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May 21, 2011

Dodgers start IL-Play off Russell’s game-tying HR

by @ 11:16 am. Filed under 2011 Dodgers

CHICAGO — Interleague Play is already off to a great start.  It took 93-years for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs to play a series since the 1918 World Series.  And the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers found a way to win in dramatic fashion against the Chicago White Sox to start their Interleague Play and hopefully propel them back into the NL West race.

The Dodgers, who had lost five of their last six, entered U.S. Cellular hoping to change things quickly before falling further behind the San Francisco Giants.  Things seemed to be on the upswing as Matt Kemp sent a two-run shot for an early 2-0 lead.  But, with one-out remaining in the ninth, it seemed as if the Dodgers would have to wait another day to start a winning streak.

Russell Mitchell was the Dodgers last hope going up against White Sox closer, Sergio Santos.  Entering this point in the game, Mitchell was batting sub-.100 and only playing due to an injury Aaron Miles was suffering.  Since being named the closer for Chicago, Santos has been virtually un-hittable; he had not allowed a run or blown save till his encounter with Mitchell.

However, all good things must eventually come to an end, and that they did for Santos who blew his first save and surrendered his first run as a closer on just one pitch to Mitchell.  Mitchell sent a fastball that just stayed fair into the outfield bullpen for a game-tying homerun.

Los Angeles, then determined not to let this game get away from them, poured on three additional runs in extras for a 6-4 victory in Chicago.  With two men on base, Juan Castro’s single scored Jamey Carroll and advanced Kemp to third base.  James Loney then followed with a double to right that increased the Dodgers lead as Kemp scored.  Another RBI-single, this time by Jay Gibbons, gave the Dodgers a more comfortable cushion to work with, leading 6-3.

The White Sox though looked to make an already enjoyable Interleague opener last just a bit longer.  Chicago hit back-to-back singles in the tenth, and the powerful Adam Dunn came to the plate with one-out.  Dunn was brought to Chicago in the off-season for this particular situation; bring home runs late in games.  Hoping for a game-tying homerun, the White Sox “faithful” would have to settle for an RBI-groundout.

Los Angeles though, would escape the threat on Paul Konerko’s groundout on their way to a 6-4 win.  The Dodgers play two more times in Chicago, sending the ex-White Sox World Series pitcher Jon Garland to the mound Saturday, before visiting last-place Houston.

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