The Dodgers finally returned home from their nine game road trip to kick off an eight game home stand. Three with Atlanta first, followed by Chicago and then the Angels. The boys in blue fresh off of their sweet and satisfying sweep in San Francisco, were unsurprisingly in high spirits tonight.
The Dodgers brought their A-game home with them as they defeated the Braves by a score of 8-4, and won their fourth consecutive game for the first time in 2014. They had to come from behind to do it, but it wasn’t the Dodger offense that provided the spark, but instead the return of hall of fame broadcaster Vin Scully.
Before the bottom of the second, the Dodgers announced that the greatest broadcaster in history, Vin Scully will be returning to the broadcast booth for 2015. They announced his return with a special video shown on the video board. Hyun-jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig, and Justin Turner announced Vinny’s return in Korean, Spanish, and English. The Dodger Stadium crowd went nuts and gave Vin a well deserved standing ovation. It was fitting on his microphone giveaway night. Immediately afterwards, Matt Kemp hit a home run to give the Dodgers a lead.Braves 4 12 0 Dodgers 8 15 1 WP-League-2-2 LP-Varvaro-3-3 SV-Jansen-31 HR-Kemp-9-10-Freeman-15
You see Vin is the Dodger fan’s reward from the Baseball gods for their loyalty. Dodger fans are one of the most loyal fan bases in the game today, and getting to hear another year of Vin Sully’s beautiful voice is a gift from the Baseball heavens. Please cherish every game Vin does, because his voice is a treasure. All I have to say is thank god, thank god, thank god!
With the Dodger’s minds at ease with the knowledge that Vin will be returning in 2015, they went to work. It was Vin’s announcement that sparked the Dodgers to victory, because the game didn’t start well for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers fell behind 4-2 early as starter Josh Beckett continues to struggle with his injured hip. Beckett allowed a run in the first on a single that deflected off of his leg. A walk, a stolen base from the younger Upton brother, and a sac fly from older brother Justin Upton. Puig’s laser throw nearly beat him but he got in just ahead of the throw.
The Dodgers were sparked by the Vin magic, and not surprisingly took a 2-1 lead just moments after the announcement in the second inning. Old friend Aaron Harang allowed a single to Uribe, and Matt Kemp hit the first of his two home runs on the night, a two-run shot to right field that landed just over the wall.
Atlanta took the lead back in the third with two runs. A La Stella single, set up a Freddy Freeman blast. It was back and forth early. That’s how the game went until the Dodgers blew it wide open in the seventh.
The Dodgers tied it in the fifth. The Braves got a run in the top of the fifth, to make it 4-2. Then in the bottom half, the Dodgers plated three. Puig tripled, Gonzo doubled him home. Then after Hanley grounded out, Crawford’s RBI single tied the game at 4-4.
The Dodgers then took the lead for good in the seventh with a three spot. Consecutive singles from Puig and Gonzo, and a Crawford grounder gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead. Then Kemp blasted a monstrous home run to straight away center field that put the Dodgers up 7-4. Kemp looked like his old self tonight as he went 3 for 4 with two home runs, a single, and drove in four runs. Puig had four hits, going 4 for 5 with a triple, double, and two singles, and scored twice. Gonzalez had a great game as well with three hits, and two driven in.
For Atlanta is was their inability to capitalize on opportunities with runners in scoring position that cost them the game. Atlanta was 2 for 13 with RISP and left 14 men on base. Meanwhile the Dodgers were 5 for 18 with RISP.
The Dodger offense got Beckett off the hook as he couldn’t pitch out of the fifth inning. He allowed four earned runs on nine hits and walked four. Former Dodger and big show Aaron Harang didn’t fare much better either. He allowed four earned runs on nine hits as well over six frames. Neither pitcher were involved in the decision.
The Dodger bullpen came through well, as Kenley Jansen had to be utilized for a four-out save. Howell and League were able to wiggle out of jams as well. It was a great night for the Dodgers as they won the opener 8-4.
What an incredible night for the Dodgers! Let’s recap this magical night!
The Dodgers and Josh Beckett get in trouble before the chairs are warm. In the top of the first, B.J. Upton rakes a line drive that deflects off of Beckett’s leg and Gordon can’t make the play. There’s a walk to rookie Tommy La Stella. Freddie Freeman golfs at a third strike. With Justin Upton at-bat, his brother B.J. steals third base. Then Justin’s sacrifice fly to center scores B.J. Despite an amazing throw from Puig that nearly beat Upton. After a walk to Evan Gattis, Chris Johnson’s pop up ends the frame.
The Dodgers go down in the bottom of the first against old friend Aaron Harang. Dee Gordon grounds out. Yasiel Puig singles to center. But Adrian Gonzalez flies to left, and Hanley’s looper to second is the third out.
In the top of the second, Ryan Doumit pops out. Andrelton Simmons lines to Uribe. Harang’s ground ball single extends the inning. Yes Beckett was unable to retire Harang. But he does whiff B.J. Upton to end the inning,
In the bottom of the second inning, the Dodgers announce Vin Scully’s return for the 2015 season. The announcement is made via a video on the Dodger Stadium video board. Hyun-jin Ryu makes the announcement in Korean. Yasiel Puig makes the announcement is Spanish, and Justin Turner makes the announcement in English. The crowd gives Vin a standing ovation that he richly deserves.
