Andre Ethier provided the power at the top, and the bottom of the order came through as well, propelling the Dodgers to a 6-2 win over Pittsburgh in the opener of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium.
Ethier's two-run shot to center in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie, and was yet another home circuit clout for the Dodger right fielder. Ethier now has 20 home runs at Dodger Stadium, tied for the fifth-most in club history. Thanks to the telecast on Prime Ticket, we learned that Gary Sheffield (in 2000) and Adrian Beltre (in 2004) share the record with 23 Dodger Stadium home runs in one season.
The bottom of the lineup produced as well:
- Casey Blake was on base in all four plate appearances, and scored two runs
- Russell Martin had two hits, including his 18th double on the season. Martin has a season-high streak of four straight games with an extra-base hit.
Orlando Hudson chimed in with three hits and two runs batted in
It wasn't pretty tonight for Jon Garland, but he managed to get through six innings, again, for his second win in three starts as a Dodger. Garland loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but managed to get out of it without a run scoring, despite throwing 23 pitches. Garland allowed single runs in the fourth and fifth, but it could have been worse. Orlando Hudson made a leaping catch of a line drive with two on and one out in the third inning, and stepped on second base to double off Andre McCutchen. Matt Kemp also made a nice running catch near the warning track of a ball hit by Lastings Milledge in the second. Garland threw 20 pitches or more in four of his first five innings, and was at 102 pitches through five, but managed to retire the Pirates in order on 10 pitches to conclude his night. Garland has now pitched at least six innings in 19 of his last 20 starts.
The terrific trio of Hong-Chih Kuo, George Sherrill, and Jonathan Broxton closed out the game, as the well rested group of relievers retired all nine batters they faced. Dodger pitchers retired the final 14 Pirate batters of the game.
Randy Wolf makes his return to the mound tomorrow night against Zach Duke of the Pirates, dubbed "The Pride of Waco, Texas" by Vin Scully tonight.
In San Francisco, the Giants welcomed back Tim Lincecum by beating the Rockies 9-1. The Dodgers NL West lead is now at four games over Colorado.
To win NL West: 13
To clinch a playoff spot: 11
WP - Jon Garland (10-11): 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
LP - Daniel McCutchen (0-2): 5 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
UPDATE: If you want to hear my interview on Sunday night's DodgerTalk with Josh Suchon and Jon Weisman, here it is:
DodgerTalk Interview 091309 (this is a large file, over 12 MB)
Note to self: when trying to say "lightning rod," don't say "divining rod."