Dodgers 3 7 0
Reds 1 4 0
WP- Belisario (8-1)
LP- LeCure (3-3)
S- League (13)
The Dodgers need to win just about every game from now until October third if they want to somehow sneak into the playoffs. The Cardinals had already lost to the Cubs earlier, so the Dodgers had a perfect opportunity to gain a game in the Wild Card race. Joe Blanton and Bronson Arroyo both pitched very well, and both pitchers only allowed one run yet neither one was involved in the decision. The Dodgers scored first in the second inning on a broken bat RBI groundout from Juan Rivera. Blanton kept the Reds’ bats muted until the fifth inning when a mini meltdown ensued. Mattingly’s decision to intentionally walk the catcher Hanigan backfires when Arroyo singles in the tying run. Shawn Tolleson narrowly escapes a bases loaded jam when he catches the corner of the strike zone on a 2-2 count to Xavier Paul. The two teams had their horns locked, and Ronald Belisario pitched two perfect innings and struck out five Cincy batters to preserve the tie. Matt Kemp brought the late-inning heroics once again as he singled in two runs in the top of the tenth inning which gave the Dodgers the victory after Brandon League shut down the Reds in the home half of the tenth. The Cincinnati division coronation celebration will have to wait another night thanks to the Dodgers.
Bronson Arroyo goes to work in the first inning at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. He retires Mark Ellis on a groundout to short. Andre Ethier grounds out to third. Matt Kemp dunks a single to center with two outs. Adrian Gonzalez flies out to left field to end the inning.
Joe Blanton is on the bump for the Dodgers, and he retires Brandon Phillips on one pitch as he grounds out to third. Zack Cozart grounds out to second. Of course Joey Votto singles to center, and I have to ask why we are even pitching to him? Scott Rolen hits a line drive right into the glove of Mark Ellis to end the frame.
Hanley Ramirez gets himself an infield base hit after Cozart bumbles a grounder. Hanley beat out the throw, but it should have been an error on the third baseman. Hanley steals second with Luis Cruz in the batter’s box. Luis Cruz singles to center, and the Dodgers are in business with runners at the corners and nobody out. Juan Rivera’s broken bat groundout allows a run to score, and the Dodger take a 1-0 lead. A.J. Ellis grounds out. Joe Blanton strikes out, and the Dodgers have to settle for just the one run.
The second inning brings more groundouts. Jay Bruce grounds out to second. The first strikeout victim for Joe Blanton is Drew Stubbs. Then Blanton also whiffs old friend Xavier Paul as the Reds go down in order.
Brandon Phillips makes a sliding butt stop to rob Mark Ellis of a base hit in the third. Ethier flies out, and Kemp grounds out to quickly end the inning.
Ryan Hanigan makes out number one in the home half of the third with a comebacker to Blanton. Arroyo grounds out to short. Phillips flies out to Ethier just ahead of the warning track. That’s another 1-2-3 inning for Blanton.
Gonzalez hits a ball to deep center field, but Stubbs catches the ball right in front of the wall. The long-haired high kickin’ Arroyo strikes out Hanley for the second out. Cruz pops out, and Arroyo has now retired nine in a row.
Blanton is still uncharacteristically cruising through the fourth, and he strikes out Cozart to begin the inning. He induces a pop out from Votto in foul territory and a pop up from Rolen as Cincinnati goes down in order again.
Juan Rivera strikes out to open the fifth. A.J. lines out, and Blanton strikes out.
Blanton starts off well in the bottom of the fifth as he blows away both Bruce and Stubbs on swinging strikeouts. Then Xavier Paul hits a ground-rule double to left center-field that Matt Kemp can’t catch up to. They intentionally walk Hanigan to get to the opposing pitcher. Bronson Arroyo then helps his own cause by singling to left field to bring in the tying run with Paul. Juan Rivera double clutches the ball, and he makes an awful throw to the plate. Phillips flies out to Kemp to end the inning.
