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.
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.
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.
After a 3-3 road trip coming off a terrible outing on Sunday in Houston, the Dodgers look to return to familiar territory, Dodger Stadium where they have done their best work.
Chris Capuano had the responsibility of keeping the winning streak alive against the young Atlanta Braves’ Jair Jurrjens.
Jurrjens allowing Dee Gordon to hit a single to center, which later allowed him the opportunity to steal second base, was a not a great way to start off the game. Mark Ellis flew out to right field, Matt Kemp was walked. Things didn’t get any better for Jurrjens as the reliable Andre Either hit a big single to center, that caused Gordon to score.
Capuano at the top of the second inning gave up an unnecessary home run to David Ross to tie the game at 1-1. Capuano would settle down and concentrate to get out of the inning unscaved, however the Dodgers would need run support and fast. James Loney who seems to be getting in stride hit a timely double into center, and Juan Uribe hit a single that caused Loney to score. The Dodgers weren’t done as A.J. Ellis singled to center, Uribe scores as they continue to pile on runs.
The reign of runs didn’t stop in the bottom of the fourth inning Loney has another timely hit, Uribe singles to advance Loney to third base. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had seen enough and called in reliever Livan Hernandez for Jurrjens. Which didn’t prove to be any better, as Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to left, Uribe scored to give the Dodgers the huge 5-1 lead.
In the top of the eight inning, Josh Lindblom relieves Capuano who pitched seven strong innings on six hits, and five strikeouts. The first batter Lindblom faced was slugger Dan Uggla who hit a home run deep to right field that cut the lead 5-2. But the Dodgers would soon answer back as Uribe would hit a huge bases loaded single, sending Kemp and Either in to score. Uribe tied a career high with four hits and drove in three runs on the night for the Dodgers, a magnificent night by the third baseman.
Dodger reliever Scott Elbert came in to close out the game and pick up the victory as the Dodgers took the first game of this three game series 7-2.
Juan Uribe talked about his stellar play against the Braves Monday night “I was hurt last year, but I wanted to play and show the guys I could play and help the team. For me, it was just important for us to win the game.”
Chris Capuano picks up the victory to go 2-0 on the season and spoke about his performance “It was a battle, but luckily I had a pretty decent cutter working, and that helped me out in that last situation. I was struggling with my command early, and I wasn’t able to get those calls on the inside of the plate to right-handers.”
Jurrjens pitched terribly, gave up five runs and nine hits in three-plus innings of work. Surprisingly this was the first time Jurrjens failed to record a strikeout in 42 starts.
The Braves all star third baseman Chipper Jones sat out of the game nursing a sore left knee, on the eve of his 40th birthday, but is expected to be in the line up on Tuesday. He announced earlier last month that this will be his final season with the Atlanta Braves. He’s had an outstanding career that spans 19 season, that included him being the 1999 NL MVP.
LOS ANGELES – After a roller coaster season for the Los Angeles Dodgers both on and off the field, the team managed to hold on to finished above .500 yet they only played 161 games. The two highlights of the season were the Cy Young accomplishments of pitcher Clayton Kershaw (21-5) and the MVP and triple crown efforts of outfielder Matt Kemp.
An interesting point was voiced by 710 ESPN’s Max Kellerman (host of the Max & Marcellus Show) in Los Angeles, where he stated that Kemp was being robbed because the Dodgers only played 161 games this season, and not having that extra game could cost Kemp a shot at the MVP award.
Which is true, Major League Baseball did not reschedule the second game of a rained out doubleheader against Washington earlier in the season.
Due to the lack of scheduling by MLB, this could definitely cost Kemp his chance at the MVP. There is no way that Ryan Braun should win MVP, Braun who played in only 150 games, batted .334, with 111 RBI’s, 34 HR’s, 33 stolen bases, while Kemp finished the season 39 HR’s, batted .324, 126 RBI’s, 40 stolen bases. He also played in all 161 games this season and a sharp outfielder.
It would be a complete travesty if Kemp didn’t win the award, especially him putting up the best numbers in the National League, with the exception of batting average. Now in all actuality Braun should win the batting title, but thanks to a real weak sucker move by New York Mets’ Jose Reyes, who when at the plate bunted and made it to first base. After doing that, he increased his average up to .337 after reached first base, took himself out of the game to keep his batting average at .337.
Matt Kemp had no help in his lineup and was still able to put up phenomenal numbers in comparison to Braun who had Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks who are significant hitters in the Brewers lineup.
Its about who’s most valuable, and Kemp has proven he’s the most valuable not only to his team, but to the National League as well. If he doesn’t win, we can all blame the sports writers who have a vote, and MLB who refused to reschedule that 162nd game, that Kemp and the Dodgers so desperately deserve.