Blake's Single Seals Dodgers Victory Walk-Off Style
Casey Blake being mobbed by teammates after hitting a walk-off RBI single for the Dodgers victory. AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
For the 10th time this season the Dodgers have won a game in walk-off fashion leading the Majors.
Tonight Casey Blake in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Florida Marlins broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI bloop single with the bases loaded to give the Dodgers the 4-3 win.
"The real credit goes to the at-bats leading up to that," Blake said after the game. "I'm just trying to put the bat on the ball there, and I found a hole."
Blake's single was framed by lead off singles by Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson. With most of the crowd of 50,248 remaining at the game in a frenzy with Manny Ramirez at bat, Manny struck out on a foul tip. However Andre Ethier would load the bases with a walk which set up Blake's heroics.
"You get some luck in the game," Blake continued, "and right now I'll take anything I can get."
Blake had been cold since the All Star break going 5-for-31 (.161) with only two extra-base hits and two RBI. Even leading up to the final at-bat Blake was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
The Marlins led off the scoring in the game in the top of the first when Emilio Bonifacio hit a single and scored on Jorge Cantu's double off of Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda.
The Dodger would respond in the bottom of the inning when Rafael Furcal led off with a triple off of Marlin's starter Rick VandenHurk and scored on Orlando Hudson's single.
The Marlins took the lead in the fourth when Cantu walked and stole second when Dan Uggla struck out swinging. Catcher Russell Martin would throw wide of second allowing Cantu to advance to third. Former Dodger Cody Ross would score Cantu with a single.
The Marlins looked like they would secure the win when Hanley Ramirez scored from second in the sixth inning off of Jeremy Hermida's single, but the Dodgers have proven this season to be tenacious.
When Andre Ethier and Blake got on base with a single and a walk respectively, James Loney and Martin would score them with singles to tie the game up.
Kuroda went six innings giving up three runs, two of which were earned, while striking out nine batters and allowing only one walk.
"I thought he just seemed so much smoother," manager Joe Torre said of Kuroda's start. "It didn't seem like he was muscling the ball like he's been in a few starts. We wish we could have gotten him a win, but it worked out great for us."
Guillermo Mota came on in relief of Kuroda pitching a hitless seventh and eighth innings. Closer Jonathan Broxton pitched the top of the ninth with the game tied and struck out one getting his seventh win of the season.
With the Dodgers now a Major League-best 20-9 in one-run games, Torre said it will give them an advantage come playoff time.
"We've been battling," Torre said. "It's been good practice for us because if we get to the postseason you're certainly gonna face the cream of the crop and you're going to have play close games. It certainly isn't going to be foreign to us."
"It just seems like it happens to certain teams each year," Blake mused. "They just kind of have some magic."
The Dodgers are now 62-35 and maintain a nine-game lead in the NL West over the Colorado Rockies. They still maintain the best record in all of baseball and have their best 97-game start since going 63-34 in 1974.