The Dodgers put plenty of runners on base, but were unable to overcome a quick start by the Tigers' offense, and dropped the finale of the homestand, 6-2 to Detroit. It was the first time in eight tries that the Dodgers lost the last game of a home series.
Hiroki Kuroda allowed three quick runs in the first inning, thanks to a double by Johnny Damon, a single by Magglio Ordonez, and a laser beam of a home run by Miguel Cabrera. However, much like John Ely on Saturday, Kuroda settled down after that, allowing just three hits and a walk over the next five innings, while striking out five. The Dodgers have allowed 80 runs in 21 games in May, but 20 of them (25%) have been scored in the first inning.
Rick Porcello was solid in his six innings of work, even though he was under fire all day. The Dodgers had nine hits against him, and hit the ball hard quite often, including three separate times at or off Porcello himself, like a pinball machine. Porcello caught the first, a screaming line drive by Matt Kemp in the first inning, then easily threw to second to retire Russell Martin to end the inning. Porcello turned a James Loney line drive in the fourth inning into a force out, but the Dodgers finally pinged one off the fireballing right-hander in the fifth, when Blake DeWitt started a rally with a liner off the pitcher.
The Dodgers staged a rally in the sixth inning, loading the bases with two outs off Porcello. Manny Ramirez was summoned to pinch hit for Kuroda, and received a thunderous ovation as he stepped to the plate. Manny abruptly grounded out on the first pitch, prompting Vin Scully to quip on the broadcast that Manny's ovation was longer than his at-bat. To make matters worse for those at the stadium, a preview of Sex in the City 2 was shown immediately after the inning ended. I had to go looking for Human chorionic gonadotropin immediately to boost my testosterone levels.
The Dodgers rallied again in the eighth inning, putting runners on first and third with one out, but pinch hitter Ronnie Belliard grounded into a double play to end the inning. On the day, the Dodgers grounded into four twin killings.
There was a bit of gamesmanship in the top of the ninth inning, as the Tigers put runners on first and third base against Ronald Belisario, working his second inning of the day. Pitcher Dontrelle Willis, a left-handed batter and a career .232/.278/.356 hitter, was brought in to pinch hit for reliever Phil Coke. Surprisingly, it was the 21st time Willis has been called on the pinch hit in his career. Rather than leave in Belisario, who had thrown 13 pitches to that point (but did allow two hits and a walk), to face a hitter with three plate appearances in his last three seasons, manager Joe Torre opted to bring in lefty George Sherrill. Willis was replaced by right-hander Adam Everett, who squeezed in the fifth run of the game. Johnny Damon followed with a single to plate the final run.
Cabrera has an amazing 32 runs batted in on the road, tops in the majors.
There was a moment of silence for Jose Lima before the game, as well as a nice video tribute after the sixth inning that got a warm ovation by the 46,053 in attendance. In addition, flags were flown at half staff at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers leave for Chicago tomorrow, then start a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Clayton Kershaw will pitch against Ryan Dempster and the Cubs in the opener.
WP - Rick Porcello (4-4): 6 IP, 9 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP - Hiroki Kuroda (5-2): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts