All season the Dodgers have been hearing from the critics that they had the best record in baseball because they played in the weak West and that when they came East things would be different. And that was before Manny was suspended.
Three games into their first foray East of the Mississippi the Dodgers are proud owners of a series win against the World Champion Phillies as they take the swing game 5 - 3 in extra innings. Chad Billingsley made it happen on the same mound he imploded last October and matched World Series MVP Cole Hamels pitch for pitch. By the time Chad exited after seven innings the Dodgers led 2 -1 thanks to a Rollins error in the top of the seventh.
A quiet little afternoon game got very interesting in the 9th. Matt Kemp made sure the Dodgers had some insurance by smacking a line drive in front of Ibanez who played it into a triple. Casey Blake then hit a sacrifice fly and the Dodgers took a 3 -1 lead into the bottom of the 9th with Big Bad Broxton coming in. Broxton quickly dispatched of Howard and Werth (four k's) with some 100 MPH heat and Philly fans started heading home. Then just as quickly the tables turned as Ibanez singled to center. Greg Dobbs came into pinch hit and was walked putting the tying run on base. Dobbs had been 3/20 as pinch hitter at that point and it looked like Broxton was squeezed during the at bat. Dodger killer Carlos Ruiz was now up and normally you'd consider the 8th hitter in the lineup not to be a threat to the heat of Broxton. However Ruiz is no ordinary number eight hitter against the Dodgers. He had reached base 7 straight times in the series. He had a +900 OPS coming into the game. He had something good going and he wasn't about to let Broxton end his reign of terror. Ruis drove a 99 MPH fastball into the gap and by time he stopped at 2nd the game was tied. Broxton quickly finished off the next hitter and it was time to see how the Dodgers would respond.
Furcal and Hudson quickly made outs against Chad Durbin. Andre Ethier stepped upto the plate having gone 1 for 4 with a bloop single. Down 1 and 2 in the count he worked a walk bringing up the hottest Dodger of them all. Martin was hitting .438 in May coming into the game and had collected two more singles. Every hit but one in May had been a single but it would take more then a single to bring in Andre today. Martin took one ball and then shot the gap in RF for a double bringing home Andre with the go ahead run. It was the perfect time for a rare Martin extra base hit. Matt Kemp completed the scoring by driving a ball off the wall to score Martin.
Bullpen savior Ramon Troncos was called upon to save the lead but with two out he hit Chase Utley bringing up Ryan Howard as the tying run. Howard had trouble against the Dodger LHP but now was facing someone he could punish. Instead Troncos struck him out to end the game giving the Dodgers a very sweet comeback.
As a side note, James Loney belted his 2nd home run in two days against one of the better LHP in the game to get the Dodgers their first run.