Dodgers Go Yard Crazy To Top Braves and Even Series
By Scott Andes
The Dodgers are a team that can at times frustrate us to no end, and at other times amaze us to our core. Tonight in Atlanta, the Dodgers amazed us by doing something that they hadn’t done since June of 2007. The Dodgers used the long ball, and an effective outing from Aaron Harang to down the Braves, win the civil rights game, and even the series.
A few hours before the game we learned that Matt Kemp escaped a suspension, and was merley fined for his actions in the final game of the Pittsburgh series on Thursday. However Don Mattingly was not so lucky , and was suspended for two games. Bench coach Trey Hillman managed tonight, and will manage tomorrow. Mattingly was up in the suites in his street clothes watching the game.
The Dodgers scored six runs on four hits. All four hits were home runs. Including hitting back-to-back-to-back jacks in the top of the second inning. That’s three consecutive home runs from Hanley Ramirez, James Loney, and Luis Cruz. Hanley later added another homer, a three-run shot to left which put the Dodgers up 6-1. This was after Kemp and Ethier had walked. Hanley hit two home runs in the game and drove in four of the six runs. This was the first time since June of 2007 since the Dodgers have hit three consecutive home runs. According to Mike Petriello on twitter, the Dodgers haven’t had a game with all home runs as hits since 2002. Keep in mind, the Dodgers have been dead last in the league in home runs throughout the season.
The Braves struck first with a run in the top of the first. They had three walks, and an RBI double from Martin Prado. He also added a solo home run off of Kenley Jansen in the bottom of the ninth.
Aaron Harang despite walking five batters, although three of the five were in the first inning settled down. The Big Show pitched an effective 6.2 innings and whiffed eight batters to pick up his ninth win. I guess you could say he was effectively wild.
The reanimated corpse of Ben Sheets didn’t last long, and took the loss, after allowing four home runs to the Dodgers in six innings. Kenley Jansen allowed just a run in the last inning and a third to pick up save number 25. I swear I am so sick of hearing that annoying tomahawk chant. Can the Braves fans just shut up for once? I swear they chant that after every single at-bat. Chipper walks onto the field, they chant. Uggla walks they chant. Uggla looks fat they chant. For the first time in a long time it was quiet in Atlanta. The Braves fans didn’t have much to chant about tonight. The Dodgers made sure they didn’t. Continue reading for the highlights.
The Dodgers go down 123 against Ben Sheets in the top of the first. Shane Victorino leads off the game with a shallow fly to center. Mark Ellis works a full count before grounding out to short. Matt Kemp whiffs for the third out.
The Braves score a run in the bottom of the first, but leave the bases loaded. Harang begins by walking Michael Bourn on four pitches. Martin Prado then doubles over Kemp’s head in right center field, and Bourn scores easily on the RBI double. 1-0 Braves. Jason Heyward flies out to left. Harang falls behind then walks Chipper Jones to put runners at first and second. I can’t argue with this, because we all know how annoying Chipper can be. Freddie Freeman fouls out to Cruz. Dan Uggla walks to load the bases. David Ross is called out on a check swing. The Dodgers are fortunate to get out of this with only one run allowed.
The Dodgers would rally back in amazing fashion in the top of the second. They would hit back-to-back-to-back jacks from Hanley Ramirez, James Loney!, and Luis Cruz. The inning starts out innocently with Andre Ethier grounding out. Then Hanley steps up and blasts a solo home run to center field, just over the wall. That’s home run number 17 overall for Hanley. The game is tied at 1-1. James Loney then homers into deep right field to give the Dodgers the lead 2-1! That’s the second homer from Loney in the last two days. Then for good measure Luis Cruz goes yard on the very next pitch, curling a long ball just inside the left field foul pole. Dodgers take the lead 3-1! This is the first time since June of 2007 that the Dodgers have gone back- to-back-to-back. (Wilson Betemit, Kemp, Hong Chi-Kuo). A.J. Ellis fouls out to Freeman. Harang grounds out to end the frame.
Harang recovers to retire the side order in the bottom of the second. He gets Paul Janish to fly out. Sheets, and Bourn both whiff. In the top of the third, Sheets retires the Dodgers in order as well. Victorino, and Mark Ellis fly out. Kemp whiffs. Still 3-1 Blue.
