The Dodgers were able to successfully catch a Tiger’s tale Tuesday evening at Dodger Stadium with a 3-2 win in ten innings during the first interleague match of the season against former Dodger and new Detroit manager Brad Ausmas.
Despite Kenley Jansen developing a case of the Broxtons by blowing a 2-1 lead with two outs in the ninth, the Dodgers were still able to walk-off in the bottom of the tenth, thanks to Carl Crawford’s base-hit to left, and Rajai Davis’s slip and fall in left field. The often rusty left fielder had three hits on the night, and I think deserves the game ball.
The evil injury bug has struck the Dodgers again, This time it’s innocent victim claimed is the soul of the Dodgers, A.J. Ellis. This morning we learned that poor A.J. had successful left knee surgery on his medial meniscus, (look at me getting medical terms right!), and according got the club will be out 4-6 weeks, not the entire season. All we can do is hope the club is right, but I suspect he’ll be out for a much longer timeframe.
So the club called up Tim Federowicz to take over the primary catching duties, and he was in the lineup tonight, batting eighth. There was tons of interleague creamy goodness at Dodger Stadium tonight as the boys in blue close out the home stand with the first interleague series of the season, a two game set against the defending AL Central champion Detroit Tigers.
They had to do it without Yasiel Puig, as his thumb is still hurting him. The Dodgers are trying to put together a splint for him to wear so he can play, but until then he’s day-to-day. So the Dodgers went with an outfield of Crawford, Kemp, and Ethier.
The task was daunting, as the Dodgers would have to beat last season’s Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Countering him was newly minted Dodger Dan Haren, who matched Scherzer out for out, until coming out after six innings with a 1-1 tie.
Haren threw six innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits, one walk and whiffed four, while making 96 pitches. Haren’s easy going style is refreshing and just what we need right now with all of the annoying injuries. The only mistake he made was the second inning solo home run allowed to Austin Jackson, otherwise, the Tigers only got one man on base from the third through the eighth innings.
Scherzer threw well too, but was just outshined by Haren. Scherzer tossed seven innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits, with eight whiffs. However neither pitcher was involved in the decision.
As for the offense, the boys in blue got a home run in the first inning from the most unlikeliest of sluggers, second baseman Dee Gordon. He led off the game with a home run, that just sailed over the right field fence. After the Tigers tied the game in the second (with Jackson’s home run), The Dodgers plated a run in the bottom of the seventh. Kemp walked, and Uribe doubled him to third. Kemp would come home on a Justin Turner Sacrifice fly.
The Tigers tied the game in the ninth off of Kenley Jansen. Kenley allowed a lead-off double to Kinsler. And after whiffing Miguel Cabrera, (which was a huge build up for a big letdown) he gave up a two-out RBI single to Victor Martinez, and that sent the game to extras.
But the Dodgers won it anyways, despite going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Pinch-hitter Chone Figgins walked against Phil Coke. After Gordon had an irritating bunt failure, Crawford sliced a single to left, as Davis slipped and fell down. Figgins scored all the way from first, and the Dodgers have their first walk-off win of the year! It wasn’t ideal with the blown save in the ninth, but we’ll certainly take it won’t we Dodger fans? Let’s get to the highlights….
Rajai Davis leads-off the game and reaches on a soft liner that somehow eludes Hanley Ramirez’s backhanded efforts. Davis then immediately steals second base, and goes to third on Ian Kinsler’s grounder. Torii Hunter grounds back to Haren, who looks back Davis at third, before tossing out Hunter for the second out. The Dodgers employ a left sided infield shift on Miguel Cabrera, who grounds out to Juan Uribe to end the inning. Dodgers coming up to bat.
In the bottom of the first, Dee Gordon surprises the world with a lead-off home run that sails just over the right field fence. Carl Crawford bloops a single just within the right field line. With Hanley at the plate, Crawford tries to steal second as Hanley whiffs, Detroit catcher Alex Avila throws out Crawford for a strike em out throw em out double play. Of course on cue, Adrian Gonzalez doubles, and had Crawford not gotten thrown out at second, he would have scored. Andre Ethier’s whiff ends the frame, but the Dodgers lead 1-0, thanks to Gordon’s solo home run. The solo shot was estimated at 407 feet.
The top of the second starts with a Victor Martinez ground out and then Haren starts to predictably serve up runs. Center fielder Austin Jackson strokes a solo home run to left that lands above the scoreboard, to tie the game at 1-1. Next up catcher Alex Avila singles to right. But Haren recovers to whiff Andrew Romine for the second out. Haren then whiffs Scherzer to get the third out.
