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.
After disappointing 2-1 loss yesterday at Dodger Stadium against their hated rivals the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers looked to regroup and get aboard their first place winning ways.
On Wednesday Giants Tim Lincecum looked to do battle not against his nemesis Clayton Kershaw, but against Chad Billingsley. Billingsley looked sharp early, until he faced rival pitcher Tim Lincecum who hit a single to help his own cause that scored Joaquin Arias.
Buster Posey RBI single in the third inning extended the Giants’ lead to 2-0.
It wasn’t long until the Dodgers got on board thanks to Bobby Abreu who singled to advance Andre Either to third base. Later Juan Uribe reached out on an infield single that scored Either. In that same inning Tony Gywnn Jr pinched hit for Billingsley, who tripled to right, Abreu, Uribe, and AJ Ellis all score to help the Dodgers take the lead 4-2.
The Dodgers offense didn’t quit in the sixth inning, catcher AJ Ellis tripled to deep center to get on base in scoring position. Scott Van Slyke (son of Pirate great Andy Van Slyke) came in to pinch hit for pitcher Jamey Wright. Van Slyke hit a huge single that scored Ellis.
In the eight inning Uribe showed up again as he doubled to deep center, and with a man on base, James Loney hit an RBI single to left that scored Uribe. With the bases loaded Giants manager Bruce Bouchy decided a change was necessary and Steve Edlefsen relieved Clay Hensley. A very smart move because with Matt Kemp at the plate, Kemp grounded out to shortstop which caused Adam Kennedy to be called out to end the inning.
Kensley Jansen came in to close out the ninth inning, and after walking Gregor Blanco, settled down and for the final out to strike out catcher Buster Posey swinging.
Chad Billingsley lasted just four innings, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out five and walking four.
Tim Lincecum gave up four runs, eight hits in five innings with eight strike outs.
Dodger reliever Jamey Wright pitched two superb innings and with two strike outs to pick up the victory.
*Dodgers OF/1B Juan Rivera was placed on the 15-day DL due to a significant strained left hamstring, Dodger manager Don Mattingly said earlier he expected Rivera to be out more than two weeks.
LOS ANGELES – Thanks to a Atlanta Braves third baseman celebrating his 40th birthday with a home run and a win on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to rebound and grab a good win in the final game of the three games series.
It was a very solid pitchers duel between the Dodgers Ted Lilly and the Braves Brandon Beachy as neither one gave any runs in the first three innings. Lilly ended up giving up the first score, after Freddie Freeman doubled to right, Brian McCann grounded out which advanced Freeman to third base. Dan Uggla blasted a single to left, that caused Freeman to score, Braves were up 1-0.
Just an inning later with Tony Gywnn Jr. and A.J. Ellis on third and second base, Dee Gordon grounds out to second, allowing Gwynn to score and tied up the game.
In the bottom of the sixth in the rain, Matt Kemp bashes a solo home run, his 10th on the season, that gave the Dodgers the lead.
Kensley Jensen came in for Lilly who pitched an outstanding game, seven strong innings.
Jensen set it up for closer Javy Guerra to do what he does best, get three outs and the victory for the Dodgers. Not so fast, as the ninth inning proved to be the game clinching inning for the Braves. Freeman singled to right to get on base. McCann reached on an infield single that ricocheted off of Guerra’s face, to advance Freeman to second base. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and the Dodger Training staff came to the mound to check on Guerra who continued the inning.
Next batter Dan Uggla hit a single to right center, Freeman scored and advanced Wilson to third base. Chipper Jones had a big clutch RBI single to right that scored Wilson, and moved Uggla to third base. Jason Heyward also hit a key single to left that caused Uggla to score and at that point, it was Jason Lindblom time as Guerra was replaced in the inning by Mattingly.
Lindblom ended the inning while getting Juan Fransisco to ground out into a double play. The Dodgers had one last inning to at least tie or win the game and take the series lead.
However that wouldn’t happen on this night, as reliever Craig Kimbrel struck out A.J. Ellis, and got Gordon to ground out to third base to end the game, as the Braves stole two out of three in this series from the Dodgers 4-2.
