Late Rally Moves Dodgers Within Half Game of First Place
By Scott Andes
There is only five games remaining until the all-star break, Dodger fans, and the Dodgers are just trying to survive without anymore players getting hurt. With Matt Kemp, Mark Ellis, and Javy Guerra all rehabbing in the same game for the Quakes in Rancho Cucamonga, the Dodgers received more bad injury news. Pitcher Todd Coffey was placed on the DL with a sore elbow, and according to the Dodgers, and their medical staff, it appears Coffey may need season ending surgery. Tommy John was mentioned as the most likely scenario, so it looks like Coffey may not be coming back. If he does not, let’s tip our caps to him, because despite a poor start, he was very effective of late. Rookie Shawn Tolleson was recalled from Albuquerque. Poor kid, I hope he kept his frequent flyer miles. Also Andre Ethier felt pain in his side when swinging in the cages before the game, and his oblique injury appears to have worsened, and he may be placed on the DL. Although Ethier’s injury isn’t to severe, and he is expected to be back on July 13. Meanwhile as Kemp was going 2 for 3 for the Quakes with two singles, a walk and a whiff, the Dodgers had a game going on as they battled the Reds in game two at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto and Chris Capuano locked horns and gave us what we expected for the first six innings, a low scoring pitcher’s duel. Cappy only allowing one run on six hits through six, and six whiffs. His only blemish on the night, allowing two singles, and a RBI double to Brandon Phillips in the top of the fifth.
The Dodgers had only scored one run on a Herrera single, a sacrifice, a balk, and an RBI single from Abreu, through six innings, until they got another contribution form an unlikely source. They rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh, in their typical scratch and claw style that has defined their season. The rally started on a bloop Loney single, and game ball hero Luis Cruz, doubled in Loney to break the tie, then stole home on a failed squeeze on a wild pitch.
We really needed this win to improve our spirits, and even more good news, the Giants, and Dbacks both lost. So with the win, the Dodgers improve to 45-37, and move to within a half game of first place. For the Reds their loss, and the Pirates win, puts them in a tie for first. Here is how it happened.
Cappy starts out shaky in the first with a walk to Zack Cozart, and a single to Joey Votto. However Cappy is resourceful, and resilient, getting Drew Stubbs to fly out, and Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce on Force outs.
In the bottom of the first, the Dodgers are retired quickly on the usual ohfers. Dee Gordon, and Bobby Abreu fly out, and A.J. Ellis grounds out. Cappy only allows a single to Ryan Ludwick in the top of the second. He whiffs Todd Frazier, and gets Ryan Hanigan to ground into an inning ending double play.
Johnny Cueto starts this frame, the bottom of the second, whiffing Juan Rivera. Adam Kennedy singles to right. James Loney uselessly fouls out. Of course Luis Cruz whiffs like a statue to end the frame.
Cappy starts out the third inning, whiffing his opposing starter Cueto, and getting Zack Cozart to fly out to deep right, as Rivera makes a nice running catch on the slicing liner. Cappy whiffs Stubbs to end the inning. Nothing brewing for the Dodgers in the bottom of the third as Gwynn softly lines out, and Cappy whiffs. After Gordon singles, Cueto whiffs his fourth, getting AJ on strikes to end the frame.
Cappy begins the top of the fourth by whiffing Joey Votto looking. Phillips grounds out. Bruce walks, and Ludwick singles to left. Now Frazier walks to load the bases for Hanigan. The Dodgers have a meeting on the mound to talk to Cappy. Hanigan grounds into a force out at second, in a play that ends up being closer than it should have been. Still no score.
Cueto has an easy bottom of the fourth, where he induces Abreu to ground out, and Rivera, and Kennedy to fly out. Cueto leads off the top of the fifth with a flare single just over Loney’s head in shallow right field. It appears Cueto may have injured himself diving back to the bag, but he is ok. Abreu races in to make a nice running catch on Cozart’s flare to left, and Stubbs pops out to Kennedy for the second out. Votto singles off of Cruz’s glove. Of course Phillips who hits .390 at Dodger Stadium, doubles into the gap to break the tie, 1-0 Reds. Cappy battles and whiffs Bruce swinging to end the frame, and contains the scorage to one run.
Cueto retires the Dodgers quickly in order in the bottom of the fifth. Preserving the Reds 1-0 lead. Cappy also responds with a 123 inning of his own in the top of the sixth. He whiffs Ludwick for his sixth whiff of the game. Then gets Frazier and Hanigan both to ground out, and keeps the game at 1-0.
The Dodgers finally tie it up in the bottom of the sixth, on a single, a sacrifice, a balk, and an RBI single from Abreu. Elian Herrera comes off the bench to pinch-hit for Cappy. He singles to left to begin the frame. Gordon sacrifices him to second. AJ whiffs again. A balk is called on Cueto, and Herrera advances to third. Abreu comes through on a full count, and singles into center to score Herrera to tie the game at 1-1. Rivera’s grounder ends the frame, and Cappy is off the hook.
Josh Lindblom is called into pitch the top of the seventh. Capuano goes six innings, allowing just one run on six hits, walking three and whiffing six on 98 pitches. Lindblom retires Cueto, and and whiffs Stubbs, but Cozart singles. Mattingly hooks Lindblom, and calls in Scott Elbert to pitch to Votto with two outs. Elbert wins this battle, getting Votto to fly out to Herrera to escape the inning.
Cueto still in to start the bottom of the seventh, but appeared to be possibly tiring. Kennedy whiffs on a full count. Loney a bloop single to center. Luis Cruz, the newcomer, doubles into the gap as Loney is waived home, Ludwick’s throw to the plate is close, as Loney is sliding feet first into home plate, Hanigan, trips him but doesn’t tag him, as Loney’s foot just grazes the plate as he slides safe!!!! The Dodgers take the lead 2-1! Cruz takes third on the throw home. With the squeeze play on, and Cruz running in, Cueto uncorks a wild pitch, and Cruz comes into score the second run of the frame for the Dodgers. The Dodgers lead 3-1! Technically Cruz is credited with a steal of home, since the squeeze was on anyways. Cueto stays in and allows a single to Herrera, after Gwynn whiffs, but Gordon flies out to end the frame.
With the Dodgers now on top 3-1, in the top of the eighth, Ronald Belisario comes in out of the pen. Belisario retires Phillips, Bruce, and Ludwick on three grounders, and the Dodgers leas 3-1 going to the bottom of the eighth.
Logan Ondrusek is called in to finish the bottom of the eighth for the Reds. AJ grounds out. Scot Van Slyke walks in a pinch-hitting role. Rivera whiffs. Ludwick makes a sliding catch on kennedy’s pop fly which ends the eighth.
Enter Kenley Jansen to close shop for the Blue. Frazier flies out. Hanigan flies out to Rivera, as he makes another nice sliding catch. Chris Heisey draws a two out walk. Cozart fouls out behind the plate, and the Dodgers win 3-1!
With the Giants and Arizona both losing, the Dodgers pick up a game on everyone, and move to within a half game of first place. The rubber game is tomorrow on the fourth at 6PM, as Mike Leake will draw Aaron Harang in the last home game of the first half.
This game further proves that Cappy should be an all-star, as he turns in another solid outing. They gave the win to Scott Elbert, his first of the season. We really needed this win! Join us tomorrow, and hope the boys in blue can give us a series win of the fourth of July. We’ll be here win or lose, rain or shine. Go Blue.