Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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CHICAGO– Andre Ethier continued his hit-streak Sunday afternoon as Hiroki Kuroda out dueled Chicago Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano Sunday afternoon. Ethier singled in his first at-bat to extend his hitting streak to 21-games, which opened a five-run first inning by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Aaron Miles got Los Angeles off to great start, tripling of Zambrano who only allowed three hits and struck out ten in his last outing against the San Diego Padres. Things did not get much better for Big Z as he hit the Dodgers next batter, Casey Blake. Ethier followed with an RBI single to get the hit-streak pressure off early. The Dodgers Matt Kemp and James Loney also got an RBI a piece as Zambrano was charged for all five runs in the first.
Chicago looked as if they were going to respond with a rally of their own in the first with Kosuke Fukudome leading off with a double and Darwin Barney singling to try and jumpstart the Cubs offense. Starlin Castro, Chicago’s most consistent hitter thus far, got the Cubs on the board with a fielder’s choice. Carlos Pena also added an RBI single in the inning that only brought the Cubs within three-runs after the first.
After a rough first inning though, Kuroda settled down and only allowed five additional hits as he went to strike-out seven and earn the win for Los Angeles who are still trying to catch the red-hot Colorado Rockies who have now increased their lead over the Dodgers to three games.
Zambrano’s five-run first gave him the loss as Chicago fell below .500 again, but still remain only 1.5-games back in the weak NL Central thus far in the 2011 season.
LOS ANGELES– Ted Lilly went seven innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-2 Monday night to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants. Lilly can be a solid starter, but, he is getting up there in age and probably has one more good season left in him. If his starts can even be 60% as good as last night this season, the Dodgers will compete for the division. They already have ace Clayton Kershaw having success early and Hiroki Kuroda in their rotation.
Lilly four-hit the Braves with six strikeouts as he pitched seven scoreless innings for his first win of the season.
Aaron Miles led off the Dodgers first inning with a single and moved to second on a walk issued to Casey Blake. Matt Kemp hit a one-out RBI single to center. James Loney also singled in the inning and drove in both Blake and Kemp as the Dodgers middle order batters produced the offense early.
Atlanta Braves starter, Tim Hudson, went six innings, earning all four runs and taking his second loss of the season, as the Braves continue to struggle in the early going.
Questions still seem to remain about Jonathan Broxton’s capability of handling the closer role. Even with a comfortable four-run lead entering the ninth, Broxton gave up two-runs to Atlanta. He allowed Brian McCann to leadoff with a single and Dan Uggla followed with double putting runners in scoring position with no outs.
Freddie Freeman grounded out to Juan Uribe, but McCann was able to score on the play preventing the shutout. After Alex Gonzalez struck out, Nate McLouth doubled in the inning too, scoring Uggla from third and cutting the Dodgers lead in half.
After a visit to the mound though, Broxton got Eric Hinske to strike out swinging, giving the Dodgers a victory in the series opener. Kuroda will take the mound tonight to keep the Dodgers rolling.
SAN DIEGO– Typically it does not rain in the southwest making baseball an ideal location to play. Tell that to the fans and players in Friday night’s game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
From the very beginning of the game, it was evident rain was going to be a problem causing a delay after the first inning, a 94-minute to be exact for Dodger starter Ted Lilly. San Diego pulled their starter after the rain delay expired.
The game would go on to have three additional delays before the 2-2 game was called at 1:40AM and to be resumed the following day prior to Saturday’s night cap. The following day luckily contained better weather and ended fairly quickly.
Juan Uribe hit his first double of the season to lead off the eleventh. Aaron Miles pinch-hit for Blake Hawksworth, who was hit by a pitch putting men at second and first with two outs after Rod Barajas struck out swinging. Tony Gwynn then singled to right field scoring Juan Uribe and placing Miles at third. Relief pitcher, Pat Neshek, pitching to Jamey Carroll threw a wild pitch allowing Miles to score and give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead and win. Jonathan Broxton earned the save pitching a no-hit eleventh.
