Dodgers Make Things Interesting, Hang On To Defeat Padres
As chaotic as things have been for the Dodgers, at least on Friday night there were some shining moments to report on from the field. Even another wild fishing trip from closer Jonathan Broxton searching for the third out in the ninth inning couldn’t spoil what the Dodgers accomplished: they flashed some power against a pitching staff with the best ERA in the National League as they defeated the San Diego Padres 3-2.
Jamey Carroll got things started for the Dodgers with a leadoff double off of Padres’ starter Clayton Richard (L, 1-2). Although the Dodgers didn’t turn the power on, Carroll ended up scoring on consecutive groundouts to short by Jerry Sands and Andre Ethier.
The power eventually came as Juan Uribe, in his first start since April 22 being sidelined with tightness in his left thigh, belted a solo homer in the fourth inning off of Richard.
“You can see his swing has been getting better as time went on,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Now he’s starting to get those hits out there.”
Matt Kemp added an insurance run which turned out to be the winning run on a solo shot to center field in the seventh inning off of reliever Ernesto Frieri.
And then we have Ethier. After grounding to short and first in his first two at-bats, he lined a double to right field in the fifth inning to run his consecutive game hit streak to 25 games tied for the second longest in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
“I’m just executing and doing my job,” Ethier said after doing his post-game lifting. “The first two at-bats [Richard] was pounding me hard. I was looking for something out over the plate to hit. He threw me a sinking fastball down and in, and I just put a good swing on a good strike pitch.”
In the other dugout the Padres came into the game with a Major League-worst .208 batting average. Dodgers’ starter Ted Lilly (W, 2-2) kept their bats silent with his off-speed pitches.
“I got to the point where I could use my curveball and I was able to get it down,” Lilly said. “I got some swings and misses on those.”
On the other hand, Lilly was quick to point out that his fastball plays a part in his execution. “A lot of that is set up with throwing strikes with my fastball too. It’s a combination. I can’t just go out there and rely on one pitch to get these guys out.”
“Teddy does what he always does,” Mattingly said. “He’s going to keep changing and giving you different looks. That’s what he’s been doing for a while now so he knows how to keep himself in the game.”
But Broxton, oh Broxton. After scoreless innings by Matt Guerrier and Vicente Padilla it was Broxton time, and it didn’t fail to get the adrenaline pumping.
After easily getting the first two out in the ninth inning, he gave up a singles to Will Venable, Orlando Hudson and Chase Headley which yielded a run with runners on first and third with Nick Hundley coming up.
“We’re working on that third out,” Mattingly said. “The first two are coming easy right now. He promised me he’s going to give me some easier ones: I’m going to be really gray really quick.”
It really did look like the game was headed into extra innings when Hundley laced a hooking line drive to left field. But Tony Gwynn, Jr. who came into the game after pinch hitting in the eighth inning got a great jump on the ball and dove towards the foul line to rob Hundley of the game-tying RBI.
“I got a good jump,” Gwynn said. “My instincts led me from that point on.”
Broxton laughed when asked about the play.
“He’s a great defender,” Broxton said. “That’s why he’s in there.”
Kemp appreciated what he saw. “When he gets in the game he makes things happen.”
Although Broxton did notch his sixth save in seven chances this season, it is getting to be a bit dangerous out there.
“We want him to pitch up,” Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly said. “The more he pitches up, the more he’s able to use his sliders.”
But Broxton’s teammates have his back.
“He’s one of the best closers in the game,” Kemp said. “He just has to get ahead of hitters and believe in his stuff. We believe in him.”
LA Angels defeat Tampa Bay Rays 8-5.
W: Ervin Santana, 1-3 - 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR.
L: David Price, 3-3 - 4 1/3 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 1 IBB, 4 K, 1 HR, 1 WP.
S: Jordan Walden (4).
San Diego Padres at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.
LA Angels at Tampa Bay Rays. 10:10 a.m. Fox, AM 830 KLAA.
New England Revolution at Chivas USA. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, KWHY (en español), AM 690 W Radio (en español).