Matt Kemp ... first homer, two runs batted in
The Dodgers struggled through six innings, trailing 4-3 and leaving eight on base, and then scored three in the final two to take a 6-4 lead but lefty George Sherrell imploded in the last of the ninth allowing three runs while getting only a single out, the sacrifice fly that won the game.
The game might well have been played on Friday the 13th with all the weird things that happened during the night. L.A. overcame a 1-0 lead in the third to take a 3-1 margin into the last of the fourth with starter Vicente Padilla retiring seven of the last eight Marlins he faced.
An opening single was followed by an out at second on a ground ball but at that moment, the wall protecting the right field foul pole fell down. The game was delayed some 15 minutes while they searched for a way to reattach it.
When it was finally secured, Padilla had misplaced his stuff while standing around on the mound waiting for the repairs. He served up a single and a home run to give Florida a 4-3 lead. He nearly allowed more damage in the fifth but Jeff Weaver came in to retire the side with the bases loaded.
The Dodgers finally scored twice in the eighth and once in the ninth on Matt Kemp's first homer of the season, then gave the ball to Sherrill instead of Jonathan Broxton who had worked two nights in a row.
Six Marlin batters later Florida had a surrealistic come-from-behind win and the Dodgers were left shaking their heads and with a 2-3 record over the first five games of 2010.
Jason Johnson, who has recorded a 22-7 record since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007, started for the Marlins and, after Rafael Furcal doubled to leadoff, the retired Garret Anderson and Matt Kemp on strikes and Manny Ramirez on a ground ball to third. Padilla was tagged for a single and a double in the bottom of the inning to five Florida a 1-0 lead.
Johnson handled the Dodgers with ease in the second, squirming out of a bases-loaded mess when Padilla or Blake missed the squeeze sign and Blake was caught off third. Padilla then struck out to end the threat.
The Marlin lead held until the fourth when Furcal laced a single to center and Anderson doubled inside the line into the right field corner. Kemp singled to right to tie the score and Ramirez's sac fly put the Dodgers up 2-1. Casey Blake's double increased the margin to 3-1.
Padilla, after the two hits and a run in the first inning, held the Marlins to a single hit until Dan Uggla led off the fourth with a single to center. He was erased on a fielder's choice before the padded panel in right field that covers the steel foul pole flopped to the ground.
Former Dodger Cody Blake was at the plate as everyone stool around waiting for the workers to piece things back together. Finally they tied it up with a heavy twine and after some 15 minutes the game resumed.
It wasn't the same Padilla who allowed a single to Ross and a booming home run to rookie Gaby Sanchez to put Florida in front 4-3. He struggled again in the fifth, allowing a pair of one-out singles but Jeff Weaver came in to retire the first Marlin on a ground ball, intentionally walk the bases loaded and end the inning on a force play at the plate when Russell Martin snatched up a short tap in front of the plate and stepped on home for the out.
Padilla allowed eight hits, four runs, walked one and struck out six. His ERA soared to 11.42.
The Dodgers threatened in each innings, leaving nine men on base over the first six. In the sixth inning Martin singled but pinch-hitter Ronny Belliard bounced to the mound but the Marlin pitcher's throw pulled the shortstop off the bag and eliminated a probable double play. Furcal also bounced back to the pitcher and he made a good throw this time but no one covered the bag. Unbelievably, Anderson also bounced back to the pitcher. This time the throw was good and this time someone covered the bag and the inevitable double play ended the inning.
Ramon Ortiz replaced Weaver and worked two perfect innings, fanning three, to keep the game close.
In the top of the eighth, Blake beat out a ground ball to shortstop for this third hit of the game. Blake DeWitt drew his second walk and despite Florida inserting a left-hander on the mound, Andre Ethier, who didn't start because of a sprained ankle, pinch hit and ripped a 3-0 single up the middle for a pair of runs and a 5-4 Los Angeles lead.
