Hiroki Kuroda ... hits, pitches, but don't win
Perhaps the headline is too harsh. Actually, the Giants won it, with pesky Dave Roberts the catalyst as he was while in Dodger Blue and somehow slipped through their fingers somewhere between the spread sheet and the data base on Paul DePodesta's computer. In either event, the Giants scored twice in the 10th to win 3-2 and L.A. remains a half-game behind Arizona.
If the Dodgers were in any other division in baseball, the story would take on a different direction, but in the struggling "Alphonse and Gaston" ("you take it, oh, no you take it, no I insist, you take it") the battle goes on.
In a night that Barry Bonds returned to AA&T Park for the first time in 2008 for the Giants 50-years in San Francisco celebration and pointed a finger at the L.A. dugout and said something like, "I beat you before and I'll beat you again", the Dodgers and Giants, a mix of the very old and the very young, wrestled each other to a near stand-still until the final hit of the game.
The Dodgers scored in the fifth on a RBI single by Hiroki Kuroda, the Giants tied in the sixth on Dave Roberts pinch-double and a strikeout on a wild pitch plus a sac fly.
Los Angeles jumped ahead in the 10th on Jeff Kent's home run, then lost when Roberts doubled again, Randy Winn blooped a single and Broxton threw wildly on a hopper back to the mound to tie the game, hit Ivan Ochoa to load the bases and Aaron Rowand rolled a single through the right side of the infield for the win.
Don't expect to see the game in years to come on ESPN Classics.
Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Times likened the contest to "two 102 year old guys trying to see who can go the longest without dying."
The 10th inning meltdown wouldn't have happened without Matt Kemp. The young center fielder threw out Omar Vizquel at the plate in the fifth and Vizquel again in the seventh at second base.
The Dodgers got on the scoreboard in the second inning when Manny Ramirez singled, James Loney struck out, Russell Martin walked, Casey Blake struck out, Angel Berroa was hit by a pitch and the Old Slugger Kuroda singled to right field for a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left an even dozen men on base. The Giants were just a bit better, leaving 11.
Andre Ethier and Ramirez singled in the third, Ethier tripled and Kent walked in the fifth, Loney singled and Berroa was intentionally walked in the sixth, Kent singled in the seventh,
Mark Sweeney had a pinch-hit single in the ninth and after Kent's homer in the 10th, Ramirez collected his third single and Blake was intentionally walked.
All were left on base.
Kuroda was saved by Kemp in the fifth after allowing a leadoff double. A ground ball moved the runner up but the center fielder caught a fly ball and nailed the runner at the plate with a perfect throw to Martin.
The Giants tied the game in the sixth when Roberts dropped a double into short right field, moved to third on a ground ball, held while Emmanuel Burris struck out but reached on a wild pitch and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Fred Lewis on what could have (should have) been the third out of the inning.
When you think of a closer, the image of a grizzled veteran comes to mind. Broxton, just turned 24 in June, don't fit that mold but certainly has a veteran closer's mindset.
Technically, he blew his sixth save in 13 opportunities, but this was the first one as a closer since replacing Sammy Saito. There is quite a difference.
He patiently waited by his locker after the game to answer questions about his blown save. He took the horrific 10th inning step by step, pointing out what might have been and what he could have, should have, done differently.
First and foremost, he talked of "turning the page" and putting the game behind him, saying he would think about it for an hour or so, then turn it all off by the time he went to bed.
Of the game-winning hit, he noted "Rowand wasn't going to get anything soft. He was going to get my best stuff. But he found a hole, and it got through."
To many of the writers gathered around him, it was apparent that, young or not, whether Saito returns at the end of the season or next year, Broxton is, in the best sense of the word, a closer.
"It's hard to swallow any time you give it up," he said. "But that's part of baseball. You're going to give it up. You can't be perfect. Everybody is human, and you have to bounce back as quickly as you can.
"For anyone who pitches in the ninth inning, it's a mentality they have to acquire," Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "But his demeanor is that he is going to come right at you."
Torre said "I don't intend to stop giving him opportunities." He said he couldn't fault Broxton's velocity and gave him a pass on the throwing error on a key play at the plate during the Giants' winning rally.
The Dodgers fell back to 58-58 and stay a half-game behind the DBacks, who lost for the third straight time to the Braves.
In the final game of the three-game series, RHP Chad Billingsley (11-9, 3.01 ERA), quickly assuming the role of staff ace, has lowered his ERA to 3.01, lowest among Dodgers starters.
The Giants counter with RHP Matt Cain (7-9, 3.60 ERA), who over his past three starts, has limited opponents to one run or less.
Score by innings
Los Angeles 010 000 000 1-2
San Francisco 000 001 000 2-3
Los Angeles ab r h bi ave
Kemp cf 5 0 0 0 .290
Ethier rf 5 0 2 1 .273
Kent 2b 4 1 2 1 .265
Ramirez lf 5 0 3 0 .485
Loney 1b 5 0 1 0 .297
Martin c 4 0 0 0 .287
Blake 3b 4 0 0 0 .308
Berroa ss 1 0 0 0 .217
Pierre ph 1 0 0 0 .278
Kuo p 0 0 0 0 .300
Jones ph 1 0 0 0 .161
Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000
Kuroda p 3 0 1 0 .081
Sweeney ph 1 0 1 0 .127
Ozuna pr-ss 0 0 0 0 .154
Totals 39 2 10 2
San Francisco 37 3 11 3
Error- Broxton (1). 3b hit- Ethier (2).
HR- Kent (11). RBI- Kuroda (2), Kent (50).
SB- Loney (5), CS- Kent (1). LOB- Los
Angeles 12, San Francisco 10. DP- Kent,
Berroa and Loney; Kemp and Martin.
Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era
Kuroda 8.0 8 1-1 2 4 4.02
Kuo 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 1.79
Broxton (2-3) 0.1 3 2-2 0 1 3.38
WP- Kuroda. HBP- Berroa; by Broxton.
T- 3:26. T- 41,963.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers have won 18 of their last 23 games at AT&T Park, the best road record by any major league team within its own division. ...Andre Ethier had two hits and nearly a third. He is 9-for-18 at AT&T Park this season with four extra-base hits. Ethier, Jeff Kent and Manny Ramirez went a combined 7-for-14, but the rest of the team was 3-for-25. ... James Loney returned to the lineup after missing his first game of the year Friday. ... The Marlins signed Paul Lo Duca to minor league contract and the Pirates sent RHP Franquelis Osoria to the minors after he was designated for assignment and cleared waivers. ...The Dodgers game in Philadelphia on Aug. 24 will be telecast nationally by ESPN. ...Brad Penny's thoroughbred "Synnin N Grinnin" is entered in today's fifth race at Del Mar.
Dodgers aficionado George Hewitt poses this question: "Since the move west 50 years ago, only two men have represented the Giants and the Dodgers in the All-Star Game. Can you name them?
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