The first 7 innings of tonight's ballgame featured 2 teams that looked pretty much lost at the plate. The last 2 is when things got interesting. Fortunately for the Dodgers, they made just a little more plays than the Giants, squeaking out a 5-4 win.
The Dodgers entered the 8th up 2-1 and seemingly in control. Hong-Chih Kuo entered for Clayton Kerhaw and proceeded to do nothing. He pegged Pablo Sandoval and Rich Aurilla singled for men on the corners. It was a rare hiccup for a guy that is normally as lights out a reliever as you'll find.
Ronald Belisario entered and had 2 strikes on Aaron Rowand before watching him unloaded on a no-doubter to left, putting the Giants up 4-2. Both Kuo and Belisario hadn't given up a run this year, so this was their first blemish.
The Dodgers, much to their credit, didn't roll over and die as I've seen them do many times in recent years in games like these. In the 8th, Andre Ethier singled and Russell Martin doubled down the left field line. James Loney hit a sac-fly RBI to get within 1, and Matt Kemp singled past a drawn in infield to knot it at 4 entering the 9th.
After big Jonathan Broxton came on and overpowered the 3 hitters he faced, the bases were loaded on singles by Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez, and an intentional pass to Ethier. Martin grounded into a force play at home, and it came down to Giants' closer Brian Wilson against Loney, who's been known to ground into a double play or 2 (or a lot).
Fortunately, he never had to swing the bat, as he walked on a full count, giving the Dodgers the W. I kind of laughed when that happened since the Giants pretty much handed them the game. There's not many other teams in the league that would do that, but a win is a win.
What's lost in all of this is how awesome Kershaw was. He went 7 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K. That's the most strikeouts by a Dodger lefty since Fernando Valenzuela in 1987, or something like that. Man, was his stuff electric tonight. He definitely deserved the win, but the offense left way too many men on base for that to happen. Regardless, it was great to see him in such control.
After taking the first 2, the Dodgers go for the sweep tomorrow with Eric Stults making his 2nd start since being recalled for the injured Hiroki Kuroda. He faces Barry Zito, who used to be good, but now sucks. Have I mentioned that before? Ya, only like every single time I talk about him. It never gets old!