Dodgers Sweep Reds and Extend Streak to 5
The Cincinnati Reds, in town the past 3 days, were in 2nd place in the Central Division and 1st place in the Wild Card standings when the series started. They have a formidable line-up that includes future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr., slugger Adam Dunn, former Dodger David Ross, gruff and hard-nosed player Ryan Freel, and rookie phenom Edwin Encarnacion. Fortunately, these Reds were no match for the mighty men in Blue this week. Cincinnati was swept and they now find themselves a game and a half behind the Padres in the Wild Card race. The Blue Crew earned a 5 game winning streak.
The Dodgers swept this series because of teamwork and perseverance. They realized that they have the tools to win and the will to overcome all obstacles. The first game of the series was a close battle between Brad Penny and his own bullpen. Brad gave up just 1 run, but had to leave after 5 innings of work due to a high pitch count. Then, the Dodger overworked bullpen proceeded to give up 4 runs, but fortune was on their side. Jonathon Broxton entered the game in the 8th inning and shut the door by allowing no runs in 1.2 innings of work. He earned his third save of the year and the Dodgers win the game 6 to 5.
The second game of the series ended up being a 16-inning marathon. The Dodgers opened up with a leadoff homerun by Rafael Furcal and ended it with a walk-off homerun by Ramon Martinez. The already overworked bullpen pitched 9 consecutive scoreless innings that included a 3-inning stint by Derek Lowe. As the 5th hour of the game was about to arrive, with the clock about to hit midnight, Martinez came up to bat and hit his 2nd homerun of the year. Game over. The remaining fans were ecstatic as the team huddled near home plate awaiting the arrival of that night’s hero. The Dodgers win the game with the score of 6 to 5.
Game 3 was like the icing on the cake. Greg Maddux continued his impressive play by starting 2 double plays and pitching 7 strong innings while only giving up 2 runs. The Dodger offense came to life as well. They, for the first time this season, slugged 3 homeruns in one inning. It was a dominating performance. The Dodgers won 7 to 3.
A 5-game winning streak at the end of August can make you feel pretty good about the Dodgers. After the All-Star break, they went 1 and 13. No doubt it was a dismal start to the 2nd half of the season. Then they win an improbable 11 in a row. Suddenly they are back in the race. The Dodgers continued to swing back and forth by winning a series against the Giants and then being swept by the Padres. They scratched and they clawed to win a series against the Diamondbacks. Now, since this past Saturday, the Dodger have won 5 in a row and find themselves in first place with a 3 game lead over the San Diego Padres in the National West Division.
AP Photo by Francis Specker