After a rocky series, the Dodgers found a way to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in dominate fashion 4-1, and regained first place in the NL West thanks to superb pitching and timely hitting. The Dodgers took two out of three against the Big Red Machine, and in the last two games held them to scoring no more than two runs.
Dodger starter Aaron Harang started off sharp against his former team, and display solid control of his pitches.
The Dodger offense stepped up in the first inning against Reds starter Mike Leake, Luis Cruz with Dee Gordon on base, smacked a single to shallow right field that gave the Dodgers the 1-0 lead. Later on in the inning first baseman James Loney hit an RBI single that scored Cruz and advanced Bobby Abreu to second base.
Adam Kennedy grounded out towards first base, Loney was caught out at second base, and Abreu made it to third base. He then continued on to score, thanks to an error thrown play by Reds shortstop Zack Cozart, that gave the Dodgers the 3-0 lead.
Harang continued his superb pitching until the top of the 5th inning, where Devin Mesoraco hit a home run to deep left that put the Reds on the scoreboard, yet they still trailed 3-1.
The Dodgers continued to show the Reds why they were an offensive juggernaut, as Reds reliever Bill Bray made a costly mistake by walking Gordon and allowed him on base. Gordon eventually stole second base. As Cruz was also walked, Gordon took the initiative and stole third base successfully, yet ended up dislocating his right thumb. Gordon stole his 30th base on the season.
Mark Ellis came in to run for Gordon at third base, and Juan Rivera grounded out which caused Ellis to be tagged out at home plate.
Later on in the inning, with the bases loaded as the crowd rose to their feet, Adam Kennedy smacked a sacrifice fly to center, that allowed Cruz to speed home to score.
Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth inning, lowering his ERA to a National League best 0.99, which paved the way for a spectacular ninth inning finish.
In the ninth inning it was Jensen time, as closer Kenley Jensen struck out both All-Star Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips. With two outs and nobody on base, Jensen got Jay Bruce to pop out to left field to end the game as the Dodgers defeat the Reds 4-1.
The Dodgers snapped their streak of four straight series loses. They hadn’t won a series since they played the Chicago White Sox back on June 15-17, and hadn’t won two out of three in a series since they took on the Seattle Mariners back in early June.
Good news for the Dodgers as they returned to their winning ways, and because the San Francisco Giants lost to the Nationals in Washington 9-4, that automatically moved the Dodgers back into first place in the NL West by 1/2 game.
Losing Reds pitcher Mike Leake talked about his rocky start, “I wasn’t quite loose. I probably should have thrown a few extra pitches in the bullpen. I was helping them out leaving balls over the middle and not really locating it too well.”
Dodgers victorious starter Aaron Harang spoke about his superb performance. “I felt like I had control of the game, was never really in a situation where I was pitching out of jams except for maybe the third inning when I got runners on first and third with two outs. Other than that I felt like I was doing what I needed to do, pounding the strike zone and getting myself ahead.”
Harang (6-5) pitched seven strong innings, with three hits and five strikeouts, while Leake (3-6) pitched seven innings, with six hits, five strikeouts, and two earned runs.
Gordon spoke about his injured thumb, “It felt like I hit something really hard and as soon as I got up I knew I jammed it. That’s never happened before. I get stepped on every now and then.”
Dee Gordon is scheduled to have an MRI on his thumb on Thursday, when leaving the stadium Gordon’s thumb was wrapped in a splint.
*Andre Either has been placed on the 15-day DL due to an oblique injury.
The Los Angeles Dodgers still elated from that great extra inning come from behind win against the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox, must now focus on the Oakland A’s. After a much deserved day off, the Dodgers continue to face another team from the American League.
On the mound Tuesday night Aaron Harang pitched for Dodgers and Brandon McCarthy for the Oakland A’s who came off of 11 days rest.
McCarthy was so excited to take the mound that he almost hyperventilated, but maintained his composer, even with his shoulder injury.
McCarthy started out sharp as he took care of the first three Dodger batters in the line up in the first inning.
On the other side of the ball Harang began terribly with two on, Seth Smith singled to center, as outfielder Tony Gwynn was unable to make the grab. Coco Crisp and Jemile Weeks scored that gave the A’s the quick 2-0 lead. With Smith on third base, slugger Jonny Gomes hit an RBI single to left that scored Smith and the A’s made sure they took matters in their own hands offensively against the best team in baseball.
McCarthy continued to pitch masterfully as the Dodgers offensive remained stagnant throughout the night, blowing opportunity after opportunity to score. The Dodgers made McCarthy look like a Cy Young candidate, which was absolutely mystifying after their great run just 48 hours earlier at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers also maintained their defense by not allowing any further runs by the A’s, but it proved that defense didn’t matter if the team was unable to score runs when called upon.
However in typical Dodger fashion, they had one last chance in the ninth inning. A’s closer Ryan Cook struck out Elian Herrera, and Andre Either made safe to first base thanks to an error made by Coco Crisp. Cook seemed to struggle as he walked Bobby Abreu. With Either and Abreu at second and first base, James Loney presented the tying run. Loney grounded into a double that got Abreu out at second and Loney at first base to end the game.
A’s winning pitcher Brandon McCarthy spoke about his mindset entering the game, “after the first couple innings I kind of got back feeling normal. Early, amped up and kind of short of breath. I don’t know what was going on. That felt kind of weird, but I was ready.”
McCarthy had a great outing, pitched seven strong innings, with two hits on five strikeouts. McCarthy out pitched Dodger starter Aaron Harang who pitched three and two-thirds innings with six strikeouts, and three earned runs.
“Things weren’t right, and they were being patient and fouling off good pitches, racking up my pitch count. Of course the walks didn’t help,” said Aaron Harang.
