LA-Arizona: Boys in Blue Batter D-Backs 'Pen With Four Run Eighth

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LA-Arizona: Boys in Blue Batter D-Backs 'Pen With Four Run Eighth

For the first time in months, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally looked the team that went a Major League best 56-32 in the first half of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

Things started off shaky, as the Boys in Blue trailed 4-1 entering the eighth inning, but then ended with a bang as they rallied off the Arizona bullpen and mounted a two-out rally, using six straight singles to score four runs and steal a 5-4 win in the late-innings.

After a walk to Manny Ramirez, who has just six hits in his last 34 at-bats with runners in scoring position, James Loney lined an RBI single for the tying run and then Ronnie Belliard bounced an infield single to bring home the go-ahead tally.

Belliard, who went 3-for-4 yesterday, now has seven RBI in nine games with the Dodgers since being acquired from the Washington Nationals on Aug. 30.

The eighth inning has been a terror the entire season for Arizona, as they have been outscored 86-116 in the frame so far in 2009.

Billy Buckner started for the Diamondbacks (61-79) and had faced the Dodgers (83-57) two previous times this season, surrendering nine runs in only six-and-two-third innings.

But tonight, Buckner baffled the Dodgers’ order and used five double play balls to limit the boys in Blue to just one run and five hits in seven innings.

The five double plays turned tied an Arizona franchise record, which happened in Aug. 2006 against the San Francisco Giants.

In fact, in seven games at home this season, Buckner had posted a 0-4 record and a 14.34 ERA, and opponents were batting a staggering .411 against him at Chase Field.

Buckner also went 2-for-3 with two RBI at the plate.

The lone run against him came in the first inning when Andre Ethier lined an RBI double into the left-center field gap, scoring Rafael Furcal to spring Los Angeles to a short-lived 1-0 lead.

Ethier, an Arizona native, was 2-for-4 with two RBI in the game, and Furcal added a 3-for-4 night with two runs scored from the leadoff position to aid a Los Angeles offense that has struggled recently against some not-so-good pitchers, most notably this past weekend when San Diego’s young pitchers shut them down.

Once Buckner came out, it was a completely different ball game, as an excellent outing from the 26-year old was wasted with the eighth inning collapse.

For the visiting Dodgers, Chad Billingsley toed the rubber after taking a loss last Wednesday against Arizona at Dodger Stadium, when he allowed a four-run fifth inning to spell disaster and a third consecutive loss.

Tonight, Billingsley was touched up for three runs in the first two innings.

Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds each lifted sacrifice flies to right field in the first to grab the lead at 2-1.

Buckner then bounced a run-scoring infield single in second inning and added an RBI double in the sixth inning to extend the Diamondbacks lead to 4-1.

On the night, the big right-hander tossed six innings and gave up the four runs on eight hits. He struck out four and walked three while throwing just 97 pitches.

James McDonald took over for Billingsley and worked a scoreless seventh inning with the team trailing 4-1, earning the victory and giving the Dodgers a chance to comeback in the late-innings.

Jonathan Broxton entered in the ninth and earned his ninth save in as many tries for his 35th save of the season.

The second-place Colorado Rockies also won tonight to stay just three-and-a-half games behind the Dodgers. 

In game two of the series, Jon Garland (9-11, 4.23) will once again take on his former squad when he faces Arizona ace Dan Haren (13-8, 2.78) tomorrow night.

Garland defeated the Diamondbacks in his first start as a Dodger last time out and gave up just two runs on five hits in seven innings.

 

 

 

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LAD

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WP: McDonald (5-4)

LP: Schlereth (0-3)

SV: Broxton (34)

 

Notes From Tuesday Night

 

Blake Stays Seated

Casey Blake sat for the third consecutive night after straining a hamstring last week. Ronnie Belliard once again started in his place at third base.

 

Kershaw to Miss Start

Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from his start this Friday at San Francisco. Kershaw bruised his non-throwing shoulder during batting practice on Sunday while shagging fly balls in the outfield. 

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers

 

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