The Dodgers took advantage of five Giants' errors to win the first two games of this series and while San Francisco didn't technically make any errors tonight, the Dodgers took great advantage of The Aubrey Huff Experience in their 7-5 win. The Dodgers won three of four games from the Giants this weekend, their first four-game series win over San Francisco at Dodger Stadium since July 2001 (I'll admit, it's not as daunting a stat when you see they have only played four such series since then).
Earlier in the day, I asked when the Dodgers were going to hit their first home run of the season, as they had not done so in the first three games of the year. Matt Kemp took care of that in the first inning, depositing an 84 mph fastball from Barry Zito into the Dodger bullpen to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. This followed a single by Rafael Furcal and a single by Jamey Carroll that rightfielder Huff was kind enough to play into a triple.
But that wasn't the last we heard from Mr. Huff.
In the seventh inning, the game was tied and James Loney was on first with one out. Marcus Thames lofted a fly ball to deep right field, and the Huff adventure resumed again. Huff got turned around in his pursuit of the ball, and the Dodgers got their second gift RBI triple of the night. But the fun wasn't over!
Aaron Miles singled on a ball to right field that Huff pursued like he was channeling Vladimir Guerrero in Game 1 of last year's World Series, and was followed by a double to the gap that made Huff run some more. All in all, it was a nightmare inning for Huff, but turned into a dream for the Dodgers, as they scored four runs in the seventh to recapture the lead.
The four runs in the seventh also meant a win for Hiroki Kuroda, who pitched seven innings. Kuroda was efficient, throwing just 84 pitches, and walked none while striking out five, allowing three runs. But he also allowed two home runs, solo shots in the second inning to Pablo Sandoval and in the sixth inning to Pat Burrell. Kuroda also had a streak of 14 straight batters retired after the Sandoval shot that looked to be headed to 15 on a ground ball to Juan Uribe, but Uribe couldn't field it cleanly, rolling into a somersault on a play that was somehow credited as a base hit.
Zito settled down after that first inning, retiring 15 Dodgers in a row after the Kemp home run. Zito pitched a quality start, allowing three runs in his six innings, walking two while striking out five.
Huff got a small bit of revenge in the top of the eighth inning, lofting a pop fly that fell between Furcal and defensive replacement Tony Gwynn Jr. in short left field for a double off of Hong-Chih Kuo. One more walk by Kuo and two more by Matt Guerrier gave the Giants a run, closing the gap to 7-4. Kuo was pulled for Guerrier with two outs after Kuo threw 22 pitches, to face Burrell. "I just didn't want to give [Burrell] a shot at a lefty," Don Mattingly said after the game. "Kuo wasn't throwing the ball where he wanted to, and was having a little trouble with command."
Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for his third save in four nights, but did not do so quietly. Broxton allowed two hits, including a home run to Aaron Rowand, his second home run allowed in three games and the sixth allowed by the Dodgers in the four-game series. Five of the six home runs given up by Dodger pitching this weekend were solo home runs.
The Dodgers are off Monday before starting a two-game series in Colorado, with Clayton Kershaw facing Jhoulys Chacin Tuesday night.
WP - Hiroki Kuroda (1-0): 7 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 5 strikeouts
LP - Dan Runzler (0-1): 1/3 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs, 1 strikeout
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (3): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run