Hong-Chih Kuo sure was in the holiday spirit. He decided to celebrate Independence Day (although he’s Korean and probably could care less) by providing a fireworks display by blowing through the Arizona lineup, striking out all six batters he faced during a 1-1 game in the 7th and 8th innings. Kuo lowered his ERA to 1.03 and WHIP to a paltry 0.72. His strikeout of Andy LaRoche aptly demonstrated his dominance over left-handers as the D’Back first baseman futilely flailed at his offerings. Lefties have managed to get 0 hits off him this year.
Dodgers pitchers struck out a total of 16 batters, Chad Billingsley battled for six solid innings and newly-minted All-Star Jonathan Broxton cruised in the ninth inning. Pitching and Matt Kemp’s 2-run opposite-field BOMB off Aaron Heilman in the 8th inning gave the Dodgers a 3-1 win, and series victory against Arizona. Coupled with the road sweep of the Giants, the series win at Arizona gave the Dodgers a 5-1 record in their past divisional games and the fact that they took care of business on the road is that much sweeter. The Dodgers now get to rest up and carry their swagger over to the next four games at home against the flailing Cubs. The only bad news in the last week is that Manny Ramirez will probably be on the DL and the Padres keep winning games 1-0. LA sits 3.5 games back of San Diego in the division and half a game back of the Mets in the wild card.