After an incredible come from behind win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, the Dodgers would prove they needed another later rally miracle on Monday evening to defeat the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers starter Joe Blanton who had a solid outing against the Rockies in his last start, looked to build on that performance. This time in front of the Dodger Stadium crowd, which did not start off great for him. With one on, Blanton gave up a two run homer to Chase Headley that gave the Padres the early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Blanton was able to escape and end the inning with a ground out by Chris Denorfi.
Padres starter Andrew Werner was fantastic as he retired many of the Dodger batters, as they continued to struggle offensively.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Luis Cruz woke up and connected on single to center field. Joe Blanton aided his cause on sacrifice fly to center that advanced Cruz to second base. Mark Ellis connected on an RBI single that scored Cruz, then advanced to second base thanks to a terrible throw by the Padres defense. The scoring drive ended as Shane Victorino fouled out to first base as the Dodgers were down 2-1.
The Dodgers inconsistency continued to appear at the plate until shortstop Hanley Ramirez knocked out a huge solo home run. His 24th on the year that evened up the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
After pitcher Andrew Werner reached on a single to center, Dodger manager Don Mattingly decided he’d seen enough from Blanton and replaced him with reliever Randy Choate. Logan Forsythe reached on infield single to second, that advanced Werner to second base. Ronald Belisario relieved Choate, and Padres manager Bud Black decided to have pitcher Clayton Richard pinch run for Werner. Headley who earlier hit a home run, connected on an RBI single that scored Richard and reclaimed the lead over the Dodgers 3-2 in the seventh inning.
The Dodgers continued to struggle, and with little hope in sight as they approached the bottom of the ninth inning, Ramirez struck out. Andre Either comes to the plate, and drills a very timely home run that tied the game again at 3-3.
In extra inning closer Brandon League pitched his best game as Dodger, prevent any Padre from being scoring position. Now the Dodger offense had to come alive just one time, could they do it? Either connected on a single to right field. Cruz also singled to center which advance Either to third base. Dodger catcher AJ Ellis hit a clutch walk off single in the bottom of the eleventh inning that scored Either, and the Dodgers defeated the Padres in dramatic fashion 4-3.
“As long as we take care of business on our end, we’ll be happy at the end of the month. A couple guys in the clubhouse called it fourth-quarter September,” said Ellis as his jersey was being ripped off by his teammates in celebration.
“Other than getting our heart rates up, we’re not making it easy on ourselves. That feeling of knowing we can win these games late is being fortified better. It shows all the guys on this team we’re not going to roll over,” said Andre Either.
The Dodgers continue to remain 4.5 games back of first place San Francisco Giants and just .5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the Wild Card spot.
Dodgers’ Brandon League (1-1) picked up the victory with two relief innings. He gave up one hit, struck out two and walked one.
Padres Cory Burns (0-1) received the loss
Padres starter Andrew Werner gave up two runs and five hits in six innings, struck out a career-high eight and walked one in only his third start.
Dodgers starter Joe Blanton gave up three runs and seven hits in six and two-thirds innings. He also struck out six and walked two in a solid performance.
After taking two out of three from the Atlanta Braves on the road, the Dodgers had a series three game set with the rival Giants for sole possession of first place in the NL West.
It would be the battle of the lefty’s as the Giants Madison Bumgarner would take on Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. As both pitchers combined for an impressive 20 strikeouts and no walks, somebody had to come up the loser.
Kershaw was not strong out of the gate and neither was the Dodger defense, as Angel Pagan hit a double deep to left center over the head of outfielder Shane Victorino. Marco Scutaro hit a sacrifice to first base that advance Pagan to third. Then the Big Panda known as Pablo Sandoval kicked into high gear, as he connected on an RBI sacrifice fly to left that scored Pagan and gave the Giants the 1-0 lead. Kershaw continued as he struck out red hot hitter Busty Posey looking to end the inning.
The Dodgers were robbed off scoring in the bottom of the first inning, thanks to fly outs by Victorino and Matt Kemp.
Kershaw also made sure that the Giants were unsuccessful of scoring any more runs, as both lefty’s were in the zone. Both Bumgarner and Kershaw battled to see who would give up a score and in the sixth inning, Kershaw would lose that battle.
As Scutaro singled to left, Pagan advanced to third base. Once again The Big Panda Sandoval struck again hitting a clutch RBI single to left, that drove in Pagan and the Giants were on top 2-0.
With no run support behind him Kershaw continued to maintain his pose and pitched well into the eight inning without allowing a single run. Unfortunately for the Dodgers Bumgarner happened to be on the same page by denying the Dodgers any opportunity to score either.