Scherzer starts the bottom of the second by getting Mat Kemp to ground out. Then Uribe singles to center. Catcher Tim Federowicz slaps a slicing foul ball down the right field line. Hunter dashes over to try a sliding catch, but he misses, as the ball bounces into the seats, Hunter slides hard into the wall and hurts his knee, or leg. There is a timeout while the Detroit trainers tend to Hunter’s injury. He is alright, and remains in the game. Uribe is shown holding his helmet, upset that Hunter hurt himself on the play.
After all of that, Fedex and Haren both whiff, as the Dodgers leave Uribe at second. The score is still a 1-1 tie after two frames.
Haren breezes through the top of third, retiring the side in order. Davis grounds out to short, Kinsler lines out to Crawford, and the hobbled Hunter whiffs.
In the bottom of the third, Gordon beats out an infield squibber towards first base. But he’s erased when Crawford’s liner is caught, and he’s doubled off of first. Hanley’s deep fly to left is the third out. We move to the fourth.
Cabrera’s nubber back to the box is the first out in the top of the fourth. Martinez’s dribbler is the second out, as Haren records the out at first base. However replays reveal he might have fouled the pitch off of his foot. Jackson’s fly to left is the final out of the frame. Scherzer retires the side in order for the bottom of the fourth, which includes whiffs of Ethier and Kemp. Onto the fifth frame.
Haren whiffs Avila to start the top of the fifth. Haren walks Romine, which is rare for him. Scherzer sacrifices Romine to second. Davis flies out to right to end the frame. Still tied after five.
The Dodgers come out swinging in the bottom of the fifth, which I like. Uribe’s long drive to center sends Jackson back to the wall to record the out, as the Dodger Stadium crowd moans. Then Fedex doubles down the left field line, and the Dodgers are in business. Haren’s grounder moves Fedex to third with two outs. But the Dodgers can’t score him, as Gordon grounds to first.
Haren retires the side in order again in the top of the sixth, and both pitcher’s horns are locked. In the bottom of the sixth, Crawford leads-off with an infield single, and steals second as Hanley is whiffing. That’s the 450 career steal for Crawford. Gonzo grounds to second, and Crawford has to hold, two down. Ethier’s grounder makes the third out.
Chris Withrow relieves Haren in the top of the seventh. Martinez grounds out, and Jackson flies out to Ethier. Withrow whiffs Avila for the end of the frame.
Kemp draws a walk in the seventh, as he lays off of some nasty Scherzer sliders down and away. Uribe then slices a double into the right field corner, as right fielder Don Kelly, (who replaces the injured Hunter) slams into the low wall. With runners at second and third, Fedex is unable to score either runner as he whiffs for the first out. Pinch-hitter Justin Turner’s shallow sacrifice fly to center scores Bison from third. Jackson’s throw is way offline, which allows Uribe to go to third. Dodgers take the lead 2-1!
Tiger’s reliever Ian Krol gives up a one-out double to Hanley, but the Dodgers can’t score him. Gonzalez and Ethier both make out, and we go to the ninth.
Move to the top of the ninth. Enter Kenley Jansen. But the Dodgers are in trouble immediately, as Kinsler doubles to the gap. Kelly can’t advance him as he grounds to third for the first out. But here comes Cabrera with first base open. The Dodgers pitch to him, as Jansen blows him away with some 99 mph heaters for the second out. But of course it’s all a huge build-up for nothing as Jansen blows the tie as Victor Martinez strokes a clean single to center. Kemp falls down trying to dive for it, but it’s too late, and the Tigers tie the game at 2-2. Martinez tries to steal second while Jackson is batting and is thrown out by Fedex. Detroit challenges the play, but loses, so we go to the bottom of the ninth with a tie game.
Joba Chamberlin starts the bottom of the ninth by whiffing all three Dodgers (Kemp, Uribe, and Fedex). So we move to the tenth frame.
Left hander J.P. Howell is on to throw the tenth. Jackson grounds out for the first out. Howell whiffs Avila, who has whiffed three times tonight. Romine grounds out to push the game into the bottom of the tenth.
Pinch-hitter Chone Figgins leads-off the tenth, as Chamberlin stays in for another frame. The veteran draws a walk and the Tigers go to the bullpen. In comes Phil Coke, a left hander in a double-switch. Of course Gordon stupidly bunts, and pops out. Crawford then slices a base-hit to left, and Davis falls down while trying to field Crawford’s hit. The ball goes all the way to the wall, and Figgins easily scores from first to give the Dodgers the win! Awesomeness achieved!
Well that was fun Dodger fans. The boys in blue will do it all over again tomorrow night at 7:10 PM to close out the homestand. The Dodgers will go for a sweep, as right hander Josh Beckett returns from the disabled list (Or so the club announced tonight during the game). Detroit will counter with Anibal Sanchez.