Sixth Time's the Charm
“One win does a lot things for a team,” Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw proclaimed on the field in front of the Dodgers dugout after the corks popped.
It took a while but the Dodgers finally did it. In front of their 11th sellout crowd of 54,531, the Dodgers finally clinched the best record in the National League and the NL West crown with a 5-0 spanking of the Colorado Rockies.
And with that the moribund Dodgers instantly became the toast of Los Angeles.
“This week has been stressful,” manager Joe Torre said of the Dodgers inability to win a game.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw decided to set the tone of the game and showed that he wasn’t fucking around. He retired the first 11 batters striking out nine of them. He would end up pitching six innings giving up only three hits while striking out ten batters, the fourth time in his career he has accomplished that feat.
Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa was mowing down just as many Dodgers until the top of the fourth inning. With Rafael Furcal leading off, de la Rosa threw a 1-0 ball and tweaked his right groin. 40 pitches and his night was done.
With de la Rosa gone, the Dodger had several opportunities to get their offense going.
Once Jose Contreras came in the game, he promptly gave up a single to Furcal. Furcal ended up on third thanks to groundouts by Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp. Manny Ramirez was set to be the savior but lined out to right field on a 2-0 count.
And so it went.
In the fifth inning the Dodgers had runners on second and third with two outs and Kershaw at the plate. He would strike out.
In the sixth inning Pierre stole second with Manny at the plate with two outs. Manny struck out looking to end the inning.
This pattern would mercifully be broken in the seventh inning when the Dodgers broke open the game with five runs while batting around the order.
Casey Blake led off the inning by getting to second base on a single and a fielding error by centerfielder Carlos Gonzalez. James Loney sacrificed him over to third.
With the Rockies infield playing in, pinch hitter Ronnie Belliard hit a grounder sharply to the first baseman Todd Helton. Helton bobbled the ball sending it over to the second baseman Clint Barmes who ended up having no throw with no one covering first. With all of this going down it was ruled a single and allowed Blake to score to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
Thanks to a double by pinch hitter Mark Loretta and singles by Pierre and Manny, the Dodgers would extend their lead to 5-0.
George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings sending the sellout crowd into a frenzy and the champagne and beer in the clubhouse a flyin’.
“We got it done today, and that’s all that matters,” Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said. “I’m proud of our team, and I’m very very happy for our fans. They willed the team to victory tonight.”