Dodgers Fail To Cover First...Place Diamondbacks

Hiroki Kuroda put up zeroes in his final start of 2011.

The Dodgers scored five runs off noted hitter Micah Owings in the 10th inning, taking what looked like an insurmountable 6-1 lead over the Diamondbacks. The inning prompted me to tweet this:

Micah Owings was 7-0 this season before tonight

Make that 8-0. With a five-run lead, Blake Hawksworth got two groundouts to open the 10th inning, but failed to cover first in time on the third grounder, a nice play by James Loney. A single, a walk, and a fielding error by Aaron Miles led to a run, and led to Javy Guerra pitching for the third straight day.

Guerra walked Aaron Hill to force in a run, but it was still 6-3. No need to worry, right?

Wrong.

Ryan Roberts ended the game with a line drive grand slam over the left field wall, giving Arizona a sudden 7-6 win with just the second home run allowed all season by Guerra in 47 appearances.

The regulation portion of the game, however, was highlighted by Ks: Kuroda, Kemp, and Kenley.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched six scoreless innings, ending his season in fine style. He allowed five hits, didn't walk anybody, and struck out five. Unfortunately, the Dodgers didn't score in the first six innings either, not that it was anything new for Kuroda, who had the Dodgers score one run or less for him nine different times this season.

Jarrod Parker, the ninth overall pick of the 2007 MLB draft, made his major league debut tonight, and matched zeroes with Kuroda. Parker retired the first seven batters he faced before Jamey Carroll got him for a single in the third inning. Parker ended up pitching into the sixth inning and didn't allow a run, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out one batter.

Parker made a splash at the plate too, delivering a double down the right field line in the fifth inning in his big league second plate appearance. However, Parker forgot how many outs there were so when Willie Bloomquist flied out to right field, Jerry Sands was able to easily double off Parker at second base to end the inning.

The Dodgers have 36 outfield assists on the season, tied with the Detroit Tigers for fifth most in baseball.

Kuroda was removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh inning, and the Dodgers eventually plated a run thanks to an RBI single by Dee Gordon. However, Gordon was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, a situation exacerbated by Gordon nearly sliding into left field, to end the inning.

Kuroda is the 38th Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher to throw 200 innings in a season. By reaching the milestone, Kuroda earned an additional bonus of $200,000.

Matt Guerrier was brought in for the second night in a row, to opened the seventh inning. It was the 70th appearance of the season for Guerrier, the fifth straight year he has pitched that many games, the longest active streak in baseball. However, activity doesn't equal achievement, and Guerrier was anything but effective on Tuesday. He faced two batters and didn't record an out, allowing a walk and a double to tie the score at 1-1, giving Kuroda just his third no-decision of the season.

Josh Lindblom pitched a scoreless ninth inning, and in his last six appearances, spanning 5 2/3 innings, has one walk and 12 strikeouts.

The Dodgers are 8-3 in extra innings this season.

Kenley The Great

Kenley Jansen pitched the eighth inning in a 1-1 tie, and continued to impress. He actually showed he is human, allowing a walk and a single, but thanks to that golden right arm the former catcher struck out three to get out of the inning. There are so many ridiculous numbers with Jansen right now it's hard to know where to begin.

  • Jansen has a strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio of 16.30, which is the best in major league history, beating the record of 15.99 set in 2010 by Carlos Marmol of the Chicago Cubs
  • Jansen has struck out 13 of the last 17 batters he has faced
  • He has struck out 30 of the last 45 batters he has faced
  • In his last 20 1/3 innings, Jansen has five walks and 44 strikeouts
  • Jansen has recorded 34 of his last 42 outs (14 innings) via strikeout
  • He has not allowed a run in 28 of his last 30 appearances

Triple Crown Watch

It's over. Matt Kemp doubled in the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, and had an RBI single in the 10th. However, Kemp hasn't gotten any help on the batting average front from the two league leaders.

Jose Reyes had three hits in six at-bats, including two home runs, on Tuesday, raising his batting average to .3358. Meanwhile Ryan Braun had a single in two at-bats and walked twice in Milwaukee, raising his average to .3345. Kemp is at .3244 and needs a miracle to win the batting title. Just to force a three-way tie at .333333, Kemp would need eight hits in eight at-bats in the season's final game, and have Reyes go 0-for-4 and Braun go 0-for-2 or 1-for-5.

Also, Braun wasn't the story Tuesday in Milwaukee, as Prince Fielder slugged three, count 'em, three home runs to pull even with Kemp atop the National League with 38 round trippers. Kemp, with 124 RBI, has four more than Fielder. In LA Dodger history, only Tommy Davis (153 in 1962) and Shawn Green (125 in 2001) have had more RBI in a season than Kemp.

Tomorrow

Ted Lilly starts the season finale for the Dodgers, facing Joe Saunders for Arizona. The Diamondbacks need a victory and a Milwaukee loss to clinch the second seed in the National League and home field advantage in the NLDS.

WP - Micah Owings (8-0): 1 IP, 4 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 1 walk, 1 strikeout

LP - Javy Guerra (2-2): 2 batters, 1 walk, 1 grand slam

Box Score

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