Dodgers Lose Wild One
It was a game of curious decisions and mishaps. Perhaps the warm weather, an 85 degree start temperature at 7:11 pm, had something to do with it. With nothing decided after nine innings, Dodgers reliever Octavio Dotel (L, 2-3) took it upon himself to end things in the tenth inning despite not giving up a hit with three wild pitches, one of them driving home the winning run for the Rockies 3-2 win.
“I lost my control a little bit, started throwing a couple of wild pitches,” Dotel said. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that.”
But even with all of that having gone down, the Dodgers still had a chance to win the game. With pinch hitter Reed Johnson hitting a one-out single off of Rockies’ closer Huston Street in the bottom of the tenth, Scott Podsednik hit a shallow fly ball that got past centerfielder Dexter Fowler. Fowler managed to get the ball and make a perfect relay throw to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Dodger third base coach Larry Bowa took a gamble and sent Johnson home as Tulowitzki barreled the throw to catcher Miguel Olivo in plenty of time to tag Johnson out.
“They had to be perfect,” manager Joe Torre said on the relay throw. “When I saw Bowa sending Reed, I knew that’s certainly what I would have done. Unfortunately for us they made a good exchange and a perfect throw at the plate.”
But all of the weirdness started in the bottom of the first inning with Podsednik leading off with a single and eventually scoring from second base thanks to two wild pitches by Rockies starter Jason Hammel during Andre Ethier’s at-bat.
After the Rockies tied the game with an Olivo RBI double in the top of the second, the Dodgers got a more mundane run thanks to Jamey Carroll’s own RBI double that was inches fair down the right field line to give the Dodgers the 2-1 lead.
But the curious decision came when with Carroll on third base and one out, Torre apparently called for a suicide squeeze play with AJ Ellis at-bat on a 3-2 count. The problem: Ellis missed the bunt striking out and Carroll already half way to home plate was tagged out by catcher Olivo. Of course for a guy who had a total of 16 sacrifice bunts in his eight years in the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues, the results aren’t that surprising.
“It was just something I felt they had to throw a strike, and they did throw a strike,” Torre said. “He just bunted through the ball.”
Dodger starter Hiroki Kuroda had another good outing going seven innings allowing only two runs while striking out seven and walking one despite being a bit shaky in the first four innings.
“My split finger was definitely a problem,” Kuroda said through translator Kenji Nimura. “I was too cautious, being too careful, because there are a lot of lefties with pop.”
But the ooh-and-aah play of the night went to Rockies’ second baseman Eric Young, Jr. who grabbed Podsednik’s swinging infield bunt and deftly behind his back tossed the ball to first baseman Todd Helton for the close out in the eighth inning.
Dodgers’ second baseman Theriot responded in the top of the ninth going deep into the hole to grab Ian Stewart’s grounder and start a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
Manny Ramirez batted leadoff as a designated hitter for Class-A Inland Empire 66ers and went 1-for-2 with a walk, a single and a strikeout. Ramirez reported no issues with his calf at any point of the evening. For anyone keeping score, the 66ers got plastered by the Lake Elsinore Storm 12-2 with Ethan Martin the losing pitcher going 1/3 inning giving up six runs on three hits and four walks.