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Video: Dodgers Create More Improbable Magic
I don't know what to believe anymore. Perhaps Vin Scully is right and Dodger Stadium is a Magic Castle. Even manager Don Mattingly couldn't explain things.
"I don't know," he said. "It's kind of fun though."
Of course I'm not questioning the Dodgers ability to come back from a 4-2 deficit in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4 in the 12th inning, the RBI double by Adrian Gonzalez that sent the sounds of Randy Newman coursing through the stadium. When the Dodgers rallied for two runs in the sixth inning, it was obvious that the Dodgers were going to win the game, a birthday present to Magic Johnson.
Here is where reality gets skewed: Carlos Marmol pitched two scoreless innings for the Dodgers and received a standing ovation from what remained of the 44,091 crowd. Marmol, two scoreless innings, standing ovation. Huh?
"That's big for me," Marmol said. "I've been working hard trying to get back."
It seems too good to be true, but Marmol has yet to give up a run in 6 1/3 innings he has pitched this month. It looks like the Dodgers figured whatever was ailing Marmol and put him back together into something resembling a relief pitcher.
"I'm just happy for him," Mattingly said. "You see guys work and have success, it really makes you feel good. It's like [Brandon] League. He struggles early, and the fans are on him. But he kept working, and he's righted the ship."
But that wasn't it in Marmol's bag of tricks. Since the Dodgers were out of position players in the tenth inning, Marmol had to bat for himself with two outs. Despite not picking up a bat since 2008, despite not hitting a home run since 2006, Marmol nearly ended the game with a fly ball to left field using Hanley Ramirez's bat.
"I thought I got it," Marmol said. Of course if he ended the game I would begin to subscribe to God, Buddha, Jesus, Govinda, Zeus, Jupiter and every other deity just in case.
"It's amazing," J.P. Howell marvelled at Marmol's turnaround. Howell talked about what a rare occurence it is to have teammates in the bullpen coach each other up giving pointers during the game. "It's happening here, and you're seeing the results and why it's so important to mesh."
Of course Howell was on a pretty magic team in the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, a team that had to that point been the laughing stock of baseball and the AL East since their inception in 1998. But that season saw the Rays win the AL East and make it to the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
"This is different," Howell said. "The vibe in Tampa was, 'You have nothing to lose.' Here you have everything to lose."
Chris Capuano figured to either pitch a shutout or give up five earned runs — only three of his prior 17 appearances this season did he not give up either no or five earned runs. This start broke that trend: Capuano gave up four earned runs in five innings.
But the Dodgers got two runs in the sixth inning, and Andre Ethier really got things going belting a pinch-hit two-run homer to the opposite field in the ninth inning to tie the game.
"I knew I hit it well," Ethier said. "But it's at night, and it's the opposite field."
For the lack of explanation here is how the game ended:
Of course buried in all of this was Puig's great throw in the second inning:
There really are no words for this. The list of accomplishments via the Dodgers PR staff gets longer and longer:
- The Dodgers have won a season-high eight games in a row.
- The Dodgers have won a franchise-high 12 consecutive one-run games.
- The Dodgers are 23-3 since the All Star Break.
- The Dodgers are a franchise-best 41-7 in their last 48 games in the modern era. The last team to go on such a run were the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals.
- The Dodgers are 70-50, 20 games over .500, their best mark since ending the 2009 season at 95-67.
It's ridiculous. Now the Dodgers get to take their show on the road for three games in Philadelphia and four games in Miami.
Mets Scorecard: (click to embiggen)
Dodgers Scorecard: (click to embiggen)