Tonight was a night for Dodger newcomers, as the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the series finale at Dodger Stadium. Jon Garland welcomed himself quite nicely into the Dodger rotation tonight, throwing well over his seven innings, and fellow newcomer Ronnie Belliard drove in single runs in three separate innings, leading the Dodgers to victory.
Garland struggled early, allowing five hits and a walk by the third inning. In that frame, Stephen Drew hit a home run to right center field, a ball that hit off the top of the wall after nearly being caught by a leaping Matt Kemp, giving Arizona an early 2-1 lead. Ryan Roberts followed with a single, and Garland appeared to be on the ropes. However, Garland regrouped and retired the final 14 batters he faced. Garland induced 12 ground ball outs, a great sign from someone that doesn't strikeout many hitters.
However, tonight Garland did strikeout hitters! Garland, who hasn't struck out more than 4.8 batters per nine innings since 2003, fanned six Diamondbacks tonight, one shy of his season high. Since the beginning of June, Garland has pitched at least six innings in 17 of 18 starts.
Garland became the 21st Dodger pitcher to collect a win this season, extending the club record. The 2002 Padres hold the major league record with 23 different pitchers collecting a win.
Belliard had run-scoring singles in the second and fourth innings, and added a fielder's choice RBI in the sixth to pad the lead to 4-2. With the bases loaded and one out, Belliard grounded to third baseman Mark Reynolds in what looked like a possible inning ending double play. However, a great takeout slide at second base by James Loney (who also added two hits) coupled with good hustle out of the box allowed Belliard to beat the throw to first, allowing Manny Ramirez to score from third.
Manny also had a towering home run to dead center in the fourth inning, to go along with a nice line drive out to right field later in the game, perhaps assuaging those looking to pour dirt on his grave.
In San Bernardino tonight, three San Jose Giants combined to no-hit the Dodgers' Class A affiliate, the Inland Empire 66ers in their final home game of the season.
The Dodgers welcome the Padres to town for the weekend. Tomorrow's game features Clayton Kershaw pitching against Wade LeBlanc.
WP - Jon Garland (9-11): 7 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
LP - Billy Buckner (2-6): 6 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (31): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts