Dodgers-White Sox: Kuroda Finds His Form As Dodgers Win Easily, 5-2

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IJune 24, 2009

The Los Angeles Dodgers (47-24) traveled to the Midwest on Tuesday for the first of a three-game interleague series with the Chicago White Sox (33-37).

Hiroki Kuroda (2-3) pitched a brilliant eight and two-third innings for the Dodgers in his fifth start back since returning from the DL.

Kuroda struck out a season high nine batters while facing just two White Sox over the minimum until the ninth inning.

He retired 16 straight hitters after a Jermaine Dye fourth inning single. Alexei Ramirez and Dye ended the streak with back-to-back two-out singles in the ninth.

The Dodgers offense gave the Kuroda the cushion he needed, wasting no time getting started against White Sox southpaw John Danks (5-6).

In the top of the first, Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson cracked back-to-back doubles to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The inning could have been much worse for Danks if it wasn’t for a little help from his defense.

After hitting Andre Ethier, the Dodgers had runners on first and third with Russell Martin at the plate.

Martin lashed a hard ground ball between shortstop and third, but rookie third baseman Gordon Beckham made a spectacular play diving to his left, rising, and firing out Martin at first to end the inning.

The young third baseman also added another highlight reel play in the eighth, when Juan Pierre popped a bunt over his head, and Beckham caught the pop over his shoulder while diving and making contact with shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

Beckham’s play in the second undoubtedly saved at least one run for Danks, and perhaps more.

However, the inspired defense didn’t quite light a fire under Danks, who continued to work slowly and deliberately into the second inning.

At a snail’s pace, he issued a four-pitch walk to Matt Kemp to start the inning. James Loney then followed with his fifth home run of the season, extending the Dodgers’ lead to 3-0 with a screaming line drive over the right field wall.

Konerko answered Loney’s blast with a home run of his own to leadoff the bottom half of the second. Konerko’s ball carried half way up the bleachers beyond the left-center field wall and closed the deficit to two runs, at 3-1.

The Konerko home run must have sparked Danks, who looked much more lively and quickened his time between pitches in the following innings.

Danks actually settled into what became an excellent effort on the mound. He proceeded to retire the final 12 Dodger batters he faced, and 16 out of the final 17. He went seven innings and allowed three runs on three hits while striking out five.
Once Danks exited, the Dodgers offense got going again.

Matt Thornton entered and promptly gave up a double to Mitch Jones. Two outs later, he walked Hudson and was taken out for Octavio Dotel. Casey Blake greeted Dotel with a two-run single into right field, which gave the Blue Crew a 5-1 lead.

After 103 pitches, Kuroda exited the game with two outs in the ninth a runner on second. He gave way to closer Jonathan Broxton when Jermaine Dye stroked an RBI single to make the game a little more interesting, at 5-2.

Broxton fanned Jim Thome for the final out and his 18th save of the season.

           1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     R     H   E
LA       1     2     0     0     0     0     0     2     0     5     7    0
CWS    0     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     1     2     4    0

Other Notes from Tuesday night

Hot Starters

Another night, another run scored in the first-inning for the Dodgers, who have now outscored their opponents 56-23 in the first frame this season.


Using All of the Real Estate

James Loney now has 72 hits this season. 23 have been to LF, 23 to CF, and 26 to RF.


Double Trouble

Orlando Hudson hit his 22nd two-bagger of the season in the first inning. He is now tied with five other players for sixth best in the majors in doubles, and trails the league leaders by just two.


Keep It On the Down Low

Hiroki Kuroda gave up a second inning home run to Paul Konerko. Kuroda is coming off an outing in which he gave up two home runs in six innings, and previous to then he had allowed just one long ball in 22 innings.

Kuroda righted the ship by recording 11 ground ball outs overall on the night, which is the recipe for success for his splitter to be effective. He finally earned his first win since Opening Day against the Padres.


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