This Thursday saw Los Angeles explode for 11 runs on 17 hits, as they won 11-2 and took five out of six from the Mets in the season series.
The Dodgers won the first game easily on Tuesday 8-0, behind a strong outing from 21-year old lefty Clayton Kershaw. Last night they fell to the hometown Mets 5-4 when a ninth-inning rally against Francisco Rodriguez fell just short.
Manager Joe Torre mixed up the lineup and the players responded by getting things going right away for the Boys in Blue. Before Mets’ starter Livan Hernandez could record an out, he trailed 4-0 in the first inning.
In particular, the top of the Los Angeles order had a big time night of production during the offensive outburst. The one-through-three hitters (Furcal, Hudson, Ramirez) went 7-for-12, with four walks and seven runs scored.
Manny went 2-for-2 with two RBI before being replaced in the field by Juan Pierre in the seventh inning. The move was seemingly a nod to the hard work that Pierre put in Ramirez’s absence.
Joe Torre could have easily allowed Manny to bat one more time and let Pierre play the field for the final two innings, but the Dodgers want to keep Pierre fresh at the plate as much as possible.
Cleanup hitter Casey Blake also added a 2-for-5 night and Matt Kemp kept finding places for the ball to drop as he went 3-for-4. Meanwhile, Andre Ethier moved up to the second spot in the order and notched two hits in five tries, making it five Dodgers hitters with multi-hit games on the night.
Every Dodgers starter had a base knock and the team collected 17 hits total.
On this road trip so far (six games), Kemp is 12-for-21 with a triple, double, five RBI, and six walks. He has improved his average to .319 on the season.
Hernandez went a forgettable four innings for the Mets and gave up eight runs on 11 hits, while walking four Dodgers hitters.
Rafael Furcal began the game with a ground ruled double and was joined on the base paths by Andre Ethier after he singled to left field. Furcal was 3-for-5 on the day.
Manny Ramirez then banged the first pitch he saw into center field for an RBI single and a 1-0 Dodgers lead.
Orlando Hudson was moved down to seventh in the order and made the decision pay off for manager Joe Torre. Hudson continued to excel after entering the series in a 0-for-22 slump, and entering the game going just 2-for-his-last-16.
The O-Dog stepped up and delivered the big blow, which came in the form of a bases-clearing double to deep left field that busted the game open at 4-0.
Dodgers’ southpaw and former Pepperdine standout Randy Wolf never looked comfortable on the mound and labored through his outing, but was still able to make it through into the seventh inning.
The Mets got one back in the bottom of the first when Gary Sheffield singled home Nick Evans to make it a 4-1 game. Sheffield and David Wright each had multiple hit games for New York on another disappointing night for the Mets offense.
The Dodgers came back in the second, when Ramirez and Casey Blake laced RBI singles into left field with two outs to extend the Dodgers lead to 6-1.
Wolf continued to work slowly and allowed another run in the third—this time on an RBI groundout by Ryan Church, which pulled the Mets back within one swing of the bat at 6-2.
Despite not having his best stuff, Wolf went six-and-one-third-innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits.
Considering that he has 12 no decisions this season and had not won a game since May 28, Wolf should be happy that he fought through a tough game and used his mental toughness to gain his fourth win of the season.
At one point, it actually looked as if he wouldn’t make it the required five innings because of his elevated pitch count, as he threw 118 pitches total on the night.
Russell Martin added a couple of more runs for the Dodgers when he slapped a fourth-inning single into right field to plate Ramirez and Furcal—pushing the margin to 8-2.
In the eighth inning the Dodgers added the final three runs. The first two came when Juan Castro, who entered for the injured Hudson, ripped a two-run single to right field. Matt Kemp came up next and collected his third hit of the night with an RBI single.
The story of the night turned out to be the Mets pitchers once again struggling to find the plate. Just one night after issuing nine free passes to the Dodgers hitters, they walked nine again and added one hit by pitch.
That one hit by pitch, however, ended the night for All-Star second baseman Orlando Hudson.
He was hit just above his left knee by a Brian Stokes pitch and after going to the ground and trying to walk it off, Hudson limped back to the dugout with the aid of the Dodgers trainer.
Los Angeles now heads to Milwaukee for a three-games series before enjoying the much needed All-Star break next week.
WP: Wolf (4-3)
LP: Hernandez (5-5)
Notes from Thursday night
Furcal Feeling Good in Leadoff Spot
Since moving back to the leadoff spot in the order, Rafael Furcal is batting .482 (13-for-27) with nine runs scored in his past seven games.
Manny Likes the New Park
In his entire career at the Mets old park, Shea Stadium, Manny Ramirez had just one hit.
He singled twice in the first game, homered last night, and singled two more times today—making it five hits already at brand new Citi Field.
Lucky No. 43?
Randy Wolf debuted his newest number on Thursday night.
After being assigned No. 41 for his introductory press conference with the Dodgers, No. 52 in Spring Training, and wearing No. 21 in his first 18 starts Wolf changed to his preferred No. 43.
He wore No. 43 from 1999-2006 with the Philadelphia Phillies.
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