hudson, singling to left. Jerry Sands followed with a walk on a 3-2 pitch that home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi deemed just a touch low, bringing up Kemp, Los Angeles' candidate for MVP, a 40/40 season and the Triple Crown. On a full-count changeup, he crushed a towering shot onto the left-center-field porch, his 38th homer of the season.
It was the second consecutive changeup Hudson threw to Kemp, after the Dodgers center fielder swung through the first. When asked whether it was pitch selection or execution he was most frustrated with, Hudson answered, "Both."
Upton, who was hit in the head with a Tim Lincecum fastball Sunday, took an ImPACT neurological test before the game to see if there were any lingering effects. A team official declined comment on the results of the test, and manager Kurt Gibson said there's no harm playing it safe and giving his All-Star right fielder a breather.
Upton said he hopes to be back in the lineup for Tuesday's game and said he fully expects to be fine for postseason play, which begins Saturday.
"Gibby at this point wants me to be 100 percent when I step on the field," Upton said. "We spoke with the training staff and they said just as a precaution, take another day."
Without Upton, the D-backs' best chance to tie Monday's game came in the top of the eighth, when they managed just two runs on five walks coming from three different Dodgers pitchers. Despite equaling the club record for walks in an inning, they scored just two runs as Mike MacDougal retired the final two batters with the bases loaded.
Then they got a bit unlucky in the ninth when, with a runner on first, Lyle Overbay hit a sharp ground ball to second. Gordon juggled the ball trying to turn a double play and was lucky to get the call at second base for the forceout.
"I could go out and argue all I want, he'd never change it in a million years," Gibson said before turning the question to the media. "You guys had a better look than I did and you probably watched replay. You'd be better to say what the call should have been than me. Plus, I get in trouble if I tell you."
It's tough to say what the call should have been, as Gordon came off the bag juggling the ball, but was taken out on a rough slide from John McDonald. As Gordon was being taken out, his glove flying up the basepath, it was unclear whether he touched McDonald with the ball.
Arizona went down relatively quietly after that, and in the end, Kemp's homer was the difference in the game. With two games left in Arizona, Kemp now sits just two home runs away from becoming the Majors' fifth 40/40 man.
"Yeah, it's close," Kemp said. "There's a short period of time to do it. I'm not going to put pressure on myself. If it happens, it happens. If it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. Do I want it? Of course, but I don't want to force it. I have nine, 10 more at-bats in two games. We'll see what happens."
AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.