The Dodgers rode a hot offense, led by a torrid Rafael Furcal and would-be All-Star Matt Kemp, and yet another solid start by Randy Wolf to beat the Mets 11-2, taking the three-game series at Citi Field.
Wolf leads the majors with 12 no-decisions, and had not won a game since May 28. Tonight, he decided to do something about it. Stuck on a 3-3 record despite two good starts in a row, Wolf changed his uniform number from 21 to 43. Wolf said it was so he could go 4-3, but remember, he also wore that number in Philadelphia.
More importantly, Wolf was solid on the mound. Staked to a 4-0 lead before he threw a pitch, Wolf's prospects were looking good. However, Wolf had some trouble early, allowing runs in the first and third innings to go along with seven baserunners, and threw 75 pitches through three innings. However, Wolf settled down and ended up pitching into the seventh inning before exiting with a 8-2 lead. Wolf has pitched six innings or longer in 15 of 19 starts this season.
Wolf was supported by a Dodger offense that simply battered Livan Hernandez. Hernandez gave up 11 hits and eight runs in his four innings. Just like Wednesday night, the Dodgers got nine walks. Only tonight they cashed them in. James Loney had three walks himself, to go along with his double. For the series, the Mets' pitchers walked 25 Dodgers.
Rafael Furcal had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and a walk, and scored a run in each of his first three plate appearances. Since the calendar turned to July, Furcal has been a new man, with 14 hits in 30 at-bats, hitting .467/.543/.633 with nine runs in seven games.
Matt Kemp, who despite losing the Final Vote to Shane Victorino, might still be an All-Star anyway. Kemp had three more hits and a walk tonight, and had a whopping eight hits in 11 at-bats at Citi Field, to go with three walks. Yes, that's right folks; The Bison bats eighth in this lineup.
Orlando Hudson, moved to the seventh spot for the first time since August 20, 2006, had a three-run double that broke the game open in the first inning. Hudson was hit in the leg by a pitch in the seventh inning, and left the game. His replacement, Juan Castro, joined the offensive fun as well with a two-run single in the eighth.
Since Manny Ramirez has rejoined the lineup, the Dodger offense has really turned it on, especially early in games. They have scored in the first inning in four of six games, including four runs tonight. The Dodgers have scored 11 first inning runs in their last six games, and have scored 67 runs in the first all season, only one run behind Philadelphia for the major league lead.
In the two games the Dodgers didn't score in the first inning recently (Sunday in San Diego, and Tuesday in New York), they scored in the second inning. The Dodgers have scored 40 runs in their last six games.
The Dodger juggernaut travels to Milwaukee tonight, to start the final three-game series before the All-Star break tomorrow. Chad Billingsley will face off against Braden Looper Friday night.
WP - Randy Wolf (4-3): 6.1 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Livan Hernandez (5-5): 4 IP, 11 hits, 8 runs, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts