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Scott Van Slyke's Blast Give Dodgers Extra-Innings Win
One Scott Van Slyke swing brought the game to an end, a two-run home run in the 11th inning that gave the Dodgers the 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"I was just looking for something to hit hard," Van Slyke explained. The ball landed in the left field box seats as what remained of the crowd of 41,867 cheered.
It was the only home run hit in the game, one day after the Dodgers launched six homers off of Arizona pitching. The conditions were nearly the same: a game time temperature in the high 60s with a cloudy sky and the marine layer starting to peek its way back into the Ravine. It actually makes what happened Monday seem more like a miracle.
But no one knows the contrast of days like Adrian Gonzalez. In the third inning he belted a fly ball to right-center field. Even by my jaded eyes it looked like a sure home run. Instead it hit off the top of the wall.
For most people that would have been a double. But realizing that Gonzalez is hardly a sprinter, a good throw by centerfielder Adam Eaton to shortstop Didi Gregorius caught Gonzalez at second base. A single, 8-6 on the putout if you're scoring at home.
The most intriguing part of the game was seeing what Edinson Volquez had as a starter. His first start for the Dodgers at Coors Field wasn't anything to write home about: four runs in four innings. Then again, pitching in Coors Field can be adventurous.
"It's not a good matchup we give him first time out of the gate," manager Don Mattingly said. "A team that hit him pretty good. A park that hasn't been very good to him."
Of course the start before that was his disastrous outing for San Diego against the Chicago Cubs, a six-run nightmare that ended for him two outs into the game and led to his designation for assignment.
Volquez lasted six innings giving up three runs including a two-run home run to Gregorius in the fifth inning — a quality start.
"I thought he was sharper tonight," Mattingly said. "He kept the ball down more tonight."
Mattingly noticed that Volquez kept his composure despite giving up the go-ahead shot to Gregorius. "The thing Edinson fights is himself. He gets mad at himself. He seems to get down on himself. I liked the way he bounced back that last inning."
"I have experience so I know how to step off and make the right pitch to the next couple of guys," Volquez said. He needed only ten pitches to retire the side after the home run.
Volquez was a little disappointed he didn't get the win, but he was nonetheless happy that the team won on the walkoff, as he put it, "so I don't get fired."
The Dodgers magic number is six. They have a 13 game lead in the division, the largest such lead in the Majors. They are the only team in the NL West with a winning record.
Sure the Dodgers goal is to win each day, but the Dodgers should win every game playing in the division the rest of the way.
But the Dodgers need to keeping marching into the postseason improving themselves and shoring up any deficiencies. As we saw against the Reds, there have been some tired arms in the bullpen. Notably Paco Rodriguez has given up two runs so far this month after giving up only one in all of August. In the Reds series it looked like he was starting to tire out.
Enter tonight and Paco needed only 13 pitches to retire the side in the seventh.
J.P. Howell, who has also been a little up-and-down as of late, needed only four pitches to get out the two left-handers he faced in the tenth inning.
"They were great tonight," Mattingly said.
Sure this wasn't the Detroit Tigers lineup. But you have to deal with what's in front of you, and the Dodgers did just that.
Diamondbacks Scorecard: (click to embiggen)
Dodgers Scorecard: (click to embiggen)