Dodgers-Cubs: Haeger Throws a Beauty, Kemp and Blake Homer In 2-0 Win

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Dodgers-Cubs: Haeger Throws a Beauty, Kemp and Blake Homer In 2-0 Win

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 2-0 and won three-games in a row for the first time since mid-July on Saturday afternoon.

On a hazy 80-degree day at Dodger Stadium, knuckleballer Charlie Haeger made his second start of the season and pitched seven-plus shutout innings in the victory for the Dodgers (74-50), who have now won four of the past five games.

Haeger scattered three hits and fanned seven, despite walking four, as he left the slumping Cubs (61-60) swinging at air all day long.

Haeger got an early 1-0 lead from the bat of Matt Kemp in the bottom of the second inning.

Kemp put a 3-2 fastball from Ted Lilly into orbit, traveling an estimated 449 ft., and landing well beyond the left field wall and carrying past the Dodgers’ bullpen. 

According to Charley Steiner on KABC radio, “The only question [about the Kemp home run], besides whether it was fair or foul, was if it would burn on re-entry.”

Kemp went 2-for-3 and the blast, his 18th of the season, tied his career-high for homers.

Casey Blake added his 15th homer of the season to make it 2-0 in the fourth when he lifted a fly ball into the left field pavilion.

Haeger came out after walking Sam Fuld to start the eighth and received a standing ovation from the Dodger faithful.

He gave way to Jonathan Broxton, instead of Geroge Sherrill, with six outs remaining in the game.

Broxton fanned Milton Bradley, but then Derrick Lee lifted a fly ball to Kemp in right field that got lost in the sun-soaked sky. The ball dropped in as Kemp desperately tried to locate it, and the Cubs all of a sudden had the tying run in scoring position with just one out in the eighth.

But Broxton put his foot down in the crucial situation as Aramis Ramirez lined out to Mark Loretta at first and then Kosuke Fukudome struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat and preserve the 2-0 lead.

In a reversal of roles, Sherrill came on to relieve Broxton in the ninth.

The southpaw allowed the tying runs on base with a single and a walk, but went on to retire the side and record his first save in Dodger blue after having 20 with the Baltimore Orioles before being traded. 

Sherrill also secured Haeger’s second career Major League win and his first as a Dodger.

Filling in as the fifth starter, Haeger has now pitched 14 innings, allowing just three runs (1.93 ERA) and eight hits.

Those three runs came on two swings of the bat on Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals, when Albert Pujols and Rick Ankiel both took Haeger deep.

The 25-year old had provided much needed stability to a staff that has been unable to pitch deep into games all season long.

Haeger, along with Randy Wolf’s seven innings last night, gave the bullpen plenty of rest in preparation for an important series starting on Tuesday with the second-place Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies lost to the San Francisco Giants 6-3 last night to fall four-and-a-half games behind the Dodgers in the NL West (five-games after the Dodgers win today), while the Giants crept within one of the Rockies in the Wild Card race.

The Dodgers will try to sweep the four-game series with the Cubs behind Chad Billingsley (12-6, 3.70) tomorrow at 1:10 before enjoying a day off on Monday while traveling to Denver for the three-game tilt at Coors Field.

 

 

 

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WP: Haeger (1-1)

LP: Lilly (9-8)

SV: Sherrill (1)

 

Notes from Saturday afternoon

 

Day of Rest

Hot-hitting Andre Ethier, recently slumping James Loney, and Grand Slam-lashing Russell Martin were given the day off on Saturday. Ethier and Loney sat mainly because of the southpaw Ted Lilly on the hill, and Martin sat because of the knuckleball pitcher Charlie Haeger.

 

Knuckle-riffic

Charlie Hager threw 80 pitches in his first start against the St. Louis Cardinals—78 of which were knuckleballs.

 

ThinkCure!

Today is the second day of the Dodgers charity auction, ThinkCure! Log on to www.ThinkCure.org to check out more.

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers

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