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Dodgers Lose as Broxton Watches From the Bullpen

In a game that featured wonderful relief pitching by the Dodgers through the first nine innings, their best reliever sat unused in the bullpen as the Pirates rallied in the 10th inning to win, 4-3.  After getting 4 1/3 scoreless frames out of the bullpen, manager Joe Torre saved Jonathan Broxton for a save situation that never came, deciding instead to go with Ramon Ortiz, who was decidedly un-springlike for the second straight game.  Asked if there were any non-save situations on the road in which he would use Broxton, Torre said:

"I guess there are certain situations where you would use him, but when you put him in a tie game, you're saying two innings, and I'm not of a mind to want to do that."

Clayton Kershaw did not have his best game tonight, tying a career high with six walks in his 4 2/3 innings.  He allowed three runs, all off the bat of the immortal Garrett Jones, who hit his third home run in two games in the first inning.  Kershaw also walked six Brewers last August 3.

Kershaw committed the cardinal sin of walking the opposing pitcher, Ross Ohlendorf, and he did it twice!  Kershaw, who also walked Jason Hammel twice last July, became just the third Los Angeles Dodger pitcher to have two career games in which they walked the same opposing pitcher twice:

Martin Goes Deep

After game number 68 in 2009, here were the Dodger home run leaders:

2009 Dodgers Through June 19
Player HR
Ethier 11
Blake 10
Kemp 8
Manny 6
Hudson 5
Furcal 3
Loney 3
Castro 1
Hoffmann 1
Paul 1
Martin 0

Ten different Dodgers had homered before Russell Martin hit his first dinger (on June 20) last season.  After tonight, game number two of the season, Russell Martin is the only Dodger with a home run, as he took Ohlendorf deep to the opposite field in the fifth inning to open the Dodger scoring.

Other Notes

  • The Dodgers had just two hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position, stranding runners at second or third base in four of the last five innings.
  • Jeff Weaver, who allowed just one hit in 20 at-bats with the bases loaded last season, needed but one pitch to retire ex-Dodger Delwyn Young with the bases loaded to rescue Kershaw from a fifth-inning jam
  • Russ Ortiz pitched two scoreless innings, inducing a pair of double plays, including the all-too-rare 1-4-3 double play in the sixth inning.  Ortiz, with three scoreless innings in two games, is tied for the major league lead in ERA.
  • George Sherrill rebounded nicely, throwing 9 of his 15 pitches for strikes and striking out two in his scoreless eighth inning. Sherrill said his outing was a relief to him, believing he has fixed the mechanical flaw in his delivery, resulting in a less closed stance and more of an idea where the ball is going once it leaves his hand. 
  • Ramon Troncoso, back with the team after the birth of his daughter, threw a scoreless ninth inning.
  • Rafael Furcal got on base twice via base on balls, and stole second each time, an encouraging sign that he is healthy enough to run and hopefully produce at the plate this year.  Last season, Furcal attempted just 18 stolen bases, by far his lowest amount in a full season.
  • Blake DeWitt got on base twice, but also committed an error on a routine grounder in the 10th inning, allowing leadoff man Lastings Milledge to reach base.  Milledge scored the winning run.
  • The game was exactly four hours long, and as a result the broadcast cut into the Clippers game against Portland. Prime Ticket used every possible opportunity to cut away from the Dodger game, to the detriment of the broadcast, to show the Clipper game.  The split screen was employed on several occasions late in the Dodger game, which eliminates any point to having a high-definition television.  If the Clippers were fighting for a playoff spot, I could see an argument for showing parts of their game.  But they aren't, and Dodger fans had to suffer as a result.
  • The last time the Dodgers lost their first two games of the season was 2007
  • The Dodgers are already 2½ games behind the Giants in the embryonic stages of the National League West race.  Their largest deficit in 2009 was just 1½ games, on April 10.

Chad Billingsley faces Paul Maholm in tomorrow's series finale.  Baseball and breakfast go together, with a 9:35am start.

WP -Brendan Donnelly (1-0): 1 IP, 2 walks

LP - Ramon Ortiz (0-1): 1/3 IP, 1 hit, 1 unearned run, 2 walks

Box Score