A pitching duel between two young talented left-handers turned into a barn burner at Chavez Ravine when inexplicably Ramon Troncoso left his cape in the bullpen and gave up four runs in the top of the eighth to turn a 2 - 0 Dodger lead into a 4 - 2 deficit.
Michael Wuertz had pitched a perfect 7th but he was not as lucky in the eighth. Without missing a beat the Dodgers started their comeback in the bottom of the eighth behind a double by Furcal, followed by a single by Blake to close to within one. The A's brought in lefty Craig Breslow to face Loney who worked the count full before squeezing out a walk on a borderline pitch bringing up the Bison with two on and one out. The A's countered with their best relief pitcher in Andrew Bailey and the duel was on.
Ball one. Swing and a miss. Ball two, just missed. Base hit to right field but Bowa holds Blake at 3rd leaving the bases loaded for Andre the A killer. A weak ground ball to 2nd was all he could muster but when Kemp took out Cabrera the tying run had crossed the plate. 4 -4, leaving 1st and 3rd with Martin up. The worse hitter on the team in June had a chance to make amends. Alas, it was not meant to be as he lined out to LF, leaving the score tied at 4 - 4 headed to the top of the ninth.
Broxton came in and gave up a single but kept the score tied giving the Dodgers a chance to give him his 7th win against no losses but they could not muster any offense against Bailey. To the worries of the crowd Mota came in to pitch the 10th but the worries were unfounded. For over a month now, Mota has been pitching great in low leverage situations and this was the perfect time to see if he could continue that hot streak in a high leverage situation. Mota was the vintage 2003 model in the 10th, and shut down the A's.
The A's countered in the 10th with Brad Ziegler who entered the game not having given up a run in nine interleague appearances. Orlando Hudson started the Dodger 10th with single through the hole at shortstop. Casey Blake then hit a slower bouncer over the pitchers mound that the normally sure handed Orlando Cabera fumbled leaving runners at 1st and 2nd with James Loney due up. Loney leads the team with 44 rbi's but Joe Torre asked him to bunt and of course he was unable to do so, leaving him down in the count 1 - 2. Loney then hit into a double play filled with controversy. At first Loney had been declared save when Giambi came off the bag but 1st base umpire Adrian Johnson decided to ask for help from the home base umpire Ted Barrett who said that Loney had been tagged. So with two out and Hudson on 3rd base the A's decided to pitch to Matt Kemp and the Bison made them pay with his 3rd hit of the game giving the Dodgers their league leading eighth walk-off win and their 13th victory in their last at bat.
Clayton Kershaw pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts against three walks. He struggled with his pitch count but the bottom line is that he kept the runs off the board. Ramon Troncoso failed for the first time since Manny was suspended as Giambi and Crosby took him deep. He was due for a game like this as those home runs were the first he's allowed in 43 2/3 innings. Cory Wade got the last out of the 8th inning keeping the Dodgers within striking distance and that is all they needed. Also can't forget to mention the good work Belisario did getting us from Clayton to Ramon.
The Dodgers first two runs came on run scoring doubles by Blake and Loney and that was the extent of the offense until they mounted their comeback in the 8th.
With that victory the Dodgers are now a season high 21 games above 500 and continue to have the best home record at 24 - 9. Also nice to see they are now 4 - 3 in interleague play. 6 - 1in extra inning games this year and 15 - 5 in one run games with a sterling 12 - 1 mark at the Ravine.
Part of the fun at the Ravine tonight was the rousing ovation the crowd gave recently recalled career minor leaguer Mitch Jones in his first major league at bat. He worked the count to 3-2 before striking out but his knee's had to be knocking with 41,169 fans cheering every pitch. Even as he walked back to the dugout after the strike out he got a nice ovation. Classy fans tonight.
Nomar pinch hit and got a mixed reaction. To tense a game to give him the ovation that he might have gotten if he'd just been announced as a starter or came up in the first inning.
Casey Blake now has a modest seven game winning streak and is hitting .393 during that streak.