There’s more warning track power in the sixth inning as Ethier flies one to deep center field for another out. Matt Kemp comes up with his second hit of the day with a two-out single. Gonzalez follows suit with a single, and Kemp advances to third on the play. Hanley pops out in foul territory, and the runners are stranded as the Dodgers come up empty.
Cozart strikes out to start off the bottom of the sixth. Votto flies out. Rolen hits a two-out single. Don Mattingly chooses to hook Blanton, and he’ll bring in Randy Choate to face Jay Bruce. Rolen steals second. The intentionally walk Bruce. Then Mattingly goes to the bullpen again. Don’t ask me why he totally wasted Choate just for that intentional walk. Shawn Tolleson comes in to pitch to Drew Stubbs. Of course Tolleson walks Stubbs to load the bases up for Xavier Paul. Tolleson rears back and strikes out Paul looking on a 2-2 count! The Reds leave the bases loaded.
Joe Blanton pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts on 95 pitches.
In the seventh, Juan Rivera is hit in the ribs with a pitch with one out. Elian Herrera will come into pinch-run for him. A.J. Ellis hits into a signature Dodger double play to end the inning.
Kenley Jansen will get the ball in the bottom of the seventh for the Dodgers. Kenley blows away Hanigan for the first out. Arroyo grounds out, and Phillips pops out as Kenley sends the Reds down in order.
Bobby Abreu flies out to right to begin the eighth inning. Ethier bloops a two-out single to center. Kemp flies out, and the game remains tied 1-1.
Ronald Belisario comes in to pitch the bottom of the eighth. Cozart grounds out. Belisario strikes out Votto on a nasty pitch out of the zone! Beli also whiffs Rolen!
Then look who comes in for the top of the ninth…old friend and perpetual two-out ninth inning blower of games…Jonathan Broxton! Gonzo grounds out to short. Hanley lines out right to Votto for the second out. Cruz flies out, and we’re going to the bottom of the ninth inning.
Bronson Arroyo pitched 8 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits, no walks, and 4 strikeouts on 88 pitches.
Belisario is back in for the bottom of the ninth. Mattingly loves to push his luck like that. Bruce strikes out swinging. Stubbs strikes out swinging! XPaul strikes out! That’s five Ks in a row for Beli!
It’s extra inning time as Sam LeCure, a lefty, comes in to pitch the top of the tenth for Cincy. LeCure “hits” Herrera with a pitch. A.J. bunts, and Votto tries to get Herrera at second but he’s safe! The Dodgers now have two on and nobody out. Mattingly calls for more bunting, and Nick Punto sacrifices the runners to second and third. Mark Ellis draws a walk to load the bases up. The Reds go to the bullpen, and Sean Marshall, a left-hander, comes in to face Andre Ethier. Ethier strikes out swinging, and now it’s up to Matt Kemp. Kemp is only 1-for-7 this year with the bases loaded. Matt Kemp comes up big. He singles on a line drive to right field! Two runs score, and the Dodgers take a 3-1 lead!
Brandon League comes in for the bottom of the tenth. Hanigan grounds out. League walks Chris Heisey. Brandon Phillips strikes out swinging. Dioner Navarro, another old friend of the Dodgers, fittingly makes the last out with a grounder to first. The Dodgers take game one!
The Dodgers improve to 78-73 on the season, and they move back to two games behind St. Louis for the second Wild Card spot. Milwaukee has been playing hot of late, and they are now only 1 1/2 games back of the Cardinals. The Phillies sit at 3 games back.
Matt Kemp’s shoulder is on the mend, and his bat has perked up. Is it too late? Can the Dodgers work some magic and go on an epic winning streak? You never know in baseball. 11 games remain.
In game two of three against Cincinnati, we will see Stephen Fife versus Mat Latos at 1:05 pm tomorrow. Join us this weekend as we officially usher in fall and continue to document the Dodgers’ 2012 season.