Hairston’s Five Hits, Cappy’s Quality Start Lead Dodgers to Series Win

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The Dodgers beat the Astros 5-1, in what will probably be the last time these two teams will play each other since Houston is moving to the AL next year. Chris Capuano pitched seven strong innings, only allowing two hits and whiffing eight to earn his eighth straight quality start and seventh win of the year. The Dodgers, only days away from Matt Kemp’s return, received contributions from Matt Treanor (solo home run), Tony Gwynn two two-run singles, and Jerry Hairston had five hits on the day going 5 for 5 with a double and four singles as the Dodgers maintain their 7.5 game lead in the NL west. The Dodgers improve to 21-5 at home. The Dodgers still have the best record in baseball going into Memorial Day.

For Houston, J. A. Happ pitched valiantly, but came away with the loss despite pitching 6.1 effective innings and whiffing ten Dodger batters. Here is how the game went.

Top of the first. After only two pitches into the game, I am already annoyed. Little annoying flea-like second baseman Jose Altuve hits a little dunker into center field, and Tony Gwynn decides he is going to dive for it. There was no reason to of course. He misses, and the ball rolls by him all the way to the wall, allowing the speedy annoying little midget to roll into the third base. Jed Lowrie grounds out to short to score Altuve and to give Houston a 1-0 lead. This is the third straight game that the Dodgers have allowed runs in the first inning. Apparently pitching like crap in the first inning is the new thing. J. D. Martinez flies out to Sands. Carlos Lee pops out to treanor to end the first.

Bottom of the first. J.A. Happ takes the mound for Houston to start the game. Tony Gwynn grounds out. Herrera a bloop single into right field. Herrera has now hit in nine straight. Jerry Hairston hits a smash to short, Lowrie drops the ball then recovers to throw but high, and Hairston is safe. While fielding the throw, Lee accidentally elbows Hairston in the face. Hairston fell to the ground and was seen holding his jaw, but he is ok and remains in the game. Andre Ethier whiffs. Of course Scott Van Slyke, who Mattingly thinks for some reason is lineup protection for Ethier, uselessly fouls out to Lee. Hey you always want minor leaguers hitting behind Ethier right?

Top of the second. Matt Downs begins the second inning by whiffing. Justin Maxwell flies out to center. Cappy whiffs Chris Johnson to end the frame with some nasty off-speed stuff. Bottom of the second. The useless Jerry Sands whiffs to start the second. Matt Treanor who is now Cappy’s personal catcher I guess, singles to right. Dee Gordon rejuvenated since being bumped to the eighth spot in order, singles up the middle. Treanor advances to second. Cappy attempts to bunt, but he pops out to Snyder instead. This is one of the reasons why I hate bunting. Tony Gwynn comes up and on a 0-2 pitch, singles through the hole at short, past a diving Lowrie. Treanor scores the tying run! Then with Herrera at the plate, the Dodgers pull a double steal with Gordon and Gwynn going to second and third. Snyder’s throw is too late. Larceny! Of course it is all for not as Herrera whiffs swinging.

Top of the third. Chris Snyder walks. Happ sacrifices Snyder to second. Altuve grounds out to Gordon. Lowrie whiffs on a called check swing third strike. Cappy is off the hook. Bottom of the third. Hairston leads of with a double, but the Dodgers waste it leaving him stranded there. Ethier whiffs. Then the minor leaguers Van Slyke and Sands both whiff pathetically, and that’s three whiffs in a row to end the third. I think Sands is useless, and honestly I can’t wait for these minor leaguers to get farmed out.

Top of the fourth. Cappy pitches a 123 fourth inning, picking up two whiffs on Martinez and Downs. Bottom of the fourth. Treanor leads off the bottom of the fourth with a bomb just over the center field wall. Maxwell had leaped and put a glove on it, the ball deflecting off of his glove and going over the fence for a home run. After A.J.’s walk-off last night, that’s catcher power! The Dodgers take a 2-1 lead. Gordon walks. Cappy is able to lay down a sacrifice this time. And then of course Gwynn and Herrera both whiff. The Dodgers now lead 2-1.

Top of the fifth. Maxwell whiffs on a check swing to start the sixth. That is six whiffs now for Cappy. Snyder and Johnson both fly out to end the frame.  Vinny had given us a stat about how Happ has yet to pitch into the seventh inning this year. Will that hold up true? Let’s see. Bottom of the fifth. Jhair leads off with a bunt single up along third that rolls into no-man’s land. Ethier then grounds into a double play to erase the bunt single. Van Slyke reaches on a fielding error by third baseman Chris Johnson, who ole’s Van Slyke’s grounder into left field. Of course Jerry Sands who defines uselessness, weakly grounds out to end the inning.

