On a day the Dodgers looked to clinch the National League West, Andy LaRoche had the greatest game of his career, with two home runs, two doubles, a single, four runs, and six RBI. Delwyn Young added a double and a walk, but alas both men play for the Pirates now, leading to a 11-1 drubbing by Pittsburgh, delaying the division celebration by another day.
A Chin-Lung Hu sacrifice fly following an Orlando Hudson triple in the ninth inning prevented a shutout, so at least we have that going for us.
LaRoche was a triple shy of the cycle when he laced a double to center in the sixth inning. He made a wide turn at second, but thought better of it, even though it was 8-0 at the time. Still, 13 total bases is nothing to sneeze at. The last player to amass 13 total bases against the Dodgers was Todd Helton at Coors Field on May 29, 2003.
Hiroki Kuroda took the loss, giving up seven runs, but
five four of those were unearned, all in the second inning. The last Dodger to give up five unearned runs was Derek Lowe on June 16, 2005. Apparently, one of the runs in that second inning has become earned.
After the Dodger bench was emptied, Juan Castro finished up the game in left field, just the second time in his career he has played the position. He played one inning against the Astros on June 23, 1996, back in his first stint with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers are still going to win the division, some time this week, I'm almost sure of it! They also still have a good lead in the race for best record in the National League. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least slightly worried.
It will be a long and unhappy plane trip to San Diego for the Dodgers. But there is still plenty of baseball to be played, both this week and beyond.
Chad Billingsley starts division clinching attempt number three tomorrow night at Petco Park, against Cesar Ramos, making his first major league start.
WP - Zach Duke (11-15): 8.2 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Hiroki Kuroda (8-7): 4 IP, 8 hits, 7 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
In case you were wondering about the title, Andy LaRoche used to come to bat at Dodger Stadium with this song as his AB music: