Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gonzo and Hanley power up for late win

Needing a lift after blowing a late lead again, the Dodgers turned to the heart of their order.

Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez took it from there.

With the score tied 1-1 and closer Huston Street on the mound, Gonzalez hit a laser out to right for the 2-1 lead.  As the Dodgers were celebrating, Ramirez smashed the next pitch over the wall in right as well to continue his hot hitting.  Kenley Jansen struck out Kyle Blanks for the save, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 victory.  The win gives them two straight, something they haven't done since beating the Braves on June 6 and 7.

Yes, it's been that long.  But like I said after last game, you have to start somewhere, right?

On paper, this one didn't look like much of a pitcher's duel between Chris Capuano and Andrew Cashner, but that's exactly what it turned into.  Capuano was especially impressive considering he was going on three-day's rest, and was limited to a pitch count of 75.  He made it through five innings unharmed, with only two hitters reaching second.

Cashner was just as good if not better, as the Dodgers couldn't do a lick against him through six innings, only gathering two hits.  It sure looked like one of those days where the first team to score would win.

Well, that ended up being true, but each team did score in the seventh.  It started with the Dodgers, as Gonzalez hit a leadoff double to right.  He went to third on a groundout by Ramirez.  Andre Ethier had a chance to drive in a run, but predictably grounded out.

That left it up to Juan Uribe, who came through with a sharp RBI double to right, making it 1-0.  That was his second one of the day, which are two more than he had in his first couple of years combined in LA.  Or something like that.

Peter Moylan pitched the inning before without any problems, but it took all of one batter to turn that around in the seventh.  Of course it had to be that damn Carlos Quentin to tie it up with a long homer out to left.  Figures.

Paco Rodriguez and Brandon League combined to shut down the eighth, so Bud Black turned to Street to keep the score as is in the ninth.  Um, it didn't work.  Street did strikeout Yasiel Puig on outside sliders, which is turning into the out pitch against him.  Puig will have to learn to not chase those, no matter how badly he wants to kill everything.  That's youth for ya.

Gonzalez and Ramirez hit their back-to-back jacks with one out, paving the way for Jansen.  Chris Denorfia hit a soft liner to center that held up just long enough for Ethier to make a sliding catch on.  Hey, at least Ethier's defense hasn't suffered, as that was a great play.  Quentin singled to keep the game going, but Blanks K'd to end it, giving Jansen his fourth save.

If Matt Kemp truly is on his way back, then Don Mattingly may finally be able to pencil in a lineup that actually makes him smile.  Imagine putting Puig, Gonzalez, Ramirez, and Kemp consecutively in some sort of order.  That has some serious potential.  Of course, "potential" means they haven't done anything yet, so they'll have to prove it on the field.  But the track records are there, even for young Puig.

The late offensive heroics were sweet, but let's not forget the strong start of Capuano, who started the year in the bullpen, has spent time on the DL, and now made a start on short rest.  Five innings, four hits, no runs, no walks, and five strikeouts.  That's some good stuff.  His off-speed pitches were located well, and he made the big pitch when needed.  Good for him.

The All-Star break is slowly creeping closer, so the Dodgers don't have much time to at least get out of the cellar before it comes.  They will spend the next week at home, as they welcome the Giants for three, then the Phillies for four.  Hopefully Kemp will join them at some point during this homestand, although going 0-for-5 with four K's in a Triple-A rehab start probably means he's not quite ready.

Up first is a Monday night battle with the Giants.  Hyun-Jin Ryu will get the call against Madison Bumgarner.  The Dodgers have already lost five of six to their rivals this season, so they'll look to get a couple back.

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