Just Like Old Times at the Ravine
For one day, at least, it felt like May again. You remember the days when the Dodgers didn't have Matt Kemp but still found ways to win. Well the Dodgers reached back into their old bag of tricks and came up with a seventh inning rally to secure the 3-1 comeback victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
"For us we talk about trying to scratch out every win we can just through the break here," Dodger manager Don Mattingly said. "This is a good one for us. We were able to get a win on the board."
It was the third time through the order that was the charm for the Dodgers against Reds starter Johnny Cueto. Having tied the game at 1-1 on Bobby Abreu's RBI single in the sixth inning, things looked to go revert back in the seventh inning as Adam Kennedy led off with a strikeout.
But James Loney lined a single to centerfield for his first hit of the game, and something seemed to change. That something was newcomer Luis Cruz endearing himself more and more to Dodger fans. All he did was hit a fly ball in the gap in left-centerfield which scored Loney easily from first base despite being tripped up by catcher Ryan Hanigan. Although Mattingly didn't think it was as easy.
"When he came around third, I thought he had it easy," Mattingly explained. "Then a parachute came out. It seemed from that point forward it was like things were going slow."
For all of Loney's struggles, notably his 0-for-28 streak last week, he has had a couple of good games going 3-for-6 and scoring two runs. Loney pleaded his case to Mattingly after Sunday's win against the New York Mets.
"He's been pretty good," Mattingly commented. "His word has been good. He told me to give him two games, so that's hoping it continues past that."
"I just told him to put me in there, and I'm going to be great," Loney said. "I just felt in control. I felt I was reading the ball a lot better. I just felt confident that it's going to be a great three months plus more."
So the Dodgers had taken the 2-1 lead, a fact not lost upon the announced crowd of 33,834 going crazy at the ballpark. As the crowd was just beginning to calm down, the Dodgers put on the suicide squeeze play on with Tony Gwynn, Jr. batting. Cruz left third base early, but Cueto's pitch sailed allowing Cruz to easily touch the plate for the 3-1 lead.
"I was looking at him," Cruz said. "When he threw the ball he was looking at me. I'm running, and he's still looking at me. Then he threw the ball up."
The play was ruled a stolen base, the first Dodger steal of home plate since Dee Gordon did it on June 1, 2011 in Anaheim.
"I don't steal any bases," Cruz admitted. I reminded him that the official scorer gave him a stolen base for his efforts. The smirk on his face said it all.
"Yeah they gave me a stolen base. I'll take it, second stolen base in the Big Leagues."
Chris Capuano. For what it's worth, Dodgers starter Chris Capuano had another great outing giving up only one run in six innings. Of course the Dodgers offense being what it has been, the fourth and fifth innings were closely scrutinized.
"The command felt like it came and went from me a little bit," Capuano admitted. "Tonight I felt real good early, then I kind of felt a little off and had to labor through the fourth and fifth innings."
In that fourth inning needing only five pitches, all strikes, to get the first two outs, things got trickier after that. The key moment was when he gave up the walk to Jay Bruce following the second out of the inning. In prior outings, Capuano kept reminding himself to stay aggressive to batters.
"That upset me a little bit," Capuano admitted. "I was overthrowing some pitches to him that I kind of threw in the dirt. That happens sometimes. You get two quick outs and you don't stay on the attack. You let your guard down a little bit.
"That was something I'd like to tighten up next time."
In the fifth inning after allowing a leadoff single to Cueto, Capuano easily got the first two out. A single by Joey Votto and a double by Brandon Phillips scored Cueto giving the Reds the 1-0 lead.
Given the offensive prowess of the Dodgers, it did look to be a debiliating blow.
"I think more so when you've got a guy like Cueto on the other side who is just having a great season and has such great command of the baseball," said Capuano. "You know that every run is big in the game."
Nonetheless Capuano's ERA dropped to 2.62.
Todd Coffey's Elbow. Before the game Mattingly told reporters that Coffey was being put on the 15-day disabled list and Shawn Tolleson was being brought back up. When asked for more specifics, all he divulged was that it was "fairly significant." The official Dodger press release said it was "right elbow soreness."
The real diagnosis? A partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in the right elbow that will require Tommy John surgery. Coffey will miss the rest of the season and will likely miss most of next season.
"I did not anticipate hearing that at all," Coffey said. "There was nothing, no pain, no pinching. I had it before and before it was a bam, sharp, ouch. This was just weird. It's hard to describe it."
Coffey said that the MRI confirmed the tear happened in Monday night's outing.
"It is what it is. You can't lie to the MRI."
Coffey's surgery is scheduled on July 16.
Recovering in Rancho Cucamonga. Reliever Javy Guerra, second baseman Mark Ellis and centerfielder Matt Kemp each played a rehab game with the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Tuesday. Guerra pitched a nearly perfect first inning striking out a batter — leadoff hitter for the High Desert Mavericks Brad Miller reached on an error. Both Ellis and Kemp had two hits scoring a run each.
"Good," Mattingly said when told of the results. "Good result. Nobody's hurt, right? That's a good result."