LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a game winning two-run home run in the 12th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Braves 5-3 in twelve innings. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The Dodgers liked their throwback uniforms so much on Thursday, they decided to wear them for 12 innings. The powder blue party ended with yet another walk-off home run by Matt Kemp, a two-run shot off Cristhian Martinez in the bottom of the 12th, giving the Dodgers the a 5-3 win. Vin Scully summed it up best, saying, "Sooner or later the word's going to get around the league that Matt Kemp might beat you."
The Dodgers almost won this game in regulation. Clayton Kershaw picked up the baton from Jon Garland and ran with it, coming within one out of pitching a complete game. Kershaw retired the first two batters of the ninth inning, but the Braves scrambled with two hits and a walk to load the bases. With Jonathan Broxton ready and warmed in the bullpen, up 2-1 with the bases loaded and two outs, and Kershaw at 119 pitches, Don Mattingly went to the mound, but much to everyone's surprise Kershaw remained in the game.
At that point, the choice was basically Kershaw vs. the right-handed David Ross, or Broxton vs. the left-handed Brian McCann, who would have likely pinch hit had a pitching change been made. Then, on an 0-2 pitch, Ross blooped a single to left field, scoring two runs and giving the Braves a 3-2 lead.
Broxton came in after the single by Ross, and struck out Nate McLouth. The Dodgers tied the game in the bottom of the inning with a walk by Jamey Carroll, a wild pitch by Craig Kimbrel, and a two-out RBI single by Casey Blake, getting Kershaw off the hook for what would have been an excruciating loss.
Even more importantly, Kershaw extended a great run by the Dodgers' starting rotation. After five straight poor starts during their five-game losing streak, the staff of Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland, and Kershaw were awesome this time through the rotation:
|Dodgers Starting Pitchers Last Two Times Through The Rotation|
|April 12-16||0-5||24 2/3||39||24||23||7||18||8.39||1.865|
The first three runs were scored via the home run today. Freddie Freeman took Kershaw deep in the top of the fifth inning to open the scoring, but Juan Uribe tied it with a solo shot off Jair Jurrjens in the bottom of the sixth inning. Blake provided the go-ahead run with a long ball to left field off Scott Linebrink in the bottom of the seventh.
- The last time the Dodgers have had back-to-back complete games was September 14-15, 1998, when Carlos Perez and Chan Ho Park turned the trick.
- Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 18 games
- After the game, the Dodgers optioned pitcher Ramon Troncoso to Triple A Albuqerque, paving the way for the activation of Vicente Padilla
- The Dodgers, now 10-10, start a road trip Friday afternoon in Chicago, facing the Cubs. Chad Billingsley starts the opener against Casey Coleman.
WP - Matt Guerrier (1-0): 2 IP, 2 hits, 2 strikeouts
LP - Cristhian Martinez (0-1): 1 1/3 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs