The Dodgers got one of their most satisfying wins of the season, bombing Brad Penny and the Giants 12-1 at Dodger Stadium on national television. Penny, who didn't make any friends during his final days in Los Angeles last season, had his first bad game since returning to the National League, giving up seven runs in just 2.2 innings of work.
The game started off on a bad note for the Dodgers, as Manny Ramirez misplayed an easy flyball by Eugenio Velez in the first inning for a two-base error. Velez later scored on a sacrifice fly by Randy Winn. Little did we know that would be the only damage allowed by Jon Garland today. Garland allowed only seven hits in his eight innings, lowering his Dodger ERA to 2.33 and his Dodger FIP to 3.96.
The Dodgers immediately responded against Penny, using two singles and two walks to tie the game when Ronnie Belliard came to the plate. Belliard launched a pitch well into the Dodger bullpen to break the game open, giving the Dodgers a 5-1 lead. Belliard also stole second base in the third inning, his first stolen base as a Dodger. That was the fifth time a Dodger has had a home run and a steal in the same game this season, joining Matt Kemp (three times) and James Loney.
When Belliard was acquired last month, I jokingly invoked the name of Magic Marlon Anderson, another reserve infielder acquired at the end of August from the Nationals, this time in 2006. So far, the comparison isn't that far off:
James Loney last homered at Dodger Stadium on August 21, 2008 against the Rockies. He has played 86 games at home since then, and hit no home runs. Until today, that is. Loney followed Matt Kemp's home run in the third inning with one of his own, a shot to right field. Before today, Loney had 12 home runs this season, all on the road, but now Willie Davis stands alone, again, as the Dodger record holder for most home runs in a season with none at home, with 11 in 1969.
Randy Johnson, activated from the 60-day disabled list Wednesday, pitched in relief in the sixth inning, giving up doubles to two of the three batters he faced. I was at The Unit's last regular season relief appearance, in San Diego on July 18, 2001. Johnson came in for an injured Curt Schilling to start the third inning, then proceeded to set an MLB record for strikeouts in relief, with 16 during his seven scoreless innings.
Every Dodger starter reached base at least once, and even some of the reserves got in on the fun as well. Blake DeWitt joined the power parade with a home run off Joe Martinez in the seventh inning. Jason Repko even got a plate appearance, grounding out to end the seventh inning.
Jeff Weaver pitched in mop-up duty in the ninth inning, closing out the win but not before allowing some baserunners. The Giants loaded the bases with one out, but Weaver again got out of the jam with minimal damage. This season with the bases loaded, opposing batters are hitting just .050/.167/.050, with just one single and three walks in 24 plate appearances.
22-year old catcher Buster Posey delivered a single in the ninth inning for his first big league hit. I have a feeling that he'll have many, many more of those in his career.
Rafael Furcal started the game with a single, the 34th time this season he has started a game by reaching base. The Dodgers are 26-8 in those games.
The Dodgers' win today clinched the season series with the Giants, as they have beaten San Francisco 10 of the 17 times they have played. The Dodgers have won the season series against every team in the NL West, winning 43 of 66 intra-divisional games this season.
The series finale is tomorrow afternoon, with Randy Wolf facing off against Tim Lincecum.
To win NL West: 8 (pending the Rockies' game in Arizona at 5pm tonight)
To clinch a playoff spot: 6
WP - Jon Garland (11-11): 8 IP, 7 hits, 1 unearned run, 3 strikeouts
LP - Brad Penny (10-9): 2.2 IP, 5 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout