Dodgers Thrilled to Begin Homestand
Treated Rudely On Nine-Game Road Trip
Home Sweet Home has a nice ring to it for the Dodgers. After concluding a 4-5 road trip, including three losses in their last four games, the Dodgers embarked on an 11-game home stand, their longest of the season, Thursday night against the second-place Padres. Following the four-game series with San Diego are two games each with the Diamondbacks and Nationals and three games with the Giants. The Giants took two of three from the Dodgers in a series ending Wednesday in San Francisco. LA lost 5-4, won 5-3, and was routed 9-4, in the series finale.
Edgar Renteria went 4-for-5 with two RBI and Benjie Molina 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBI to pace the Giants in the rubber game of the series. The Bay Area club collected 15 hits off five Dodger pitchers including starter and loser Eric Stults. Stults, in dropping to 2-1, allowed five earned runs and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings. Juan Pierre, starting in center for Matt Kemp, doubled and singled in four at bats and Orlando Hudson, remaining hot with a .330 average, doubled and singled in five trips. The Dodgers amassed nine hits off three Giant hurlers. In the Dodgers’ win on Tuesday, Manny Ramirez smashed three doubles in three at bats to pace a nine-hit Dodger attack. Starter Chad Billingsley came through with another quality start, allowing three runs (two earned) and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked three. Despite blowing his first save opportunity, Jonathan Broxton (2-0) pitched 2 /3 of an inning for the victory. The Dodgers received nine walks from five Giant pitchers.
In the series opener at AT&T Park, the Dodger defense contributed to all Giant runs (three in the first and two in the eighth) without committing an error. After Kemp and Andre Ethier collided on Renteria’s fly ball in the first to turn it into a double, Kemp misplayed Randy Winn’s line drive into a triple, similar to the hit to him that became a three-base drive Sunday in Colorado. “It just took off,” the beleaguered centerfielder said of Winn’s liner on Dodgers.com. “It had a little weird spin and just got away from me. It should have been caught.” Reliever Ronald Belisario (throwing home too late) and Casey Blake, who failed to handle a ground ball cleanly, contributed to the Giants’ game-winning rally in the eighth. Blake homered, singled and had two RBI and Ramirez singled twice to lead the seven-hit Dodger offense. Belisario, with his third blown save, pitched the last two innings in dropping to 0-2.
Dodger Chatter: Rookie James McDonald (1-1) may be pitching to remain in the starting rotation Thursday when he takes the mound in the series opener against San Diego. He’s averaged about four innings per start and has a 7.11 ERA. Since April 15, Randy Wolf and Billingsley are the only starters to pitch beyond the fifth inning. “My body is pulling off on the left side and my arm is out here on the right side” the McDonald explained on the Dodgers’ website. “I made a correction and made about 25 throws, and it felt a lot better.” Manny Ramirez’ recent tear enabled him to take the team batting lead from Orlando Hudson. Ramirez is hitting .360 to Hudson’s .330. Blake and Ethier lead LA in homers with five each, and Ethier has driven in a team-leading 21 runs. Scott Elbert has been optioned to Chattanooga, the team’s Double-A affiliate. According to Dodgers.com, Jeff Weaver is expected to be summoned from Triple-A Albuquerque. “We’re looking to do something to give us a little more depth and a little more length,” Manager Joe Torre said on Dodgers.com.
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