James Loney Dots the Dodgers' Victory
With the Pittsburgh Pirates in town for what are essentially meaningless games, it was amazing the Dodgers drew 41,148 to the park. But with the confluence of fireworks night, Star Wars night, singles night and the start of the Hello Kitty promotion for the weekend, the astonishment was downgraded to a mere nod of respect to the promotions department. While the game might have dragged on, at least the crowd got a 7-2 Dodger win out of it.
Hiroki Kuroda who had been documented with some neck pain in recent days shrugged off any doubts with a six-inning performance giving up only two runs for his 12th win of the season.
“I still think it bothered me,” Kuroda admitted. “I didn’t change any of my mechanics, but it did feel different than normal.”
While the Dodgers took the 3-1 lead off of Pirates’ starter Jeff Locke in the third inning, they weren’t able to run away with the game until the sixth inning. After Russell Mitchell, Jamey Carroll and pinch-hitter Aaron Miles hit singles off of reliever Daniel McCutchen to load the bases, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle brought in leftie Daniel Moskos to face the left-handed Dee Gordon.
Gordon grounded to first base that scored a run and got Miles out at second. Hurdle brought in right-handed pitcher Chris Resop to face Justin Sellers.
Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly brought in left-handed James Loney to pinch hit for Sellers.
Loney had 39 at-bats as a pinch hitter in his career getting only five hits and two RBI. On a 3-2 count, Loney uncoiled hitting a three-run homer that bounced on top of the wall in right-centerfield and into the seats for the three-run homer.
“I make too many outs to get used to anything like that,” Loney said. “You take them any way you can.”
“It was nice,” Mattingly said. “And Aaron that at-bat before to extend it and give us a shot. Those extra runs made it easier for us and let us leave a couple of guys down in the pen that we wanted to rest tonight.”
Loney’s first ever pinch-hit homer gave the Dodgers the 7-2 lead for good. The Dodgers are still hanging on by the skin of their teeth in the wild card race, the next win by the Atlanta Braves doing them in. But as of this game the Dodgers are still in it.
So here is something totally out of left field. Usually it’s the players with the calloused palms thanks to swinging the bat every day. With the Dodgers hosting both Star Wars night and singles night, it might be for the first time in history that there were more calloused palms in the stands than on the field.
Baltimore Orioles defeat LA Angels 8-3. Maybe the Angels heard I would travel down to Anaheim and cover their final series against the Texas Rangers if those games meant something. So for the Angels fans, I’m sorry.
In reality, it was the entire team that let the fans down. Dan Haren couldn’t suppress the suppressible Orioles who exploded for seven runs in his outing that lasted two batters into the sixth inning.
Meanwhile against a pitching staff that has given up the most runs in the big leagues, the Angels could do nothing until the September call-ups were brought into the game in the ninth inning.
Several hours after the game, the Texas Rangers lost 4-0 in Seattle. Perhaps the Angels were kicking themselves a little bit for a missed opportunity?
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