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Dodgers Salvage a Game Against the Rockies
Things could have turned out really bad for the Dodgers with it being Clippers night. But the Dodgers got past that and their two losses to open this three-game series to nip the Colorado Rockies 6-4.
"We go into the off day on a good note," manager Don Mattingly said. The Dodgers have a travel day on Thursday before embarking on a ten-game road trip starting with a weekend series against the Miami Marlins.
Things didn't start so peachy. With Grant Hill and head coach Vinny Del Negro throwing out the ceremonial first pitches on behalf of the Clippers, an organization best known for its losing ways, this had all the marks of a losing effort.
To make matters worse Eric Young, Jr. led off the game with a fly ball to centerfield. The ball hit off of the centerfield wall, bounced back past centerfielder Matt Kemp into no-man's land. The throw home came nowhere close to getting a sliding Young.
"I just misjudged it," Kemp said. "I made a mistake."
And rock bottom hit when Dexter Fowler hit a double and scored on Tyler Colvin's single. Before the seats were warm, the Rockies had the 2-0 lead.
But against Jeff Francis, the former 17-game winner that helped bolster the Rockies to their only World Series appearance, the top of the Dodger lineup had their way. Shane Victorino singled, Mark Ellis walked and Kemp made up for the wacky bounce in the top of the inning with a bomb to left-centerfield giving the Dodgers the 3-2 lead.
"I got a good pitch to hit," Kemp explained. "I haven't really been hitting too well with runners in scoring position the last couple of days. I needed to do something. I finally did something to help us get the momentum going."
After Tuesday's game, Mattingly told reporters that he thought his team was playing a bit tight, trying too hard to get hte big hit. Mattingly noticed a change in his team after the home run.
"When Matt hits that home run, that changes the momentum," Mattingly said. "That gets us on the board, gives us the lead and allows us to relax a little bit. That's a huge hit."
The Rockies managed to tie the game in the fourth inning when a jumping Hanley Ramirez at shortstop couldn't grab D.J. LeMahieu's line drive single to left field that scored Jordan Pacheco.
The Dodgers took the lead when Hanley Ramirez worked a bases-loaded walk with no outs in the fifth inning. The Dodgers failed to score any more runs with Andre Ethier lining out to third and Juan Rivera grounding into a double play.
Matt Treanor, hours after his wife Misty May-Treanor won a third gold medal in beach volleyball with her partner Kerri Walsh Jennings, crouched behind the plate for his first start since July 31. He gave the Dodgers an insurance run after getting hit by a pitch with one out in the sixth inning. He took second base on Billingsley's sacrifice bunt and scored on Victorino's single, Victorino's first RBI as a Dodger.
Mark Ellis hit a single to score Victorino, and then things got crazy when Kemp singled to right field.
Ellis got caught between second and third base. Right fielder Tyler Colvin initially made the throw to shortstop Josh Rutledge to pick Ellis off, but he made a deke and safely got back to second base.
However by this point, Kemp had strayed towards second base. Rutledge ran down Kemp and tagged him right on the ass to get the out.
Victorino tortured the Rockies going 3-for-5 and scoring all three times he was on base.
"When I came here, that was the job I was asked to do: to be the top of the lineup, to be a catalyst," Victorino explained. "I'm excited to be up there and be the guy that creates the energy."
So maybe Sandy Koufax did cancel out the bad mojo brought on by the Clippers. He talked to the players before the game and even strolled through the press box.
After the game, the Dodgers announced that Tony Gwynn, Jr. accepted his assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque. However there was no update on Bobby Abreu.
Also on Friday the Dodgers will reportedly option Jerry Sands to Albuquerque and reinstate Adam Kennedy from the 15-day disabled list. So yes, it looks like Juan Uribe will be safe.