Runner Goes, Ball Goes: Dodgers Win 4-2

This baserunning mistake by Pablo Sandoval was huge tonight

Vin Scully put it best in the top of the eighth, describing a hit and run play with Casey Blake at the plate, when he said, "Runner goes, ball goes."  Blake hit the ball into the left field stands, breaking the tie and providing the Dodgers the winning margin, as they defeated the Giants 4-2 to open their three-game series.

Chad Billingsley had a very good start, especially when considering he hadn't pitched in 17 days.  Billingsley allowed two runs in six innings, as did Barry Zito, and left the game tied. 

The Giants may have scored a few more runs were it not for five double plays.  The one that stood out came in the seventh inning, when the Giants put runners on first and third base with nobody out.  Edgar Renteria flew out to right field, and Andre Ethier made a perfect throw to the cutoff man, James Loney Ronnie BelliardAaron Rowand held at third base, but Pablo Sandoval tried to tag from first base, and was promptly thrown out, taking the sting out of the rally.

Hong-Chih Kuo pitched the ninth for the Dodgers while filling in for Jonathan Broxton, who was declared unavailable both tonight and tomorrow night by Joe Torre.  Kuo picked up his second save of the season.

Kemp Benched

Matt Kemp, who is hitting .238/.294/.381 with just four home runs and 20 RBI in his last 61 games, was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive night.  It wasn't for matchup reasons, as Kemp was hitting .457/.525/.543 off Zito in his career.

"Kemp has good numbers against Zito. Reed [Johnson] had a good game last night, so I just decided to stick with that lineup that scored us some runs and made some things happen," Torre said, "I’m going to take it a day at a time."

Tony Jackson explored further on ESPN LA:

A source close to the Dodgers, speaking on the condition of anonymity, indicated that there is growing frustration with Kemp's season-long lack of production at the plate, coupled with the fact that he doesn't seem to be getting any better.

The source was quick to emphasize, though, than any frustration with Kemp is strictly related to on-field performance.

Notes

  • Manny Ramirez did not make an out tonight, collecting a double, two singles, and a walk.  He also made a very good defensive play, holding Pat Burrell to a single on a long hit nearly to the warning track in left field
  • A.J. Ellis, in his first game in 11 days, had a base hit and a walk
  • Rafael Furcal had two hits and a walk, and stole his 12th base of the season
  • Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and now has a 1.56 ERA over his last 17 appearances, with five walks and 12 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.
  • The Dodgers have a 19-5 record against the NL West this season
  • Tonight was the first time since all three have been in the major leagues together that Kemp, Loney, and Russell Martin all began a game on the bench
  • Tomorrow night's game features a pitching duel of John Ely and Matt Cain

WP - Jeff Weaver (5-1): 1 IP, 2 hits

LP - Santiago Casilla (1-2):  1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs,

Sv - Hong-Chih Kuo (2):  1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeout

Box Score

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