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Rockies Draw First Blood

Both starting pitchers pitched well, the Dodger offense showed some life with a ninth inning comeback, but in the end it wasn't enough as Troy Toulwitzki drove home the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 5-4 Rockies' win.

The Dodgers scored single runs in the first and fourth innings, and Clayton Kershaw was cruising, allowing only a walk in his first three innings.  However, the Rockies tied it with a home run by Dodger killer Brad Hawpe in the fourth inning.  Kershaw had not allowed a home run in 90 innings, and his last home run allowed was also in Colorado, to Ryan Spilborghs on May 27.

Jason Hammel was on the money tonight, putting to rest the idea that he can't pitch at home.  He allowed just the two runs in his seven innings, and was in line for the win after Clint Barmes launched a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh.  The Rockies added an insurance run in the eighth, and the Dodgers' prospects looked bleak heading into the ninth inning, down 4-2.

However, the Dodgers battled back in the ninth.  Juan Pierre led off with a pinch single, his eighth hit in his last 11 pinch at-bats, and was followed by a Rafael Furcal double.  After a sacrifice fly by Kemp cut the lead to 4-3 and advanced Furcal to third base with one out, lefty Joe Beimel was brought in to face Andre Ethier.  Ethier, who entered the game with six hits in 62 at-bats against lefties on the road, struck out, but Manny Ramirez drove home the tying run with a single off Matt Daley.

In the bottom of the tenth, as George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton sat unused in the bullpen, James McDonald was brought in to pitch.  Carlos Gonzalez, who cut his left hand earlier this week and basically cannot swing a bat right now, was standing in the on deck circle when McDonald walked Ian Stewart to start the inning.  The only thing Gonzalez can do is bunt, and the Dodgers played right into his hands by walking the leadoff batter.  To make matters, worse Gonzalez was safe after a botched fielding attempt by McDonald, Loney, and Hudson. After Omar Quintanilla struck out, Todd Helton was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out for Tulowitzki, in the hopes of getting a double play.

To sum up the bottom of the tenth inning, here was the situation:

  • Due up for the Rockies:  LHB Stewart, LHB Gonzalez, LHB Quintanilla, LHB Helton
  • Players left on Rockies bench:  RHB Yorvit Torrealba, RHB Matt Murton
  • Pitcher's spot for the Dodgers:  due up eighth in the top of the 11th

If there was ever a time to bring in George Sherrill -- LHB .117/.169/.150 against him this year, .163/.225/.265 career, by the way -- this was it.

The division lead is now down to two games.  Randy Wolf faces off against Josh Fogg, who has pitched out of the bullpen all year.  Look at it this way:  at least Broxton and Sherrill will be well-rested out of the back of the bullpen!

WP - Matt Herges (1-0):  1 IP, 1 strikeout

LP - James McDonald (3-3):  0.1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks (one intentional), 1 strikeout

Box Score