Harang allows a double to Chipper Jones, but nothing more. Two good plays from Mark Ellis at second base helped. Prado, and Heyward both ground out to Ellis. Mark makes two great plays. Jones’ double goes over Victorino’s head in left, and Chipper picks up his 20 double of the season. Freeman’s ground out to Loney to end the frame.
Both pitchers exchange scoreless frames again. Sheets shuts down the Dodgers in the top of the fourth. Harang allows another two out double, this time to Paul Janish. He whiffs Sheets to end the inning. Top of the fifth. Cruz grounds out. AJ bounces out to third. Harang whiffs. The score remains 3-1 Dodgers. Harang escapes the bottom of the fifth without damage. Bourn and Prado fly out. Heyward is walked. Chipper is finally retired on a shallow pop fly to left.
Victorino and M.Ellis both ground out to start the sixth. Dan Uggla makes a nice play on the Ellis grounder. Kemp walks. With Ethier at the plate, Kemp steals second base to put himself into scoring position. The throw from Ross was on time, but Janish drops the throw. Ethier also walks. The Braves have a meeting on the mound. Hanley rips a line drive home run into the left field seats on a 3-0 pitch, to give the Dodgers a 3-run lead. That’s the second homer of the game for Hanley. Loney’s line out to Bourn ends the inning. The Dodgers score three though, on another bomb from Hanley and lead 6-1.
Bottom of the sixth. Harang escapes damage once again. Freeman grounds out. Uggla walks. Harang battles his inner bum to whiff Ross and Janish to get the Dodgers out of the inning.
Top of the seventh. Rookie Luis Avilan replaces Sheets on the mound. Sheets goes six frames, allows six runs on four hits, two walks, and whiffs three. He allowed four home runs, and made 98 pitches.
Cruz and AJ fly out in the seventh. Harang bats for himself and grounds out. The Braves threaten in the bottom of the seventh. Harang whiffs pinch-hitter Eric Hinske for the first out. Bourn triples over Kemp’s head in center field. Harang comes back to whiff Prado for the second out. Trey Hillman filling in as skipper for the suspended Mattingly hooks Harang and brings in lefty Randy Choate to face Heyward.
Harang goes 6.2, allows one run on four hits. five walks, and eight whiffs. Harang made 115 pitches.
Choate does his job by easily whiffing Heyward swinging. The Dodgers keep their five run lead intact after seven innings. Christhian Martinez on the mound for the Braves in the top of the eighth. Victorino lines out to Uggla. Ellis and Kemp fly out.
Javy Guerra in for the bottom of the eighth. He walks Chipper, Freeman flies out. Uggla walks as well. With the count at 2-0, Guerra is then hooked. Enter Shawn Tolleson. Ross fouls out to Loney right in front of the rain tarp for the second out. Tolleson then joins the ranks with the rest of the ball throwers, and walks Janish, to really annoy us. Hillman finally can take no more, and hooks Tolleson to bring in closer Kenley Jansen. Hillman does what Mattingly didn’t do last night which is use his closer in a non-save situation. Jansen runs in and literally blows away pinch-hitter, and last night’s hero Juan Francisco, to get the Dodgers out of the inning. Superman Kenley!
Top of the ninth for the Dodgers. Lefty Johnny Venters replaces Martinez. Ethier and Hanley ground out. Loney walks. Cruz also grounds out. Bottom of the ninth. Kenley on to close it out. With a five run lead this is not a save situation. Jansen whiffs Bourn for out number one. Prado then homers into the left field seats. 6-2 Dodgers. That Home run changes things, and now it’s a save situation. Heyward whiffs for the second out. Chipper grounds out to end the game. Dodgers win!
Now we await the results of the Giants/Padres game down in San Diego. If the Giants lose the Dodgers will move back into first place. The two teams continue to battle. Tomorrow the Dodgers will finish the road trip with the rubber game. Chad Billingsley will counter Mike Minor. First pitch is at 10:10AM. Wake up early tomorrow with us for some morning Dodger Baseball! Happy Saturday Dodger fans! Go Blue.