Kenley Jansen, Left To Die On Vine, Dies On Vine

Kenley Jansen allowed three two-out runs in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a comeback 4-3 win over the Dodgers in the first game of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park. Jansen was wild -- walking one, hitting another, and running a three-ball count to four of his seven batters faced -- but manager Don Mattingly left him out on the mound to throw a Broxtonian 38 pitches in the first blown save of Jansen's career.

After Michael Bourn's two-run double tied the game, Jansen was at 33 pitches, but he was left in the game, even with Scott Elbert warming up. After Jansen hit Clint Barmes with an 0-2 pitch, Jansen was at 36 pitches, but he remained in the game. Two pitches later, Hunter Pence delivered the game winner, a single over Rafael Furcal at shortstop to drive home Bourn with the winning run. The slide by Bourn to score the winning run was really a fantastic effort. Dioner Navarro had the plate blocked but Bourn somehow reached back and snuck his hand in, from behind, to bring home the win for Houston.

Clayton Kershaw was pulled early for a pinch hitter for the second straight start -- remember Juan Castro in the fifth inning last Wednesday? -- and the Dodgers lost in the ninth inning again. However, this time the decision worked...at the time.

Mattingly faced a tough decision with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. The game was tied at 1-1 and his ace, Kershaw was due up with runners on at first and second base. Kershaw had thrown 84 pitches at this point in the game and had struck out the final two batters he faced in the previous inning. With the Dodgers' normal, feeble bench, there is a strong argument to be made to keep Kershaw in the game, even though scoring opportunities are so few and far between for this offense. Luckily, the Dodgers happened to have Andre Ethier at the ready, and Kershaw was pulled.

The right-handed Bud Norris, already at 112 pitches, was left in to face Ethier, rather than Sergio Escalona, Houston's lone left-handed reliever. Ethier, remember, is hitting .203/.230/.271 this year against southpaws and .243/.305/.362 in his career. Ethier delivered an 0-2 ground ball up the middle into center field, and Bourn let the ball roll under his glove, allowing Russ Mitchell to score all the way from first base in addition to Navarro from second base, giving the Dodgers a two-run advantage.

Mike MacDougal (in seven pitches) and Matt Guerrier each threw scoreless innings before Jansen started the ninth inning.

Kemp's Big Night

Matt Kemp had a night to remember as well. Not only did he steal his 13th base of the season, but he also clubbed his 100th career home run. It was the 13th career game for Kemp with a home run and a stolen base, tied with Raul Mondesi for third most by a Los Angeles Dodger. Both Davey Lopes and Willie Davis had 21 such games in their careers. Kemp's 100th home run came in the 2,673rd plate appearance of his career, putting him in the middle of the pack among the 16 LA Dodgers with 100 dingers.

Fastest LA Dodgers To 100 Home Runs
Rank Player PA
1 Gary Sheffield 1727
2 Mike Piazza 1735
3 Shawn Green 1781
4 Frank Howard 1833
5 Mike Marshall 2372
6 Raul Mondesi 2464
7 Pedro Guerrero 2517
8 Eric Karros 2561
9 Matt Kemp 2673
10 Andre Ethier 2893
11 Ron Cey 2982
12 Dusty Baker 3019
13 Adrian Beltre 3169
14 Steve Garvey 3552
15 Steve Yeager 3712
16 Willie Davis 5385

Notes

  • Kemp is tied for third in the National League with 11 home runs and fifth in the league with 13 steals.
  • Kemp also became the sixth Dodger to join the 100-100 club
  • Jerry Sands walked three times tonight, and has reached base in nine of his last 10 plate appearances, pushing his on-base percentage on the season up to .346.
  • James Loney extended his hitting streak to nine games with a line drive in the box score, a 45-foot dribbler up the third base line that died in the grass for a single in the sixth inning.
  • The outing tonight by Jansen snapped a string of 10 straight scoreless appearances by the 6-foot-5 right-hander.
  • Casey Blake was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his first rehab game with Triple A Albuqerque, but also "made three excellent plays in the field," per the Isotopes' team Twitter feed.
  • Blake Hawksworth started and pitched one innning in Rancho Cucamonga tonight on a rehab assignment with the Class A Quakes. He allowed a walk, two stolen bases, and a sacrifice fly for a run, and also struck out a batter. Hawksworth is scheduled to pitch one more rehab game with the Quakes, on Wednesday in Lancaster, before possibly rejoining the Dodgers on Friday.
  • Chad Billingsley and J.A. Happ face off in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.

WP - Jeff Fulchino (1-2): 1 2/3 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

LP - Kenley Jansen (1-1): 2/3 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 1 HBP, 2 strikeouts

Box Score

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