The Dodgers Stop Monkeying Around as They Cruz to a Series Win in San Diego


Dodgers 8 14 1

Padres 4 10 2

WP- Capuano (12-11)

LP- Kelly (2-3)

September 27, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Movie actor Crystal delivering the first pitch ball before the San Diego Padres game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals were off today, and that made today’s Dodger game very important. With a win, the Dodgers could pick up a game on St. Louis in the Wild Card race and keep their playoff hopes alive. Before the game, the players met a special new friend. Crystal the rally monkey sat upon some of the players shoulders, and it seemed to bring some good luck to the Dodger bats this evening. Chris Capuano pitched out of a few jams, but with a six-run lead behind him he left the game all but assured his 12th victory of the season. The San Diego rookie pitcher Casey Kelly struggled, and by his exit in the fifth inning he had already allowed six Dodger runs. Ronald Belisario served up three runs in the eighth inning, but the Dodgers were able to hang on for the win. Luis Cruz continued to impress with two singles, a double, and two RBIs. Matt Kemp hit two doubles, and Adrian Gonzalez and A.J. Ellis both had two hits and knocked in three runs collectively. Nick Punto, who has been filling in for the ailing Mark Ellis, also collected a couple of hits and a walk. With this victory, the Dodgers finish 41-40 on the road. It’s the first time since 2009 that they have had a winning road record.

Nick Punto, Los Angeles lead-off hitter *sarcasm*, starts off the game with a single which falls right in front of Cameron Maybin in center field. Andre Ethier flies to deep left center field for the first out versus the rookie righty Casey Kelly. Matt Kemp grounds into a force out. Adrian Gonzalez pops out, and the Dodgers strand their man.

Chris Capuano retires Chris Denorfia as he grounds out to second to open the bottom of the first inning. Maybin chases a breaking ball in the dirt and strikes out. Chase Headley manages a lucky single when the ball bounces high off of the third base bag, and Luis Cruz has to wait for it to come down before he can throw to first. Headley steals second with Yasmani Grandal in the batter’s box. Grandal strikes out to end the frame.

In the top of the second, Hanley Ramirez strikes out swinging and Shane Victorino grounds out. Luis Cruz crushes a stand-up double with two outs. Cruz is tagged out between second and third on a groundball hit by A.J. Ellis for the third out.

Somehow Capuano and the Dodgers miraculously escape the bottom half of the second inning unscathed. Jesus Guzman leads-off  with a walk. Yonder Alonso doubles to right field, and the Padres are in business with runners at second and third with just one out. Everth Cabrera grounds out softly to third. Cappy serves up another free pass to Andy Parrino to load the bases up. Then Casey Kelly’s line drive is deflected off of Cappy’s glove, and Punto makes a nice shovel to Hanley who then throws to first to complete the double play! If Cappy’s glove hadn’t got a piece of that ball, it would have surely gone into center field for a base hit.

Capuano starts off the third by striking out. Punto draws a walk, but Ethier and Matt Kemp both strike out. Kelly ends up striking out the side, and the game remains scoreless.

Cappy comes back from that sketchy second inning, and he pitches a nice 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of third by retiring Denorfia, Maybin, and Headley in order.

The Dodgers get on the board first in the fourth inning. Gonzo  lead-offs with a single to right field. Hanley strikes out for the second time against Kelly. Victorino flies out. Cruuuuz comes up with another hit, this time a single to left field. Then A.J. Ellis smacks a single into left field, and he’ll pick up the RBI as Gonzalez crosses home plate! 1-0 Dodgers.

Hanley Ramirez makes a nice stop to throw out Grandal on a grounder in the home half of the fourth. Guzman flies out to left field. Alonso singles on a little bunt to third base. Cabrera grounds into a force to end the inning.

Runs are so nice! Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

The Dodgers explode offensively in the top of the fifth and all with two outs. Matt Kemp legs out a two-out double to begin the rally. The Padres intentionally walk Gonzalez to get to Ramirez. Hanley has struck out twice against Kelly already in the game. Kelly lets one go, and he hits Hanley in the hand with a pitch. The rookie Kelly is beginning to get wild, and he proceeds to hit Victorino with a pitch as well which allows a run to score with Matt Kemp, 2-0 Dodgers. That’ll be all for the young right-hander. Nick Vincent, a righty, comes out of the San Diego bullpen to pitch to Cruz. Cochito comes through of course, and his single up the middle scores Gonzalez and Ramirez! Cruz is 3-for-3 on the night so far. The Dodgers aren’t done yet. A.J. Ellis continues the rally as he singles in Victorino. It’s now 5-0 Dodgers! Capuano strikes out to end the inning, but not before the Dodgers hang up four runs on the board.