*Dodgers OF Matt Kemp is scheduled to return after the All-Star break, and Dodger pitcher Ted Lilly is close to throwing again as recovers from shoulder inflammation.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly said he will discuss with Kemp if he’ll play in this year All-Star Game in Kansas City. Kemp is the NL’s leading vote getter with almost 2 million votes by the fans.
All throughout the Los Angeles Dodger clubhouse, relieve can be heard as the Dodgers snap their biggest losing streak of the season.
The Dodgers would not make the mistake of having a slow offensive start this game, as slugger Andre Either hit an RBI single off Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio that scored Tony Gywnn Jr.
In the bottom of the same inning Aaron Harang gave up a triple to Dexter Fowler. With two outs, Michael Cuddyer connected on a double deep to right field that scored Dexter Fowler for the 1-1 tied score.
Gywnn grounded into fielder choice at first base in the second inning, and AJ Ellis made a run for home but was tagged out. After Gywnn stole second base, Elian Herrera singled to center, Dee Gordon and Gywnn both scored. After that, Rockies manager Jim Tracy decided to seek another route and send in reliever Josh Roenicke for Nicasio.
Harang pitched masterfully the next few inning along with the Dodgers defense stepped up majorly that gave Harang the confidence and support he needed in this anti-pitcher ballpark. In the fourth with the bases loaded, Roenicke walked Either, which scored Gwynn. Fortunately for Roenicke who got Adam Kennedy to fly out to center to end the inning.
The Dodgers were far from done offensively when Rockies reliever Matt Reynolds with two out, gave up a deep home run to Bobby Abreu. That was Abreu’s first home run as Dodger this season. Later on Either doubled to deep right, then Adam Kennedy hit a single to right that scored Either, as the Dodgers continued to dominate 6-1.
Harang had a great outing, and was relieved by Javey Guerra in the bottom of the seventh inning. DJ LeMahieu connected on a single to shallow center, which paved the way for Wilin Rosario who hit a double to deep right center that scored LeMahieu.
The Rockies silenced the Rockies offense, as Dodgers closer Kenley Jensen wrapped up the victory by getting Rosario flying out to left to end the Dodgers losing streak.
Aaron Harang who faced quite a few tense moments, however he was determined and pulled out the victory. Harang pitched 6 strong innings, four hits, on six strikeouts.
Juan Nicasio allowed three runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings of work.
Harang talked about this outing as opposed to the last against Milwaukee, ” “I feel like I started the losing streak so I wanted to shut the door and finish it so we could start over fresh.”
“We’ve been getting our hits during the losing streak, we were just able to get some key hits to get some runs there today,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
*Dodgers OF Juan Rivera who had been on the DL, will rejoin the team when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers looked to avoid a sweep by the Brewers at Miller Park, something had to change to prevent them from not picking up a road victory.
Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang who pitched a record setting game at Dodger Stadium last week, answered the call to throw against former Dodger and current Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf.
In the opening inning both Wolf and Harang looked sharp for their impressive clubs, and one knew that this would be another close yet dramatic game as this series has proven to be by the previous two games.
Thanks to a wild pitch by Wolf that hit batter Jerry Hairston Jr, and walked James Loney to load the bases with Hairston and Andre Either respectively at second and third, Wolf had to figure his way out of a jam. After Matt Treanor hit a brilliant sacrifice fly allowing Either to score, and the Dodgers took the early lead 1-0.
Harang got into a bit of trouble as well, with George Kottaras and Alex Gonzalez already on base in scoring position Travis Ishikawa doubled to right center scoring Kottaras.
To further his own cause, pitcher Randy Wolf hit a sacrifice fly to right allowing Gonzales to score and the Brewers took the lead.
Wolf made a huge mistake by letting Kemp single to get on base, then allowed Juan Rivera to to single to right causing the tying run in M Ellis to score. The Dodgers weren’t done as a big time slugger Either hit a good single to right, Matt Kemp scores to take the lead. Wolf gets out of the inning by a pop up by Loney.
Kemp was far from done, after the damage he caused earlier against Wolf, in the top of the fifth it only got worse for the Brewers as he hit a big home run deep to right field his seventh on the year to give the Dodgers some added run support. Harang continued to pitch well, and the Dodger defense held up beautifully, until the sixth inning with Gonzalez and A Ramirez on base, Ishikawa came back to haunt Harang, hitting a single to deep right, scoring Ramirez.
With the Dodgers only leading by one run in the eighth inning, Hairston Jr. made a key defensive play at third base with a runner on third and two outs. Hairston dove to grab a sharp ground ball by Gonzalez then made a long throw to first base from an awkward angle to get the out and end the inning.
After pitching strong innings, reliever Jamey Wright came in to pitch for Harang, and the bullpen held up along with the spectacular defense of the Dodgers to hold on for the win. Reliever Javy Guerra picks up his sixth save on the season as the Dodgers get a much needed win and go to 10-3 on the season.
NL MVP Ryan Braun was a total 0-11 in this three game series, and struck his on his two final at bats at Thursday’s game.
Brewers’ Wolf (now 0-2) went six innings, giving up four runs and seven hits with a walk, a strikeout, while Dodgers’ Harang went six innings, gave up three runs and eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talks about his team’s key win “Its a fairly significant win. Really, we came in and could have got swept but we could have swept them just as easily.”
On how concern his MVP Ryan Braun didn’t show up in this series Brewers manager Ron Roenicke stressed that “Braunie, we’ll get him going real soon. He’s been playing a bit under the weather.”
On his performance thus far beyond this series, a very humbled Matt Kemp said “I’m just doing what I’m supposed to be doing, driving in runs, trying to help my team win,”
Now the Dodgers head down to Houston for a weekend series with the Astros, the Dodgers send Ted Lilly to mound to battle J.A. Happ on Friday.