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Strange Winds Blow Through Dodger Stadium

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In Raymond Chandler’s 1938 short story “Red Wind”, he described the warm Los Angeles nights fueled by the Santa Ana winds as such:

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

While the winds weren’t blowing that hard, the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs certainly did embody the weirdness that Chandler wrote.

The first hint of this came in the bottom of the second inning with two outs, a run in, Juan Uribe on second base and Ivan De Jesus, Jr. at the plate. De Jesus scorched a grounder fair down the first baseline that headed towards the wall of the baseline box club seats. As Uribe stormed home, a fan reached down and picked up the ball in play. In a very curious call by the umpires, Uribe was credited with a run scored and De Jesus was awarded only first base.

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“It was their discretion that he wasn’t able to get to second,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “I really haven’t ever seen a guy call that a single. They probably got it right.”

A factor on the ruling could have been De Jesus stopping at first while trying to figure out the play.

“I encouraged Ivan after that to keep on running, keep going like you got the double anyway, and just give it a shot.”

Then in the fifth inning with Rod Barajas on second base with a lead-off belly flop double and an out, Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw swung on and missed a third strike wild pitch that scuttled out in the direction of the Cubs’ first-base dugout. The problem: Kershaw unknowingly threw his bat towards the ball and may have hit the ball which would have resulted in a dead ball out. Instead the play was allowed to continue and Kershaw took first base with Barajas going to third.

Cubs’ manager argued the call with home plate umpire Jerry Meals, but the play was allowed to stand.

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“I put my bat down and started running,” Kershaw said. “I don’t know what happened, but I made it to first so it’s good.”

Now with Jamey Carroll at the plate - and, mind you, that the catcher Barajas is at third - Manager Don Mattingly called for a squeeze play. Cubs’ starter James Russell charged in mere feet from home plate to field the bunt and made the play to Geovany Soto falling to the ground.

“I felt like Rod got a late break,” Mattingly said. “We know the situation with Rod that he’s not a good runner, but with a left handed pitcher you feel he’s going to be able to get a good break. For me it was just late.”

Thankfully that questionable play was erased by Jerry Sands hitting a two-run double to bump the Dodger lead to 4-1.

And to keep the weirdness coming Andre Ethier, who had been 0-for-2 up to that point, poked at a slider down and away sending the ball arcing to the edge of the infield dirt directly at shortstop Starlin Castro. Castro made a good attempt to glove the ball, but it dropped helplessly at his feet. Sands scored and Ethier was safe at first. For the second game in a row, the decision of the official scorer was waited on with bated breath.

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A base hit, and the hit streak continued at 28 games.

“I just put my nose down and ran to first,” Ethier said.

Ethier is now half way to Joe DiMaggio’s record.

“Only halfway? Wow,” Ethier deadpanned. “We’ve been playing a month? I guess it’s a long way to go. There’s nothing to really get too excited about.”

All in all, a nice way to salvage things after the questionable squeeze call.

“You play for one, you get three,” Mattingly joked.

And to top off the weirdness closer Jonathan Broxton had a relatively stress-free save retiring the side in order in the ninth inning for his seventh save of the season. Mattingly observational powers were on high alert when asked what was different about Broxton in this game compared to the drama of his last several appearances.

“He got the third out.”

It’s just a barrel of monkeys in that clubhouse.

“He told me the last game, ‘I promise I’m going to get you some easy ones,’” Mattingly reported. “Tonight he goes, ‘Is that better?’ Yeah.”

Weird or no, the Dodgers get the win and get to .500.

Boston Red Sox defeat LA Angels 9-5.

Dallas Mavericks defeat LA Lakers 96-94.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

LA Angels at Boston Red Sox. 4:10 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

Chicago Cubs at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.