After using six relievers for 6 2/3 innings last night and tonight, and on the second night of a stretch in which the Dodgers will play 20 games in 20 days, the Dodgers desperately needed Hiroki Kuroda to pitch deep into tonight's nightcap. Kuroda delivered in a big way, leading the Dodgers to a 4-0 win for their second win of the night in San Diego.
The Japanese right-hander became the first Dodger starter to pitch into the ninth inning this season, using 117 pitches to throw 8 2/3 innings. Kuroda allowed just six hits and two walks on the night, striking out four. Kuroda was cruising until the seventh inning, when the Padres loaded the bases with one out. However, Kuroda got out of the jam when Chris Denorfia grounded to shortstop Jamey Carroll for an inning-ending double play, saved on the back end by a tremendous stretch and toe tap by James Loney at first base.
Loney did himself one better in the next inning, ending the bottom of the eighth with a diving stab of Will Venable's grounder down the line, then got up and beat the speedy Venable to the bag with another dive to end the inning.
The Dodger offense has struggled for the most part this season, scoring just a shade over three runs per game in their first seven contests. The offense will go as far as Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp will carry it, and tonight both did the job. Ethier hit his first home run of the season, a high fly just inside the foul pole in the top of the fifth inning, one of three hits in the game for Ethier.
Kemp, who had three hits and a walk in the earlier game that was completed tonight, added three more knocks tonight, and was a terror on the basepaths. Kemp stole a career-high three bases, including one in the first inning with a nifty tag-avoiding slide after Kemp was picked off. Kemp is the first Dodger to steal three bases in a game since Juan Pierre on September 29, 2009.
Speaking of speedy outfielders, Tony Gwynn picked up right where he left off after the first game. Gwynn, who had two hits including the game-winning RBI in the first game tonight, had a single and a double in the nightcap, stole two bases of his own, and scored two runs from the leadoff spot. A joy of the early part of the season is that Gwynn began his day today hitting .200 and is now sitting at .353. Ahh, small sample sizes.
Dustin Moseley pitched well enough for the Padres. The longtime Angel and former Yankee is temporarily in the rotation with Mat Latos out, but Latos is due back on Monday. Moseley tonight pitched a quality start in the 34th start of his career, allowing three runs (two earned) in six innings. He did allow 11 baserunners against only one strikeout, but managed to pitch out of some jams, and his 107 pitches thrown were a career high.
Broxton got the final out of the game -- albeit on a wacky play in which Chase Headley was called for interference for running into Casey Blake -- for his second save in the last three and a half hours. The last Dodger to get two saves on one day was Jeff Shaw, who collected a pair on August 25, 2000 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
- The last time the Dodgers stole five bases in a game was last July 6 against Florida. Kemp had two, Furcal had one, and Blake DeWitt of all people stole two bases. Before that, it had been since 2007 when the Dodgers stole five bases in a game.
- Carroll, getting the start at shortstop in place of Rafael Furcal, collected three hits in five at bats and is hitting .400/.478/.550 on the young season.
- John Ely will be recalled before tomorrow's game, starting against Aaron Harang as the Dodgers go for the sweep.
WP - Hiroki Kuroda (2-0): 8 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Dustin Moseley (0-2): 6 IP, 8 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (5): 1/3 IP, 1 walk