The score may have been the same as Friday night, but tonight's 6-5 Dodger win had an entirely different backstory.
After a four-run first inning which saw the Dodger leadoff batter reach base to start the tenth consecutive game and five straight two-out hits, the Dodgers looked to put away Ubaldo Jimenez early. However, James McDonald ran into more trouble in the third inning, walking three and allowing three runs. After the Dodgers padded their lead to 6-3, all McDonald had to do was last through five to qualify for his first major league win.
Well, that didn't come easy either. After settling down, McDonald allowed a two-run homer to Garrett Atkins in the fifth that cut the lead to 6-5. McDonald pitched five innings, but had his third straight unimpressive start. McDonald has seemed good out of the gate each time he has pitched, but after his second inning he has faltered:
|1st 2 IP||7.0||4||0||1||3||.160/.222/.200||0.00|
|After 2 IP||5.2||7||10||9||3||.304/.515/.609||15.88|
Enter Ramon Troncoso.
The sinkerballing specialist came in the game in the sixth inning to protect a one-run lead, and boy did he protect it! Troncoso pitched the final four frames to close out the win, getting eight groundball outs and a strikeout while allowing only an infield single in his 45 pitches.
Troncoso's first major league save closed out James McDonald's first major league win, and the save was a notable one. Troncoso's masterpiece was only the 52nd four-inning save in Los Angeles Dodger history, an average of one per year.
This was the first Dodger four-inning save since Wilson Alvarez at Jacobs Field in 2003, and the first to protect a one-run lead the entire time since Jerry Reuss in April 1979.
When this turn in the rotation comes up again Thursday against the Padres, would McDonald or Troncoso be a better option to start?
Clayton Kershaw goes to the hill on Sunday, hoping to rebound from his poor outing in Houston on Tuesday. Jason Marquis will start for Colorado. Ken Gurnick tells us both Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake are expected to rest Sunday, in favor of Juan Castro and Blake DeWitt, respectively. UPDATE: Tony Jackson tells us Manny will sit as well on Sunday, for the first time all year, in favor of Juan Pierre.
Oh yeah, the Dodgers are tied with St. Louis for the best record in baseball, at 13-5.