Big Rallies Sustain Dodgers In Craziest Game Of The Year

In the craziest, most insane game of the season, the Dodgers provided a fine example of the unpredictability of baseball with a 11-8 win over the Reds in 11 innings. Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles reached base a combined eight times in 12 plate appearances, and Matt Kemp set a new career high with six runs batted in, but the game was more than that.

It seemed obvious from the start that a Dodger pitcher from Texas would get the win today, only it was Javy Guerra and not starter Clayton Kershaw who picked up the victory. It was the first major league win for Guerra, who pitched 1 1/3 innings in the 10th and 11th. Guerra even batted for himself, his first plate appearance as a professional, and walked.

The Dodgers trailed 7-2 after seven innings, but managed to score five runs, the last four on a grand slam by Matt Kemp. As shown on the Fox broadcast, today was just the fourth win by the Dodgers after trailing by five or more runs after seven innings since moving to Los Angeles, the last one coming on May 9, 1994. For Kemp, it was his second home run of the game and sixth grand slam. Only three Dodgers have ever hit more slams:

All-Time Dodgers Grand Slam Leaders
Player Grand Slams
Gil Hodges 14
Carl Furillo 8
Mike Piazza 8
Matt Kemp 6
Pee Wee Reese 6
Roy Campanella 6
Mike Marshall 6
Shawn Green 6

Kemp continued what will surely be his first All-Star season with three hits and a walk today, and on the season is hitting .318/.395/.576 with 15 home runs, 14 steals, and 46 RBI in 59 games. Kemp's final RBI was a groundout in the 11th inning which capped a four-run rally that featured four hits, a walk, and a timely throwing error by Carlos Fisher.

Through five innings today, Kershaw was pitching a gem. In the sweltering heat of Cincinnati -- 91 degrees at game time -- nobody was hotter than Kershaw, who struck out nine through five innings, facing the minimum 15 batters and allowing just one hit. But then, in the span of about 40 minutes, it all fell apart for Kershaw.

Kershaw entered the sixth inning having retired 22 of his last 23 batters, and had a scoreless inning streak of 17 innings, during which he allowed just four hits, two walks, and had 24 strikeouts. With two outs and a runner on second with a 1-0 lead, Kershaw walked Drew Stubbs, then gave up a bloop single to Brandon Phillips (7-for-13 lifetime off Kershaw) to tie the game. Kershaw then hung a slider to Joey Votto, who MVP'd it into the right field stands for a 4-0 lead.

Kershaw left with two out and two on in the seventh inning, and Mike MacDougal allowed both runs to score, albeit on a broken-bat bloop single to center. MacDougal allowed a run of his own as well, which made it 7-2 before the fateful eighth inning.

'I'm Still Stuck On Four RBI'

Dioner Navarro led off the third inning with a bouncing single down the third base line, and was sacrificed to second base by Kershaw. Jamey Carroll followed with a hit up the middle, his fourth hit in 30 at-bats with runners in scoring position this season, but shortstop Paul Janish made a tremendous diving stop, keeping Navarro from scoring on the play. Carroll, who was wearing a microphone for the Fox broadcast, noted during the next half inning, "I'm still stuck on four RBI." Carroll did pick up another hit with RISP in the 11th, the go-ahead single to give him five RBI on the year and the Dodgers an 8-7 lead.

Miles-tone Of Sorts

Miles drove in the first Dodger run, in the third inning, with a sacrifice fly. That plate appearance was the 100th for Miles since his last walk, which was on April 27 against Clay Hensley in Florida. Miles ended the game with 104 consecutive plate appearances without a walk, though Miles did have three hits and three RBI today. The last Dodger to have at least 100 PA without a walk was Juan Encarnacion, who went 140 PA in May and June 2004 without a free pass.

Notes

  • Today was the third two-homer game of Kemp's career. The previous two games were against the Rockies, on June 11, 2006 and April 19, 2009.
  • Carroll reached base five times today, with four hits and a walk, for the sixth time in his career, and his first time as a Dodger.
  • The Dodgers are 5-0 in extra innings this season
  • Dodger relief pitchers picking up a walk in their first major league PA, as Guerra did today, is nothing new. Just last season, both George Sherrill (on August 10) and Kenley Jansen (on August 26) did the same.
  • Not to be forgotten was Scott Elbert, who had another solid outing, a perfect eighth inning which included a strikeout of Votto
  • Tony Gwynn Jr., who was two for 30 in May, had two hits in three at-bats today in his first game of June. Gwynn's two singles came in the eighth and 11th innings, during which the Dodgers scored a total of nine runs.
  • Since getting recalled from Triple A Louisville on May 24, Fisher has appeared in three games for the Reds, entering each game in extra innings. Fisher has lost all three games, including two games won by pitchers getting their first major league win (Guerra today, position player Wilson Valdez of the Phillies on May 25)
  • The Dodgers' game with the Padres on July 9 at Dodger Stadium has been moved from a 7:10 p.m. start to 1:10 p.m., and will now be televised on Fox.
  • The Dodgers and Pirates, who were rained out on May 12 in Pittsburgh after two innings (Jon Garland wants his RBI single back!), will make up their game on Thursday, September 1, per Tony Jackson of ESPN LA. That game will be in the middle of a stretch for the Dodgers of 24 straight days with a game.
  • Chad Billingsley pitches Sunday morning in the rubber game of the series, against Travis Wood of the Reds.

WP - Javy Guerra (1-0): 1 1/3 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

LP - Carlos Fisher (0-3): 2/3 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 1 walk, 1 throwing error

Box Score

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