It's not every night you get to see a 50-year old record fall. The threatening skies in and around Dodger Stadium cleared up just enough to let the Dodgers and Padres play a baseball game on Friday night. Aaron Harang brought the lightning, and Matt Kemp provided the thunder in the Dodgers' 9-8 win over the Padres, won on a walk-off walk to Andre Ethier in the bottom of the ninth.
Harang started the game by allowing a single to Cameron Maybin, then the next nine batters all suffered the same fate.
As in nine of them. In a row. Harang set a new Dodgers record, surpassing the eight straight strikeouts by Johnny Podres on July 2, 1962. Harang came within one strikeout of tying the major league record of 10 straight punchouts, set by Tom Seaver for the Mets on April 22, 1970, also against the Padres.
It was one of those great baseball moments that really came out of nowhere.
Harang's streak ended when Will Venable did not strikeout, but rather powered a ball into the left field pavilion for an opposite field home run. Harang would give up three runs in the fourth inning, but luckily the Dodgers scratched together four runs in the bottom of the third inning despite just one hit to the outfield.
After the Padres cut the lead to one with their three-run fourth inning, the Dodgers answered back with four more runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back doubles by Justin Sellers and A.J. Ellis opened the inning with a run, and a Tony Gwynn Jr. single brought home another. But the inning was punctuated by a booming opposite field home run by Kemp, his third of the season.
As Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts pointed out on Twitter, it might not be too early to start the triple crown watch for Matt Kemp, who is hitting an absurd .419/.441/.806 with three home runs, 11 RBI, and 10 runs scored in just eight games. It should also be noted that Kemp trails teammate by two runs batted in, as Ethier knocked in three more tonight with a two-run single and the winning walk.
Harang pitched into the seventh inning and finished with 13 strikeouts, tying his career high. However, shaky relief from Todd Coffey and Scott Elbert allowed the Padres to plate three runs in the top of the seventh to pull within two at 8-6.
With Javy Guerra sidelined after saves on three straight days, Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth, and he was on the verge of closing it out with two outs, but Chase Headley crushed a two-run home run well into the right field pavilion to tie the game at 8-8.
In the end, the sparse crowd that was here braving the cold were in for a treat, and Dodger Stadium got loud even though the attendance was closer to half the announced figure of 31,601. Now the Dodgers are 7-1.
Home Runs: Matt Kemp (3); Will Venable (1)
WP - Kenley Jansen (2-0): 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Andrew Cashner (0-1): 2/3 IP, 1 run, 3 walks, 1 strikeout