“You’re always in for a battle against these guys,” said Kershaw. “You’ve got to tip your hat to Bumgarner. He pitched awesome. Two runs ended up being too many, and that’s just the way it was.”
In the top of the ninth inning closer Ronald Belisario relieved Kershaw and was very effective as Sandoval, Posey and Pence all struck out for the easy 1-2-3 inning.
Giants reliever Sergio Romo had his work cut out for him with two outs and a chance to complete the shutout, Hanley Ramirez connected on a solo home run deep to left center that ended the Dodger scoreless dilemma.
Giants manager Bruce Bouchy decided Romo had enough and brought in reliever Javier Lopez.
Lopez got the final out when Andre Either grounded out to first base and the Giants held on for the 2-1 victory over the Dodgers. Lopez picked up his second save on the season.
The Giants moved into first place by 1/2 game over the Dodgers with Monday night’s victory.
Dodgers Clayton Kershaw (11-7) pitched eight innings on six hits, two runs and ten strikeouts. Giants Madison Bumgarner (14-7) also pitched eight strong innings on four hits, and ten strikeouts, giving him an NL best 61 strikeouts since the All-Star break.
Giants manager Bruce Bouchy spoke about his starter’s performance, “both guys had great stuff. I enjoyed watching the game,” Giants manager Bruce Bouchy said. “Bum had great focus out there and concentration. He’s a tremendous talent.”
“We had our hands full with Madison tonight. He gives you a lot of angles with that crossfire (delivery), and that cutter kind of comes out of his shoulder. We didn’t have a whole lot of chances” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
*Matt Kemp was hitless in four at bats with a strikeout. Andre Either also went 0-4 with two strikeouts.
On a night where it seems that the Los Angeles Dodgers were facing the biggest rival health with their players that included Juan Rivera and now Matt Kemp.
Kemp was placed on the 15 day DL, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers would have to continue to fight without their premier warrior.
On the other side of the ball, Arizona D-backs pitcher and 2011 Cy Young runner up Ian Kennedy had something to prove against Kershaw, and to remind him how he never forgot how he should’ve won that prestigious award.
Kershaw got out of the first inning rather quickly making way for the Dodger bats to light up hard and fast, as the speedy Dee Gordon singled to left, and thanks to a throwing error by Kennedy, Gordon made it safe to third base. Mark Ellis grounded out to second, but it allowed Gordon to score as the Dodgers took the lead 1-0.
For the next several innings Kershaw was masterful, showing Kennedy and others why he was the Cy Young winner and still a force to be reckoned with on the mound. Frustrating Arizona batters, Kershaw was virtually untouchable, and so was the Dodger offense in the bottom of the sixth inning, Andre Either smacked a solo home run to right center, as Kennedy watched and pounded his glove in disgust. Catcher AJ Ellis singled to center, then James Loney singled that advanced Ellis to third base.
Adam Kennedy stepped up and hit a key sacrifice fly to center that scored Ellis.
Kennedy threw a pitch behind Kershaw and to the backstop before he walked. Kershaw returned the favor in the fifth inning, making Kennedy bail out of the batter’s box on a first-pitch fastball before he walked him.
After pitching seven strong innings, Josh Lindblom relieved Clayton Kershaw who left the field amongst cheers and applause from the Dodger Stadium crowd.
Lindblom was pretty solid, until he gave up a solo home run to Arizona’s Aaron Hill deep to left field that would prove to be the D-backs only run of the game. Lindblom settled down and go out of the inning with any further damage.
Kenley Jensen came in for Lindblom to close out the game, and did an exceptional job, especially getting R Roberts to pop out at first base to end the game, as the Dodgers defeated the D-backs 3-1. Jensen picked up his fourth save in five attempts on the season.
Matt Kemp talked about how he felt about not playing “I’m disappointed. This is my second time being on the DL, and the first time was a long time ago [April 2007]. I like playing every game, but I’ve got to be healthy and playing at 100 percent for me to be effective. So I’ve got to let it heal.”
Kemp is still on course for his goal of 50/50, and should win the NL MVP award this season, as he’ll continue to play at a high level once he returns from injury.
Kershaw talked about the warning by Umpire after the incident between him and Kennedy, “Old-school baseball’s one thing, and I understand what the manager’s trying to instill over there, but there’s no place for that here. It’s obvious what they were trying to do, but I don’t agree with what they did. It just felt wrong. He’s a good pitcher, he had an awesome year last year and I have a lot of respect for what he does on the hill. But if that’s how they want to do it, that’s fine. He missed anyway, so no big deal.”