Dodgers Out Muscle Yankees 9-4
Both teams quickly forgot about last night’s low scoring pitcher’s duel as the Dodgers walloped the Yankees 9 - 4 in front of a capacity crowd of 56,000 at Dodger Stadium, many home fans waving towels as though the playoffs were here.
“It’s important because they’re the World Champs,” said manager Joe Torre of the win. “I’m not saying that with sarcasm, they’re the World Champs and they’re dangerous.
“I thought we played two pretty games, because even last night we lose two to one and I thought that game was clean.”
The Dodgers punched struggling Yankee starter AJ Burnett for six runs in the first three innings. Burnett dropped his record to 6-7 and raised his ERA to 5.25 as he gave up six hits and walked six.
Two of those runs came in the bottom of the first inning, the Dodgers needing to come from behind as winning starter Hiroki Kuroda (7-5) didn’t have his best stuff tonight, and the first three Yankee hitters he faced crossed home plate thanks to two walks and a Mark Teixeira home run (#13) that landed in the All You Can Eat section.
Dodger bats stayed hot as the late-afternoon game turned to night, scoring seven more runs. The game's offensive star was James Loney despite the strike out that ended last night’s loss. (He was ejected from the already-concluded game for throwing his helmet in protest.)
“You can go to war with James,” said Torre, who began his day at Coach John Wooden’s memorial service, of Loney who was 2-4 with 4 RBI. "These RBIs, when you have men in scoring position, are not easy to come by."
The top of the Dodgers order had a very strong day. Manny Ramirez, who seems to thrive on games with large crowds, reached base on all four occasions today, doubling in the game's first run, while scoring two more and walking three times. Rafael Furcal was 3-5 and Andre Ethier was 2-5.
On Derek Jeter’s 36th birthday, and for the first time this season, he struck out three times, leaving six men on base and ending two the innings of two possible Yankee rallies.
“Well, it was my present then,” jested Torre of the three Ks to his former star player. One of those strike outs came against dominant Dodger middle reliever Hong-Chih Kuo.
Said Torre: “Not too often are you going to see somebody bring in a left hand to pitch to Jeter."
Torre had more to say about Kuo, whose season ERA is miniscule 1.16: “He’s easy to trust, let’s put it that way. He’s really been lights-out.”
The rest of the Dodger bullpen did their job as the only Yankee runs came off of Kuroda. Jeff Weaver, George Sherrill, and Jonathan Broxton, in a non-save closing role, kept a clean scoreboard.
Alex Rodriguez had one hit in four at-bats.
Tonight's contest lasted 3:49, and was the Dodgers' longest nine inning game of the season.
"It felt like it, trust me," said Torre.
Tomorrow’s rubber match of the three game series sees two powerful Texans, each at opposite ends of their careers, take the mound at 5:10 p.m. when Andy Pettite (9-2, 2.48 ERA) goes against Clayton Kershaw (7-4, 3.24 ERA.)