Chipper Jones left Dodger Stadium for the last time with more great memories to add to his collection.
Lilly threw 79 pitches, allowing a run and three hits, while Beachy allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, ironically a year ago he picked his first victory at Dodger Stadium.
Chipper Jones talked about his final trip at Dodger Stadium “I mean, that’s what you play the game for moments like that. You don’t know how many times I’ve rehearsed that very moment in my backyard growing up, only I was a Dodger.” He also added “It’s been a storybook season so far, it’s been one highlight after another. I’m savoring each and every one of them because you never know when the last one is going to come. To have revered this ballpark and this organization the way I did as a kid, and to leave it here tonight like this, it’s awfully special.”
Dodger first baseman James Loney spoke about the toughness of closer Javy Guerra “That just shows you how tough he is and how much he wants to be out there and compete. And you want a guy like that on your team! He has the mentality of a closer. You just shake off the last bad day and come out ready for the next one.”
*Jonny Venters picked up the win for the Braves as Guerra (1-3) was handed the loss for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers will have to indeed shake this loss off and prepare for the Washington Nationals who come to town on Friday for a weekend series, as they prepare to win the next three games.
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.
SAN DIEGO, CA – After a sensational start for Opening Day, the Dodgers look to keep the momentum as the face their neighbors from the south the Padres, in an evening showdown.
Chad Billingsley had a tall task at hand, yet was recharged and ready for the challenge, just a day after Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw came out of the opener due to stomach flu. Padres pitcher Cory Luebke didn’t start out well, after having Dodger hitters Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera on first and second base. With two outs in the first inning Andre Either hit a double to right center allowing Ellis and Rivera to score, Dodgers led 2-0.
Ellis hit a double, then Matt Kemp hit an infield single, with Padres third baseman Chase Headley’s throw pulling first baseman Yonder Alonso off the bag. Ellis made a move to slide home, Alonso made a bad throw, for an error which allowed Kemp to move to second base in the third inning. Thanks to Luebke lackluster throw, the attempt to pick off Kemp failed, as he was able to move to third. Rivera hit a single, that scored Kemp, Dodgers led 4-0.
Billingsley continued to dominate, punishing the Padres, as he continued to receive run support from his fellow Dodger hitters.
Luebke walks Rivera, Kemp hits a single, and now with runners in scoring position Andre Either comes to the plate. With two outs in the fifth inning, Either knocked a triple off the right field fence, scoring Rivera and Kemp to make increase the lead 6-0.
The Padres would go on to make two more errors in the game, which brought the total of five errors in two games.
Billingsley continued to put the pressure on the Padres as he continued to keep them off balance all night with strikes, throwing a series of change ups and sliders.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was anxious to get Billingsley relieve in the ninth inning. Billingsley knew if he allowed a hit or a run, that he would be yanked immediately. As he faced Cameron Maybin who singled with one out, Mattingly came out to get his perfect pitcher for the night. Billingsley didn’t seem bothered by it, as he retired 11 batters, allowed three hits on 108 pitches in his shutout season debut. Dodger fans were not happy at all by the Mattingly move, as there were boos from the Dodger faithful.
Jamey Wright got the save as the Dodger defeated the Padres 6-0, who were shut out so far twice this season. Last season they set a major league record being shut out 19 times.
Padres manager Bud Black spoke about Billingsley’s perfect performance “Tonight was probably as good as I’ve seen him from start to finish, throwing the ball extremely well to both sides of the plate and mixing pitches.”
“It was just one of those days that everything felt really good. Good tempo, good rhythm out there” Billingsley speaking about his performance.
Dodger manager Don Mattingly talked about why he didn’t allow Billingsley to finish the game “You just can’t do it first time out. I’m not going to let him run up to 120 the first time out of the gate. He’s probably been to 103 or something this year in spring training. He wanted to go back out in the ninth, but it was like, if anybody got on there our biggest nightmare was having to get six or eight pitches to get an out.”
The Dodgers continue their quest of perfection as they take on the Padres on Saturday, sending Chris Capuano to the mound against a sharp Dustin Moseley.