Los Angeles also came ready for a win in the originally scheduled Saturday night game at Petco Park. Dodgers ace Hiroki Kuroda had an amazing game. Kuroda no-hit San Diego for 6 1/3 innings just issuing two walks with four strikeouts during that span. He almost pitched a complete game, which he should have, being pulled with one out remaining. Padres starter, Dustin Moseley, however probably would have enjoyed another rain delay as he gave up eight hits in six innings. He basically gave up what would end being the game winning run in the first. Gwynn led off the game with a double to right field and moved to third on a sacrifice by Casey Blake. Andres Ethier brought him home on an RBI single to left.
The Dodgers managed two more runs in the fifth and a final run in eighth as they went on to shut out San Diego 4-0. Broxton earned his fifth save, two of which were earned on the same day.
Despite getting off to a good start in the series finale Sunday scoring in the first inning, the Dodgers could not sweep San Diego, getting blown out in a final of 7-2. John Ely of Los Angeles got tagged with four runs in 5 1/3 innings. Aaron Harang earned his second win, pitching six innings and only giving a run.
San Diego went deep three times, once with a man on, to account for four of their seven runs. Two of the home runs were off Ely. The Dodgers offense was never involved Sunday as Andres Ethier and Matt Kemp had three of Los Angeles four total hits on the afternoon.
LOS ANGELES — A fantastic night game to end a fantastic opening series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and their arch-rival, the San Francisco Giants. The Giants managed to tie the game in seventh, but, a shaking bullpen allowed Los Angeles to score four additional runs and take opening series three games to four.
Both starters were phenomenal in their 2011 opening debuts. Aside from being involved in a car accident days before his scheduled start, Giants starter Barry Zito, pitched six innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out five. His only struggle came in the first when he surrendered his three runs, but, settled down from that point forward, and at one point did not allow a base runner to reach for 15 at-bats.
Dodgers starter, Hiroki Kuroda, pitched seven innings and was also victim to three runs. After not allowing the Giants first three batters a hit, Kuroda surrendered a lead off solo homerun to Pablo Sandoval in the second, cutting the Dodgers lead 3-1. Kuroda, like Zito, calmed down after the solo shot, as the next 14 Giants were not even issued a walk.
From the very first pitch of the game, the Dodgers looked primed to win this game as Rafael Furcal hit the very first pitch to center field. He scored on Jamey Carroll’s RBI triple that went past a diving Aubrey Huff. After Andre Ethier struck out, Matt Kemp who has been hot in the early going, hit a two-run homerun over the left field wall as the Dodgers led 3-0 after one.
San Francisco got their second run in sixth on a misplay by third basemen, Juan Uribe, whose feet got tangled as he tried to make a play on a soft chopper from Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez moved to third on a hit from Huff and scored on an RBI single from Buster Posey that went in the gap between first and second base. Pat Burrell tied the game 3-3 on a solo homerun to left field, his second of the season.
Then in the bottom of the seventh, the entire Giants team collapsed, and it started with the bullpen. James Loney led off the bottom of the inning with a single to left. Marcus Thames was able to get an RBI triple as Huff misplayed another hit, twisting and turning, and eventually falling into the right field wall. Aaron Miles pinch-hit for Kuroda and got an RBI single. Furcal followed with an RBI double that went all the way to right-center field wall, scoring Miles. Either finished the scoring with his own RBI line shot to right field, giving the Dodger a comfortable 7-3 lead.
The Giants did threaten as they loaded the bases in the eighth and Matt Guerrier walked a run in keeping the Giants in it at the moment. But, Miguel Tejada went fishing on a horrible pitch in which he popped out, ending the threat.
The shaking closer, Jonathan Broxton, came in another save situation and once again got Dodgers fans scratching their heads as to why he is still the closer. The first batter he faced, Aaron Rowand, hits a homerun making the game only a two run deficit, it was also Broxton’s second homerun allowed this spring. Despite Sanchez getting on base, Broxton was able to get Huff and Posey to groundout and earn his second save and give Los Angeles the four game series to open the 2011 season. Kuroda earned his first win too.
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