Top of the sixth. Happ whiffs. Altuve grounds out. Then Cappy just loses it. Lowrie singles, then Martinez walks. Honeycutt goes out to counsel Cappy on the mound. Lee hits a line drive heading straight up the middle, and Cappy reaches down to get his glove on it. The ball pops out of his glove, and Cappy picks it up to throw out Lee. Wow what a play by Cappy to end the inning! Bottom of the sixth. Treanor walks. For some unknown reason Gordon sacrifices Treanor to second even though Cappy is on deck. LOL, don’t ask me. Anways, Cappy whiffs, which is Happ’s ninth whiff of the day. It’s all up to Tony Gwynn. Of course he whiffs, and the Dodgers don’t score anything thanks to bunting. ( when does bunting ever work?…never!)

Top of the seventh. Downs leads off with a long out to Sands in left field. Maxwell pops out. With Javy warming in the pen and Cappy reaching 100 pitches, Mattingly has a meeting on the mound to perhaps ask Cappy if he can get one more out. Cappy responds by doing so, continuing his outstanding season. He whiffs Johnson like a rented mule on a sharp breaking ball.

Bottom of the seventh. Happ is still in. He retires Herrera on a broken bat grounder. Hairston another single to left. That’s the fourth hit for Hairston today. Ethier reaches on the second fielding error of the day for Chris Johnson. He tried to field Ethier’s grounder, and as he tried to throw the ball, it was bouncing between his legs into left field. Hot tip for Johnson, you might want to have the ball first befoe throwing it. The fielding blunder puts Dodgers on second and third. Houston makes a pitching change and Happ is hooked. Happ pitches 6.1 allowing two runs, nine hits, walking two and whiffing ten Dodgers. Yes you read that right, Happ had ten whiffs. Fernando Rodriguez is called in, and Mattingly counters with James Loney batting for Scott Van Slyke. Houston walks Loney Intentionally again for the second time in two days. Will those silly Astros ever learn? With Sands on deck, and generally useless, Mattingly goes to the bench and calls Bobby Abreu. Houston goes to the well again making another pitching change. The chess match continues. Enter lefty Xavier Cedeno. He was just called up today after Houston put Abad on the DL. Cedeno makes his major league debut to pitch to Abreu with the bases loaded. Quite an assignment for your first appearance. Abreu draws a full count walk to force in the third run for the Dodgers. Once again, Houston makes yet another pitching change. Enter Enerio Del Rosario? Yeah I think that’s his name. He makes one pitch and of course retires Matt Treanor on an inning ending double play.

Top of the eighth. You can close the books on Cappy. He pitches seven strong innings, allowing one run on only two hits, walked two, and whiffed eight. Cappy made 105 pitches, and delivered his eighth straight quality start. In comes Josh Lindblom to pitch the eighth. Snyder goes down on a fly to center. Brian Bogusevic whiffs. Major annoyance Jose Altuve whiffs on a called third strike. Lindblom is awesome.

Bottom of the eighth. Gordon leads off and singles, and then steals second base. Adam Kennedy, now in the game at third base, as Hairston was moved to left field, advances Gordon to third with his groundout to the right side. Houston has a mound meeting to talk to Del Rosario. Tony Gwynn is 12 for 25 with runners in scoring position, and he delivers again. A base hit into center scores Gordon. 4-1 Dodgers. Gwynn steals second base (third of the season) without a throw from Snyder. Herrera walks. Hairston looking for his fifth hit of the game bloops a single into right field to score Herrera. The score is 5-1 Dodgers, and Hairston has five hits on the day. Wow! Ethier whiffs. Loney pops out to end the frame. Top of the ninth. With the Dodgers up 5-1, Jansen gets the day off. Javy Guerra comes in to close shop. Lowrie flies out, Martinez grounds out to Kennedy. Lee pops out. Game set match. Dodgers win the series.

Rumors are swirling that Nathan Eovaldi is being called up, and Ted Lilly might have a rusty neck again. Lilly is due to pitch Tuesday against the Brewers, so we should find out soon. There was also reports of the Dodgers giving Roy Oswalt a try-out on Friday. Although those reports were much to do about nothing, as talks broke down after Oswalt asked for 7.5 million dollars, which the Dodgers think is a little too much money. We will have more on the Oswalt rumors later.

In the meantime, the Dodgers keep rolling. They improve to 32-16 on the season now. Tomorrow the Dodgers will play the Brewers to start a four game series on Memorial Day at 5PM. Shawn Marcum will duel Aaron Harang. Join us tomorrow Dodger fans! Go Blue.