Casey Kelly pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts on 102 pitches.

The rookie Casey Kelly is roughed up for 6 runs by the Dodgers. Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Capuano allows a lead-off walk to Parrino in the bottom of the fifth. Denorfia singles, and the Friars have two on with one out. Maybin grounds into an inning ending double play to squelch the scoring opportunity for San Diego.

Miles Mikolas, a right-hander, will pitch the sixth for the Padres. Matt Kemp comes up with his second double of the evening with two outs once again. Gonzalez singles home Kemp to give the Dodgers their sixth run of the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, Capuano allows his fourth walk of the night as Chase Headley take first. Grandal follows with a single. The obligatory wild pitch allows the runners to move over to second and third. Guzman fouls out. That’s going to be all for Capuano, and Don Mattingly brings in the lefty Paco Rodriguez from the bullpen. Paco whiffs Alonso for the second out. Cabrera’s little dribbler loads the bases up for the Padres. Donnie Baseball goes to the pen again, and this time he’ll bring in veteran Jamey Wright to face pinch-hitter Carlos Quentin with the bases juiced. Wright’s slow breaking ball ends up hitting Quentin, and a run comes in on the hit batter. Alexi Amarista grounds into a force out to finally end the inning.

Chris Capuano only allowed 1 run on 5 hits en route to his 12th win of the season. Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Chris Capuano pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits, 4 walks, and 2 strikeouts on 87 pitches.

Brad Bach is in to pitch the seventh inning for San Diego, and he retires the Dodgers in order for the first time tonight.

Kenley Jansen gets the ball in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Dodgers. Cameron Maybin draws a one-out walk, but the Padres cannot do much else against Kenley.

In the eighth, Elian Herrera leads-off with a pinch-hit single against the lefty Tommy Layne. Nick Punto follows with a single, and he ends up going 2-for-3. Ethier grounds into a force out, and Dre is 0-for-5 on the night. Kemp reaches safely on a fielding error by Amarista, and Herrera brings in the seventh Dodger run. Gonzalez line out to first, but the runners advance to second and third on a throwing error by Alonso. He tried to get Kemp at second, but his throw jetted into left field. Hanley chases another bad ball, and he goes down on strikes for the third time.

Ronald Belisario comes in to pitch the bottom half of the eighth, and his meltdown equals three runs for the Padres. Beli whiffs Guzman. Alonso doubles over the stretched glove of Andre Ethier. Cabrera walks, and Mark Kotsay doubles in two San Diego runs. Amarista strikes out. Will Venable‘s single brings in another run as Kotsay scores. The Dodger lead is cut to 7-4. Maybin strikes out to mercifully end the inning.

Cory Burns will pitch the top of the ninth inning for the Pads. Victorino leads-off with a double to right. Shane advances to third on Cochito’s ground out. A.J. Ellis strikes out on a foul tip. With Bobby Abreu at the plate, a wild pitch scores Victorino. Bobby Blue singles to right for the 14th hit of the night for the Dodgers. Abreu steals second with Punto at the plate. Punto makes the third out on a comebacker.

Brandon League will come in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Chase Headley flies out down the line in left. Grandal singles to left. Then Hanley throws away the ball for an error on a tailor made double play. Guzman is safe at first on the DP turned force out. League walks Alonso. Cabrera flies out to end the inning, and the Dodgers win 8-4.

The Dodgers improve to 81-75, and they pick up a 1/2 game on the idle St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card race. They now sit at 3 games back for that second Wild Card spot with 6 games remaining in the season.

Tomorrow the Dodgers return home for their final two series of the season. They host the Rockies for three games, and Clayton Kershaw will go to the mound in what should be his second to last start of the year. Colorado will counter with Jeff Francis in the 7:10 pm game at Dodger Stadium.