Ramon Troncoso retired all three Marlins he faced in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Dodgers bullpen 3.2 scoreless innings.
Kemp boomed a leadoff home run in the ninth, his first of the season and his seventh run batted in over the five games played. The ball carried into the upper rows of the left field seats.
Broxton was apparently never an option in the ninth because he didn't take is coat off in the bullpen. Lefty George Sherrill came in to face two straight Marlin left-handers. He gave up a hit to the first, then hit pinch-hitter Wes Helms on the foot with a pitch. He then walked the bases loaded.
Despite a rare visit to the mound by manager Joe Torre in which he didn't make a pitching chance, Sherrill allowed a booming double that tied the game, intentionally loaded the bases again with an intentional walk and the Dodgers brought both the infield and outfield in for a play at the plate.
Third baseman Jorge Cantu hit a fly ball to medium center field. Kemp had to go back to catch it and his throw to the plate was late and a bit down the first base line as the Marlins snatched the win away. Sherrill's ERA ballooned to 22.50.
The Dodgers out-hit Florida 12-10 but Blake finished with three hits, Furcal and Kemp with a pair each. They left nine on base, Anderson stranding five and DeWitt three, and were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The third and final game of the season-opening six-game road trip will be held this afternoon. RHP Charlie Haeger (0-0, 0.00) will face RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 0.00).
After a day off Monday, LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 5.79) will open a three-game series against Arizona's RHP Ian Kennedy (0-0, 5.40) on Tuesday in the Dodgers home opener.
Wednesday, RHP Chad Billingsley (1-0, 1.69) will square off against RHP Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 1.50) and Thursday, it will be RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-0, 0.00) vs. the Diamondbacks' RHP Dan Haren (1-0, 1.29).
Ausmus Placed on DL; Ellis Recalled
The Dodgers placed catcher Brad Ausmus, 41, on the 15-day disabled list with a pinched nerve in his lower back and recalled A.J. Ellis from Triple-A Albuquerque. Ausmus also missed a week of games during Spring Training with lower back pain. It was the first time in his 17-season career he had been DL'ed.
He moved past Benito Santiago and into a tie for seventh place on the all-time list for games caught with Al Lopez at 1,918 after catching the entire game in the Pittsburgh finale.
Despite the injury in the spring, Ausmus was healthy enough to start the season on the active roster. Ellis played 21 games this spring and hit .278. He has had brief callups the past two seasons. Ellis has a career minor league on-base percentage of .398 and posted a spring OBP of .460, which included a team-high 12 walks.
Dodger Blue Notes --With an infield single in the fifth inning Manny Ramirez became the 91st player in Major League history to register 2,500 hits, including teammate Garret Anderson (2,503). The last Dodger to register his 2,500th hit with the Dodger was Luis Gonzalez in 2007. Although he has yet to go deep this season, Manny Ramirez has hit 85 career home runs in the month of April, the second-highest total of any active Major Leaguer. Leading the way in the season’s first month is Ken Griffey Jr. (90) while Alex Rodriguez is just one behind Ramirez with 84 April round-trippers. ...Andre Ethier suffered a sprained ankle in Pittsburgh while going back into first base on a pickoff play and did not start. Ethier, who celebrates his 28th birthday today, has a tremendous history at Sun Life Stadium, and with a pinch-hit single in the ninth increase his batting (.349), on-base percentage(.402) and .442 slugging percentage. ...When the Dodgers open their home schedule on Tuesday, fans will enjoy 11 consecutive hours of programming on PRIME TICKET. Beginning at 12 noon will be an hour-long pregame show, followed by the game, the “Dodgers Live” postgame show and the debut of “Dodgers Insider: Trip to Taiwan,” a half-hour special about the Dodgers’ recent goodwill trip to Asia. From 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., several additional shows will air, include Matt Kemp’s “In My Own Words” and James Loney’s “Before the Bigs.”