Lilly's and Furcal's Bats Power Dodgers' Victory
On a night when the Dodgers celebrated Don Drysdale’s 75th birthday, it was the offense that bailed out the Dodgers in their 7-6 victory over the Washington Nationals. Specifically it was the struggling Rafael Furcal who bailed the Dodgers out.
After three hours, 20 minutes, the game was still in a 6-6 deadlock in the bottom of the ninth inning. With one out the Dodgers had runners on first and second and Rafael Furcal at the plate.
“I’ve been fighting myself with the way I’m hitting right now,” Furcal said. “The whole year I’ve been hurt, I don’t have many at-bats. I haven’t been hitting good.”
Furcal, since coming back from his second stint on the disabled list on July 3, had gone .102 (5-for-49) with no extra-base hits and only four RBI. But standing in the box against Ryan Matheus with a 2-0 count, Furcal blasted the fastball just out of the reach of left field Laynce Nix to score Trent Oeltjen.
“You have to come in here positive all the time,” Furcal said. “It’s what happens when you have to play nine innings.”
It was a remarkable comeback considering how the game started for the Dodgers.
“It didn’t start out good for us,” Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly emphasized.
The game appeared all but over after Dodgers’ starter Ted Lilly gave up three runs in the first. Given that he had conceded at least one home run in his last five games, that didn’t bode well. But the Dodgers kept plugging away tacking on a run in the first and second innings thanks to sacrifices to get them to within a run.
Things looked to fall completely apart again for the Dodgers in the third inning when the Nationals scored three more runs, yet again without the benefit of a homer.
“I felt better than the results were,” Lilly said.
But miracle of miracles happened in the bottom of the third inning. The Dodgers got another run home on a sacrifice. Three sacrifices, three runs. Mind you that the Dodgers did manage three hits with runners in scoring position - the bane of their existence - however were unable to plate a run from those hits.
That is until the power hitting from Lilly himself. It could be said that coming into the game he was due for a good hit hitting .061 for the season. In one of the rare moments that felt reminiscent of Drysdale, Lilly lined a two-run two-out double to right field to cut the Nationals’ lead to 6-5. But Lilly wasn’t so proud as to gloat.
“I still got my hands full with Bills and Kershaw,” Lilly said. “Fortunately I was able to help. I put us in a hole with some big innings. Fortunately we were able to come back in large part due to the work of the bullpen.”
After Lilly left the game breaking his streak of five games of giving up a home run, the trio of Blake Hawksworth, Mike MacDougal and Javy Guerra did their job going four innings shutting out the Nationals on only one hit.
“Our guys have been good,” Mattingly boasted about the bullpen. “I feel like they did a good job out of the pen, kept us in games. They keep doing it.”
That allowed the Dodgers to score the tying run in the seventh inning on a very wild pitch from Nats’ reliver Henry Rodriguez and get that key hit by Furcal in the ninth.
“It was nice to see it,” Mattingly said. “Fookie gets a huge hit, this kid has been going hard and taking some heat. It is good to see him get that in tonight.”
It may not have been as grand as a Don Drysdale pitched game, but with the type of season the Dodgers have been having any win is cause to celebrate.
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LA Angels at Baltimore Orioles. 10:35 a.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.
Washington Nationals defeat LA Dodgers. 1:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.