After the first three batters of the game:
- Willy Taveras triple off the top of the wall in left
- Jerry Hairston, Jr double to the wall in left
- Joey Votto single (should have been an RBI double) to the wall in right
this game took on the look of a funeral. All the hope of Jason Schmidt's two-year comeback trail seemed to vanish, and instead of the 72-hole Tom Watson the Dodgers were getting British Open playoff Tom Watson. Then, Brandon Phillips hit an easy fly ball to right that was misplayed by Andre Ethier into another hit, and this game looked like a rout.
Schmidt was able to get out of the first inning down "only" 3-0, but with 36 pitches thrown it seemed Schmidt's start, if not his career, was coming to an abrupt end.
But the Dodgers came out swinging against Micah Owings, and scored four of their own in the first inning, started off by one of the coolest bunts you will ever see, a push bunt double by Rafael Furcal over the head of third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Schmidt entered the second inning with a lead, but it didn't seem like the scoring was over by a long shot, especially since the first inning lasted roughly 50 minutes.
Then, a funny thing happened. Balls started to find gloves. Schmidt settled down. Reds' hitters got impatient. Improbably, Schmidt lasted through five innings, allowing only a hit and two walks over his final four innings. Schmidt, who said the felt almost like tonight was his first game in the big leagues, was happy to be back:
I wasn't worried about having to last five. The first inning was a little scary, I'll admit that. Its definitely not the way I wanted things to go, but it was nice to settle in. They scored some runs, and there were some great plays by a few guys out there that really helped me out.
Manny Ramirez provided more support for Schmidt by hitting a two-run home run in the second inning. The home run was the 537th of his career, passing Mickey Mantle for 15th place on the all-time home run list. Andre Ethier added a solo home run of his own in the fifth.
James McDonald pitched two perfect innings, and started a third inning of relief, but was pulled after allowing the first two batters to reach in the eighth, both of which later scored. Ramon Troncoso and Jonathan Broxton each pitched for their third straight game, but both were efficient, thowing only ten and eight pitches, respectively.
But the story tonight was Schmidt. Will he be effective going forward? Most likely not, but its not time to worry about that now. Tonight he got a win, after being injured for two years, and that is something we should all celebrate.
WP - Jason Schmidt (1-0): 5 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP - Micah Owings (6-10): 5 IP, 9 hits, 7 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (23): 1 IP, 1 strikeout