Dodgers Take Down Nationals In Ten, 3-2
“Players Win Games, Teams Win Championships,” reads a sign on the Dodger clubhouse wall.
Tonight, in the bottom of the tenth inning, James Loney was the player.
His single into left field off of Washington Nationals reliever Sean Burnett scored Ronnie Belliard, cued a massive Dodger celebration on the field, dropped Burnett’s record to 0-6, and earned his team a game in the standings on NL West leaders San Diego Padres.
“You want to think positive,” Loney said when asked if he had any doubts that he would convert the bases loaded opportunity into a victory. It was the first baseman's third career walk-off hit.
Jonathan Broxton (4-3) pitched two hit-less, shutout innings to be credited with the victory. His night at the office -- innings nine and ten -- saw him walking two batters and striking out as many. This work capped off an especially strong night of Dodger pitching.
Starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda lasted seven economical innings (only 88 pitches) which included his retiring the last seventeen straight Nationals hitters he faced.
“Kuroda was amazing,” said manager Joe Torre.
The starter's only blemish was a first inning two-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman that also scored Roger Bernadina, whom Kuroda had walked.
In the fourth inning, the Dodgers nearly took a 4-2 lead, when Matt Kemp crushed a ball to right field that would've been a grand slam home run had Nationals outfielder Michael Morse not caught above the wall. On the play, routinely, new Dodger Ryan Theriot tagged-up and scored.
Morse's excellent catch was followed by a error when he attempted to throw to first baseman Adam Dunn (a cut-off man to home plate) only to realize that he was throwing the ball at a trio Dodger uniforms, and into foul territory, with Dunn nowhere in sight. On the error, Andre Ethier scored to tie the game 2-2.
Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
To win the Championship means making the playoffs. The Dodgers are now six games behind the Division-leading Padres and five games out of the Wild Card.
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