The problem with not scoring a lot of runs is that, even with a lead in the late innings, there just isn't any margin of error. Nursing a 1-0 lead with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Hong-Chih Kuo grazed Buster Posey with a pitch. Then, in his infinite wisdom, home plate umpire Rob Drake issued warnings to both benches, as if they willingly put the tying run on base.
Jonathan Broxton was brought in to pitch to Pat Burrell, and Burrell lined a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left field for a 2-1 lead, which eventually became the final score. Guillermo Mota pitched the final five outs of the game for San Francisco for his first win of the season.
Three days rest did not prove much of an impediment for Chad Billingsley, who threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Billingsley has not given up a run in his last three starts, and currently has a scoreless streak of 21 2/3 innings. He gave up just two hits and two walks today, while striking out five. Casey Blake provided the offense with a solo home run in the seventh inning.
The number nine spot in the batting order was quite productive today for the Dodgers. Billingsley walked and singled, one of only three Dodger hits on the day. Then, in the eighth inning, Kuo walked on four pitches, his first career base on balls. The only reason Kuo batted in the eighth was because Joe Torre elected not to double switch Xavier Paul for Garret Anderson in right field when Kuo was brought in during the seventh inning.
With the trade of Blake DeWitt before the game, and Andre Ethier leaving to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, the Dodgers had just three players on the bench for today's game: Ronnie Belliard, Paul, and Brad Ausmus. Considering that most managers don't like using their backup catchers unless absolutely necessary, the Dodgers effectively had a two man bench. Still, regardless of the positive result, there is no reason Kuo should have been allowed to bat, especially since Torre knew he would pitch more than just the one out in the seventh inning.
The Dodgers are now five and a half games behind the Giants for the Wild Card. They try to salvage a game tomorrow, with a rested Clayton Kershaw facing Matt Cain.
WP - Guillermo Mota (1-3): 1 2/3 IP, 3 strikeouts
LP - Jonathan Broxton (3-3): 1/3 IP, 2 hits, 1 run