How The Dodgers Reached First Place
While Detroit Tigers’ slugging first baseman Miguel Cabrera marveled at Dodger Stadium, his teammate Dontrelle Willis would have to object. Dodger Stadium has been a house of horrors for the starting pitcher throughout his career. While with the Florida Marlins he made three starts in Los Angeles to come away with a 0-2 record and a 5.30 ERA and a 1.607 WHIP. The passage of time and a change of leagues did nothing change his fortunes as the Dodgers beat up on him and the Detroit Tigers 4-1 in his first start at Dodger Stadium since July 6, 2007.
Admittedly it looked like Willis had exorcised his Dodger demons retiring ten of the first 12 batters he faced - the two base runners coming on an error by third baseman Brandon Inge to lead off the bottom of the first and a single by Reed Johnson in the second inning. But the Dodgers pounced at the first chink in his armor.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Tigers leading 1-0 Matt Kemp lined a single to left field. Not helping his own cause Willis made a wild pitch that sent Kemp to second and walked Casey Blake and Johnson to load the bases. Nick Green, who had all of five at-bats with the Dodgers this season and starting at second in place of Blake DeWitt, was grazed on his back foot on a 1-1 slider which forced Kemp home and tied the game 1-1