After more than a month with limited run support, Hiroki Kuroda got all the support he needed Friday night as the Dodgers beat the Angels 5-0 in the opening game of a three-game series in Anaheim. However, Kuroda didn't really need the support, as he pitched seven scoreless innings to get his first win since May 17. The Dodgers scored as many runs for Kuroda tonight (five) than they had in his last six starts combined while he was in the game.
The white hot Aaron Miles and merely red hot Tony Gwynn led the offense, each reaching base in all of their plate appearances. Miles, who hit .419/.418/.500 in June, picked up right where he left off on July 1, collecting four singles and even a walk, his fifth of the season. Miles has 29 hits in his last 59 at-bats, dating back to June 4.
Gwynn had two singles, a double, and three walks, his third game of three or more hits in his last five contests. Gwynn has 10 hits in his last 20 at-bats. The last Dodger to reach base six times in a nine-inning game was Andre Ethier last August 10. Before that, the last time was Shawn Green's four-homer game on May 23, 2002, aka the greatest individual offensive game in baseball history.
Tony Gwynn Sr. never reached base six times in a nine-inning game, though he did do it twice in extra innings.
With Rafael Furcal due to be activated perhaps as soon as Sunday, as Don Mattingly said before the game, it appears Dee Gordon could be headed back to Albuquerque. Rightfully so, as Gordon has been mostly overmatched so far in the big leagues, hitting just .241/.259/.291 in 21 games, including tonight. However, in the seventh inning, Gordon put on quite a show. After reaching base on a fielders choice, Gordon promptly stole second. After Gwynn walked, Angels catcher Hank Conger tried to pick Gwynn off first after a pitch to Casey Blake. However, as soon as Conger released the ball, Gordon took third, rather easily (he didn't get credit for a stolen base because official scorer Ed Munson ruled "it was advancement on a pickoff attempt," per Tony Jackson of ESPN LA.). Then to top it all off, when Gwynn got caught in a rundown trying to steal second base, Gwynn stole home. It was as exciting a display of speed and baserunning seen by the Dodgers in years.
Gordon then made a spectacular diving catch in the bottom of the ninth in short center field to rob Erick Aybar of a base hit. Just a magnificent display by Gordon tonight.
- As mentioned on the broadcast tonight, before Gordon, the last Dodger to steal home was Paul LoDuca on June 24, 2004.
- The Dodgers had the leadoff batter reach base in six of the nine innings
- Torii Hunter was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first inning. He left the game before the top of the second, with a contusion in his left hand. Hunter was taken for precautionary x-rays, per Sam Miller of the Orange County Register.
- The Angels gave Fernando Valenzuela, who threw out tonight's ceremonial first pitch, an Angels letterman's jacket with the number 34. The only problem is, Valenzuela wore number 36 as an Angel.
- Tomorrow features a rematch of Sunday's pitcher's duel, as Clayton Kershaw goes for his third straight complete game, against Jered Weaver and the Angels.
WP - Hiroki Kuroda (6-9): 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Tyler Chatwood (5-5): 5+ IP, 12 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout