The Dodgers had a major problem catching, fielding, and throwing the ball on Friday night. But for once it didn't matter thanks to a rare display of clutch hitting.
Even with a whopping four errors in the field, the offense went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and the Dodgers defeated the Brewers, 7-5. The Brewers slapped around the Dodgers last year, so beating them was a welcome sight. It also gives the Dodgers wins in four of their last five.
This turned out to be a good back-and-forth game... unlike the game in Staples Center at the same time, which saw the Lakers get absolutely demolished by the Spurs. In fact, the Dodgers could have showed up and played as the Lakers and lost by less than 31. But I digress.
Anyway, the Dodgers got the early 2-0 lead after three. In the first, Mark Ellis singled and Matt Kemp walked. Andre Ethier went the other way for an RBI single. Two innings later, Carl Crawford smacked a leadoff homer.
The Brewers also played longball to tie the game. Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt each hit solo shots to make it 2-2. After Betancourt's homer tied it in the fifth, an RBI single by Jean Segura gave the Brew Crew a 3-2 edge.
Adrian Gonzalez had a big night for the Dodgers, and he tied it in the fifth on an RBI double to score Crawford, who was beaned with one out. He should have charged the mound after that! Oh wait, only idiots like Carlos Quentin do that in close games. My bad.
Matt Guerrier has been one of the only Dodger relievers to have pitched well lately, and he got a huge double play ball from Betancourt to end the fifth. But in the sixth, he gave up a single to Alex Gonzalez leading off, which soon led to an RBI single from Norichika Aoki off of Paco Rodriguez to make it 3-3.
Kemp can consider himself a very lucky man, as on that same play he completely whiffed on the ball bouncing right at him, allowing Aoki to get to third. With Ronald Belisario in, Segura missed a suicide squeeze attempt, leading to an easy tag on Aoki. Segura then struck out.
In the seventh, Gonzalez again had a big swing with his team down by a run. This time it was a two-run double to center, though it should be noted that Carlos Gomez flat out dropped it going back. Not an easy play, but one that has to be made. And maybe a bit of hometown flavor in the scoring helped!
The Brewers blew a chance to score in the eighth, as Jerry Hairston committed two errors on grounders. The Dodgers jumped on it by adding two in the bottom half. Believe it or not, it all started on a single by Luis Cruz and double by Justin Sellers. Hairston got an RBI groundout and Crawford an RBI single to make it 7-4.
Brandon League got the save in the ninth, though it did get a little scary. He had an atrocious throwing error to allow one run to score. Braun came up with a runner on second and grounded out on a full count to end it. That could've been a disaster.
Josh Beckett didn't figure in the decision, so he remains winless on the year. He looked decent, but was hurt by the couple of homers. He lasted 5 1/3 innings for seven hits, three runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. His ERA stands at 4.75, which obviously needs to get better. I thought his stuff moved pretty well in this one, so it's something to keep building on.
How nice was it to watch a game where the offense picked everyone up for a change? Gonzalez and Crawford were big. Gonzo drove in three on a couple of doubles, and Crawford homered and drove in two. Let's also give some love to the bottom of the order, as Sellers had two hits and two runs, and Cruz a big pinch-hit single to start the rally in the eighth. Great stuff.
Right now the Dodgers are still in fourth in the NL West, but only 3 1/2 games behind the Rockies, who continue to play some great ball. They've been getting wins, but the injury bug has struck again, this time to Mark Ellis on a quad strain. He's been playing fantastic, so let's hope it's nothing serious. Knowing the Dodgers' (lack of) luck, it probably is.
Stephen Fife will take the mound on Saturday night looking to give the Dodgers a series win.