The announcement motivates the Dodgers, and they take a 2-1 lead by scoring twice in the frame. Carl Crawford walks. Then with Kemp at the plate, Crawford steals second. Then Kemp blast an opposite field two-run home run that just clears the right field wall and bounces over the wall. The Dodgers take a 2-1 lead!
The crowd erupts after Kemp’s blast. Then Uribe doubles down the left field line, but the Dodgers can’t get him home. Butera’s grounder to first is unable to score Uribe. The Beckett’s grounder to second freezes Uribe at third. Although La Stella made a great diving stop with the Atlanta infield playing up. Then Gordon grounds out to short, and the inning is over.
In the top of the third, the Dodgers give the lead right back immediately in typical 2014 style. La Stella singles to left. Then Freddie Freeman homers to right to put Atlanta back on top 3-2. Justin Upton singles. Upton tries to steal second, but Butera throws him out with a terrific throw. Then Gattis reaches on a rare fielding error from Uribe. Johnson walks. Doumit grounds back to the box. Beckett bare hands the ball, but has a brain fart. He gets confused and instead of throwing to second to start what should have been an easy double play, he tosses to first. With second and third, the Dodgers intentionally walk Simmons to load the bases, and Harang’s pop out gets the Dodgers out of the inning.
The Dodgers strand another runner in scoring position in the bottom of the third. Puig leads-off the frame with a double into the gap. Then it’s the usual RISP home failure. Gonzalez pops out to short. FAIL. Hanley grounds to first. FAIL. Crawford whiffs swinging. FAIL again.
The problem is by the top of the fourth, Beckett has already made 80 pitches. So he’s obviously not long for this game. B. Upton grounds out. La Stella doubles to center. Hanley makes a great lunging stop on Freeman’s grounder to the hole, but is unable to throw out Freeman. There’s another grounder to the box, and Gattis lines out to Kemp.
The Dodgers can’t score again in the bottom of the fourth. Kemp singles, but Uribe and Butera whiff, and Beckett (left to stay in) grounds out.
Why the Dodgers let Beckett take the mound in the top of the fifth is beyond me. So the Dodgers give another run to the Braves. Johnson singles. Then Doumit’s slow roller up the first base line doesn’t roll foul, so the Dodger can only get the out at first. Meanwhile Johnson moves to second. Then Simmons easily doubles in Johnson to give Atlanta a 4-2 lead. Now finally Mattingly comes out to hook Beckett.
Jamey Wright takes over and whiffs Harang for the second out. Then Wright freezes B. Upton on a called third strike to end the inning. But it’s 4-2 Braves.
The Dodgers tie it up in the bottom of the fifth. Puig with a one-out triple and then Gonzo’s run scoring double makes the score 4-3 Atlanta. Hanley is unable to get Gonzo home, as he grounds to Simmons. But Crawford pokes a single to right and Gonzo will score. The Dodgers tie it up at 4-4!
Jamey Wright retires the side in order in the top of the sixth. He’s now retired five in a row. Harang stays out for the bottom of the sixth, and the Dodgers are unable to break the tie. Uribe lines out to Freeman. Butera fouls out behind the plate. Scott Van Slyke pinch-hits for Wright’s spot and doubles down the left field line. But Gordon can’t score him. Still tied 4-4 after six frames.
Brandon League is in to pitch the top of the seventh. Atlanta threatens, but the Dodgers wiggle out of it. Gattis pops out to Gonzo. Johnson then doubles again. Doumit walks, and Atlanta has Jordan Schafer pinch-run for him. But League gets Simmons to ground into the around the horn inning ending double play! The Dodgers escape.
Right hander Anthony Varvaro enters the game for Atlanta. The Dodgers blow the game wide open in the bottom of the seventh. Puig starts it off with a ground ball single chopped up the third base line. Johnson makes a jump and throw, but it’s too late to get Puig. Then Gonzo’s hit and run single goes through the hole at first. Puig hustles into third ahead of the throw. Hanley is called out on strikes for the first out.
Then Crawford’s grounder to second scores Puig, (who was running on contact). Dodgers break the tie and lead 5-4! Then Kemp blasts a monstrous two-run home run over the center field wall! Dodgers lead 7-4!
In the top of the eighth, the Dodgers bring in left hander J.P. Howell. But Howell couldn’t get the last out. He whiffs Ramiro Pena, and then also whiffs B.J. Upton. But then La Stella singles. And Freeman walks. So Mattingly hooks Howell and brings in Kenley Jansen for a four-out save. Justin Upton’s fly to right ends the inning.
Puig has a chance for the cycle in the bottom of the eight, but cant get it. Although the Dodgers pick up an extra run. After Turner Whiffs, Gordon singles, and then steals second. That’s number 47 on the season for Gordon. Puig whiffs. But Gonzo’s double scores Gordon to give the Dodgers an 8-4 lead.
Kenley ran into some issues in the ninth, but records his 31 save. He whiffs Gattis and Johnson, but Schafer singles, and Simmons walks. With two on, pinch-hitter Philip Gosselin’s fly out to Puig ends the game. The Dodgers win 8-4!
Oh and the Giants lost again at home! The Bucs beat them 3-1. That means the Giants have now lost six in a row, and for the first time all season, the Dodgers have won four consecutive games. Oh and the Dodgers are three games ahead in the NL West. Oh and the Dodgers are now 60-47, and are the first club to reach 60 wins in the National League. Oh and life is wonderful at the moment. Oh and I love you all. Oh and Go Blue!
All this winning is making me giddy guys. I gotta go. But check out the Vin Scully announcement video here here.