On a day featuring a wonderful pitching duel between southpaws Clayton Kershaw and Barry Zito, Manny Ramirez stole the show. In a scene reminiscent of last year's Bobbleslam game, Manny's two-run pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth off of Sergio Romo erased a 1-0 Giants' lead and propelled the Dodgers to a 2-1 win, taking their second straight series over a National League West opponent.
Manny received a curtain call from the crowd of 50,433 at Dodger Stadium, who were brought to life by his home run. From Manny's home run through John Bowker lining out to Andre Ethier to end the game, the atmosphere was electric, and could be felt from the press box. Manager Joe Torre even felt it in the dugout, saying about his left fielder:
I mean he is certainly in the elite class. But you have to give Kershaw all the credit in the world for keeping that game where it was so that Manny could get out there and make a difference.
Kershaw was brilliant in his seven innings of work, striking out nine while walking four. The only run he allowed was a solo home run to Juan Uribe in the seventh. Kershaw said Uribe hit a changeup for the home run after he shook off a called fastball from catcher Russell Martin. Still, Kershaw was rightfully pleased with his effort, calling his start "a step in the right direction." Kershaw threw 74 of his 114 pitches for strikes.
Barry Zito was equally good, allowing just five baserunners in his 7 1/3 innings. The only run charged to Zito was a result of his eighth inning walk to pinch hitter Garret Anderson (playing the Mike Davis role); pinch runner Blake DeWitt scored on the Manny home run.
- Manny's home run was the 548th of his career, tying him with Mike Schmidt for 14th place on baseball's all-time home run list.
- Joe Torre said the plan for the eighth inning was for Kershaw to pitch to three batters at most, through Pablo Sandoval. Kershaw started the inning at 107 pitches, but Torre said there are no set pitch count restrictions on Kershaw this season, and that rather than total pitch count they pay more attention to pitches under high duress, such as with men on base. However, after Kershaw walked Eugenio Velez to begin the inning, Torre decided to remove him.
- Jon Link's stay with the big club might be temporary. Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a perfect six-pitch inning with Inland Empire today, and will likely be added to the roster this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Torre said he spoke with Link before the game and explained he didn't know exactly how long he would be on the roster, and there is a very real possibility Link could get optioned out before appearing in a game.
- Jonathan Broxton recorded his first save of the season, in his first save opportunity, and has retired 14 straight batters, including eight by strikeout.
- Joe Torre remains in George Sherrill's corner, calling his battling from down in the count 3-0 to retire Aubrey Huff on a popup in the eighth inning a big step for him going forward
Matt Kemp extended his hitting streak to eight games with a fourth-inning single
- The Dodgers fly to Cincinnati tomorrow afternoon, then start a three-game series with the Reds on Tuesday. Chad Billingsley will oppose Homer Bailey in the opener.
WP - Ramon Troncoso (1-0): 1/3 IP
LP - Sergio Romo (0-1): 2/3 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 strikeout
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout