The Dodgers simply unloaded on the Brewers tonight, scoring their most runs at home in over 30 years. A mix of clutch hitting, hard hit balls, and helpful Brewer defense all contributed to a 17-4 Dodger win over Milwaukee. With so many highlights from this game, its best to cover them in list form:
- Manny Ramirez broke out of his slump, hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning and adding a two-run double one inning later
Matt Kemp had four hits -- including a can of corn flyball that somehow landed in between Mike Cameron and
Hernan Iribarrenin left center field -- and five more runs batted in, including a towering homer to center in the eighth. It was the second five-RBI game in the last three days for Kemp, and the fifth of his career. Kemp on the season is hitting .323/.385/.508. That feels good just typing it.
- Andre Ethier added three hits and drove in two, to match the surging Kemp for the club lead with 69 RBI. Ethier is now hitting .275/.363/.510. It feels good just typing that as well.
- Mark Loretta, 0 for his last 15 at-bats as a pinch hitter, delivered with a two-run pinch single that helped break open the game during the seven-run sixth inning
- Hiroki Kuroda delivered a quality start, giving up three runs in six innings while striking out seven, for his first win in a month.
- Hong-Chih Kuo pitched another perfect inning tonight, striking out two in the process. Since being activated last week, Kuo memorably intentionally walked two batters and has retired the other 14 batters, including six by strikeout
- Russell Martin had three hits and two walks, and was on base all five times tonight, raising his OBP to .376
The Dodger offense of the last nine days or so reminds me of Barry Sanders. Sanders was an all-time great, but would occasionally be tackled for a loss. Still, at any given point, he was a threat to break loose for a long touchdown run. The first three games in St. Louis last week were the Dodgers dancing behind the line of scrimmage. They made some nice moves, getting a lot of hits, but were never able to put them together to score enough runs. The series in Atlanta represented a couple of sprints to the sideline, something like an 8-10 yard gain for a first down. Monday night against the Brewers, the Dodger offense was caught behind the line by Manny Parra, but was able to reverse field and nearly broke free until ultimately getting tripped up.
Well, tonight represented that one awesome long run that could break out at any time. Now, the Dodgers have scored 47 runs over their last nine games, a 5.22 per game average that belies their struggles early last week. The 17 runs scored by the Dodgers, nine against Brewer ace Yovani Gallardo, were the most scored by the Dodgers at home since May 1979. The opposing starter 30 years ago was Tom Seaver of the Reds, who was done after giving up seven runs in two innings.
Perhaps the only negative from tonight's game was the ugliness of beanbrawl in the ninth. Manny Ramirez was grazed by a pitch in the seventh by Chris Smith, and appeared to take offense. In the ninth inning, with Ramon Troncoso warming up in the bullpen with a 13-run lead, Guillermo Mota hit Prince Fielder in the thigh with a pitch. It was a clear purpose pitch, and everyone in the ballpark knew it, including home plate umpire Lance Barksdale, who immediately and rightfully ejected Mota.
Fielder was incensed after the game, and had to be restrained by teammates and security trying to enter the Dodger clubhouse, according to Brewer beat writer Adam McCalvy. My only advice to Fielder is to solve your issues on the field. You're better than that. If you have a problem, talk to your pitchers.
I would never be so bold as to assume baseball, or real life, worked this way, but I wonder if the Dodgers might have been better off saving some runs for tomorrow. Jason Schmidt faces Braden Looper in the series finale.
WP - Hiroki Kuroda (4-5): 6 IP, 9 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts
LP -(10-8): 5.1 IP, 10 hits, 9 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts