While the non-waiver trade deadline passed without the Dodgers acquiring the starting pitcher they were looking for, but just a few hours later they may have found the fifth member of their rotation.
Schmidt pitched six innings, giving up just the single hit, walked four, one intentionally. His fastball was hitting 87 on the speed gun and his breaking ball hovered just over 70, keeping the Braves off balance. In the final inning he had his heater up to 89.
Nine of the 18 outs were on outfield flys. Four were pops on the infield, three were strikeouts and only two were on ground balls.
Andre Ethier broke up a 0-0 game i the fifth inning when he hit a a lightening bolt home run into the right field seats with two on and added an RBI double in the ninth. and drove in four runs to lift the Dodgers past the Atlanta Braves 5-0 on Friday.
"It was big. Every start is big for me. Just to be out there is kind of a miracle in itself," the 36-year-old Schmidt said. "It's debatable whether I was going to make this start and I wasn't sure if they wanted me to -- I wasn't sure if I wanted to. It ended up going a lot better than I expected. It's been a roller coaster from day one, from start to start. I'm enjoying it while it lasts. It might not be forever."
One thing is clear. If he would have been hit hard, could have ended his season and probably his career. If he was hit hard again, Torre said, "it would have been tough to send him out there again. There's no question."
Schmidt, making only his third start since 2007, dropped his earned run average from 7.88 to 4.50 with his strong start. The right-hander missed 2008 after surgery to repair a torn labrum and a frayed biceps tendon in his right shoulder.
"This is the kind of pressure he has handled very well in his career," manager Joe Torre said. "I'm so happy for him. I thought I spied his juices coming back."
Ramon Troncoso, newly obtained George Sherrill and James McDonald combined on a three-hitter. After Troncoso had allowed two hits to lead off the seventh, Sherrill worked a scoreless inning before McDonald retired the final six batters.
Sherrell's performance must have left GM Ned Colletti with a smile on his face. The left-handed reliever, obtained from the Orioles for prospects Josh Bell and Steve Johnson.
He entered the game with two on and none out and ended up striking out the side.
"I wanted to get my feet wet and it was a crucial situation for my first one," said Sherrill, who closed for the Orioles, but for the most part will be a setup man with the Dodgers. "When I came in, I thought back to the days with the Mariners and what it was like pitching with runners on," he said. "I wanted to go after them, get ground balls or put them away when you get two strikes and not let them make a game of it.
"I wanted to get my feet wet and it was a crucial situation for my first one," said Sherrill, who closed for the Orioles, but will likely have a setup role with the Dodgers. "When I came in, I thought back to the days with the Mariners and what it was like pitching with runners on," he said. "I wanted to go after them, get ground balls or put them away when you get two strikes and not let them make a game of it."
"You say he's your eighth-inning guy, but the way they were lined up tonight, the seventh inning was your most important inning," Torre said of Sherrill, who was the Orioles' closer.
Kemp and Furcal singled before Ethier's 21st home run, a new career record. Furcal singled to score Hudson, who was on with a walk, in the seventh and Hudson singled and scored on Ethier's double in the ninth. The four RBI gives the outfielder the team-lead with 66.
Ethier hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Tommy Hanson (5-2) and had a run-scoring double in the ninth.
Manny Ramirez was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts on the one-year anniversary of his trade to Los Angeles from Boston.
Torre moved Andre Ethier from fourth to second, Casey Blake from fifth to fourth and dropped Orlando Hudson to eighth. "We've been struggling to score runs, so it was nice to get that three-run home run and it gave us a chance to exhale," he said.
With the Giants losing to Philadelphia, the Dodgers lead both San Francisco and Colorado by eight games.
In an afternoon matchup in Atlanta the Dodgers will start LHP Randy Wolf (5-5, 3.43 ERA) who allowed only two runs against the Cardinals in his last start. He is 4-11 with a 5.36 ERA lifetime against the Braves and 4-6 at Turner Field.
The Dodgers will face old friend RHP Derek Lowe (10-7, 4.20 ERA) who beat the Brewers in his last start for his 10th win of the season, allowing just two runs in six innings.
Score by Innings
Los Angeles 000 030 101-5
Atlanta 000 000 000-0
Los Angeles ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss 5 1 2 1 .267
Ethier rf 5 1 2 4 .267
Ramirez lf 4 0 1 0 .316
Troncoso p 0 0 0 0 .000
Sherrill p 0 0 0 0 .000
McDonald p 1 0 0 0 .000
Blake 3b 4 0 2 0 .286
Loney 1b 4 0 2 0 .315
Martin c 4 1 2 0 .264
Hudson 2b 3 2 2 0 .290
Schmidt p 1 0 0 0 .000
Pierre ph-lf 0 0 0 0 .316
Totals 35 5 12 5
Atlanta 31 0 3 0
Error- Furcal (14). 2B- Martin (11),
Kemp (13), Ethier (24). HR- Ethier (21).
RBI- Martin 4 (66), Furcal (30).
S- Schmidt, Pierre 2. LOB- Los Angeles
7, Atlanta 10.
Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era
Schmidt (2-1) 6.0 1 0-0 5 3 4.50
Troncoso 0.0 2 0-0 0 0 2.02
Sherrill 1.0 0 0-0 1 3 0.00
McDonald 2.0 0 0-0 0 2 4.89
WP- Sherrill. T- 2:53. Att- 45,225.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers finished 15-10 in July and are 14-8 against NL East foes, going 5-1 facing the Mets, 4-3 against the Phillies, 1-1 against Washington, and 3-3 against the Marlins. Los Angeles holds the best record in all of baseball at 64-39, 2.0 game ahead of the New York Yankees (62-41). Los Angeles has had a share of the Majors’ best record since the start of play on May 3, and are off to their best 102-game start since 1977, when they were 64-38 after beating Montreal, 4-1. ...Casey Blake had two more hits and since suffering through 3-for-24 (.125) slump over seven games from July 21-28, Blake has gone 8-for-14 (.571), raising his average from .271 to .283. Today, during a special pregame ceremony at San Bernardino’s Arrowhead Credit Union Park, Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda will be inducted into the Inland Empire Hall of Fame. For Lasorda, this will be his 13th Hall of Fame. ...The Dodgers recalled left-hander Scott Elbert from Albuquerque and optioned left-hander Brent Leach to Albuquerque. Elbert is wearing No. 57 and Sherrill is No. 52. ...The Dodgers average nine-inning game time has been 3:06:55, which is the longest in the NL. Atlanta’s is 2:45:55, the second-shortest in the league. Last night the game went 3:23.