Rod Barajas welcomed himself quite nicely to the Dodgers, a team he said on Think Blue TV before the game that he always wanted to play for. The new catcher, claimed off waivers from the Mets on Sunday, had a debut unlike any LA Dodger hitter ever, leading the Dodgers and Ted Lilly to a 5-3 win in the opening game against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Barajas doubled in his first at-bat in second inning, then doubled again to lead off the fifth inning. At this point, Barajas was already in rare territory, as Juan Encarnacion (April 5, 2004) and Wilson Betemit (July 30, 2006) are the only two other LA Dodgers to hit two doubles in their first game with the club, and only Encarnacion doubled in his first two trips to the plate.
Then in the sixth inning, with the Dodgers down 3-2, Barajas ventured into uncharted waters by launching a three-run home run. Not only was it the first three run homer for the Dodgers since July 11, but it was the third extra-base hit for Barajas, something no other LA Dodger has ever done in his first game with the club.
This season, Brad Ausmus and A.J. Ellis have combined for three extra-base hits (all doubles) in 133 plate appearances. Barajas equaled that extra-base production in his first three times up.
The home run made a winner out of Lilly, who allowed three runs in his 6 1/3 innings of work. It is the fifth win for Lilly in five starts with the club, a start only bested by Kaz Ishii in LA Dodger history. Ishii won his first six starts in 2002.
Matt Kemp also launched a home run to center field in the second inning measured at 447 feet, although I'm certain no man-made instruments can accurately measure such a blast. Kemp also stole a base, making this the fourth time this season he has collected a home run and a steal in the same game. Other Dodgers to accomplish that feat this season are Rafael Furcal (twice), James Loney, and Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez went hitless with a strikeout in four at-bats at the plate tonight, and played 6 1/3 innings in the field. When Lilly was pulled in the seventh inning, Scott Podsednik came in to play left field in a double switch.
Ronald Belisario pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings tonight, arguably his best outing since returning from the restricted list, although he was aided by a line drive that turned into a double play to end the eighth inning. Hong-Chih Kuo retired the side in the ninth, although not without some fielding fun of his own doing, for his fifth save.
Hiroki Kuroda, on five days rest, gets the call for the Dodgers tomorrow, facing old friend Randy Wolf. That is, if Kuroda isn't claimed off waivers first.
WP - Ted Lilly (8-8): 6 1/3 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
LP - Dave Bush (6-11): 6 IP, 10 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Hong-Chih Kuo (5): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout