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Offense Plus Another Quality Start Equals Dodgers Still in First

Yet another strong outing by John Ely, supported by Beard & Bison led production of the middle of the lineup, gave the Dodgers their third straight win and 12th in 13 games, 6-4 over the Tigers, in front of 45,117 fans at Dodger Stadium.

Ely ran into some trouble in the first inning, allowing a pair of doubles and actually walking a batter, stopping his streak at 89 consecutive batters without a free pass.  Ely gave up two runs in the first inning, but not a thing after that.  He pitched into the seventh inning, and was pulled after allowing a leadoff single.  Ely has pitched at least six innings in all five of his major league starts, something only Don Sutton and Pedro Astacio have done to start their LA Dodger careers.

Ely has pitched four straight quality starts, and Dodger starters not named Ortiz have a collective streak of nine straight quality starts.  After the first inning walk to Brandon Inge, Ely didn't walk another batter, and now has a new streak of 20 straight batters without a walk.  After the game, Joe Torre quipped, "As Yogi [Berra] likes to say, [Ely's] making himself necessary."

Hong-Chih Kuo, who was injured and didn't get to pitch in the Dodgers' trip to Taiwan in March, replaced Ely on "Taiwan Day" at Dodger Stadium.  After retiring the first two batters, a fielding error by Casey Blake and a walk led to the unenviable task of having to face Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded.  Even up 6-2, having a career .454/.450/.649 hitter with the bases loaded as the potential tying run can leave an uneasy feeling in one's stomach.  Cabrera hit a soft grounder up the third base line, but Kuo fielded it and threw as hard as he has ever thrown, to first base for the final out to end the threat.

Blake and Matt Kemp led the middle of the order brigade today, each crushing home runs to left field.  Blake had three hits on the day, and since re-growing his trademark beard this week has hit .500/.542/.955 with three homers in six games.  Kemp had a double to go along with his home run, and scored his major league leading 37th run on the season.

In addition to his offense, Blake made an outstanding play to rob Miguel Cabrera -- again batting as the tying run, in the ninth inning -- of a base hit with a diving stab.  Jonathan Broxton gave up three hits and a run in the ninth, but held on for his 10th save of the season.

Other Notes

  • Ramon Troncoso  struggled mightily in the eighth inning, allowing a home run and walk before hitting Austin Jackson in the head with a pitch.  The home run by Brennan Bosch of the Tigers was Troncoso's fourth long ball allowed this season, one more than he allowed all of 2009
  • James Loney, batting in between Kemp and Blake, had two hits of his own
  • Blake DeWitt hit a two-run triple in the fourth inning, his third triple of the week
  • Xavier Paul played right field today, and had two hits and a walk, pushing his season line to .310/.356/.476 in 48 plate appearances
  • Jonathan Broxton saved his third straight game, for the second time in a little over a week
  • Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscias Tragic Illness believes in the power of Beard
  • Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone wonders where Chad Billingsley's critics are now

The Dodgers go for the sweep tomorrow, with Hiroki Kuroda facing Rick Porcello.

WP - John Ely (3-1):  6 IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts 

LP - Armando Galarraga (1-1):  4 2/3 IP, 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Sv - Jonathan Broxton (10):  1 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts

Box Score