A pitchers' duel at Miller Park ended poorly for the Dodgers, as Mike MacDougal and Hong-Chih Kuo combined to face four hitters in the bottom of the ninth and failed to record a single out. Mark Kotsay singled to center field with the bases loaded off MacDougal to give the Brewers a 2-1 win, their second win over the Dodgers in as many nights.
A lot of unexpected things happened in baseball Tuesday night: Lyle Overbay and the Diamondbacks shocked Roy Halladay in the ninth inning, Juan Pierre took Ubaldo Jimenez deep, and Yuniesky Betancourt walked, the latter on four pitches despite Betancourt trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt.
Betancourt has walked roughly once every 30 plate appearances in his career, literally the hardest man in baseball to walk during his career. Then again, it was MacDougal on the mound, a man who during the same span (since 2006) has walked 13.2% of his batters faced, ranking 408th among the 412 pitchers with at least 200 innings.
Betancourt's walk loaded the bases for Kotsay, who hit the first pitch to short center field just in front of Matt Kemp, who had the ball roll under his glove, ending the infinitesimal chance Kemp had of forcing Prince Fielder at home plate.
Both teams scored runs in the second thanks to one-out ground balls with a man on third base. In the top of the inning, Kemp singled, stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored when Aaron Miles bounced a ball through the drawn-in infield. In the bottom of the inning, Corey Hart's grounder found Casey Blake's glove, but Jerry Hairston scored easily from third base as Blake got the out at first base.
Chad Billingsley had a very nice bounce back start, especially after struggling through the first two innings. Billingsley threw 45 pitches in the first two frames, allowing a run on two singles and two walks. Over the next five innings, Billingsley threw just 48 pitches and retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced. Billingsley was removed for a pinch hitter in the top of the eighth inning after 93 pitches.
Trent Oetljen was the pinch hitter for Billingsley, and he walked to start a two-out rally. Tony Gwynn followed with a single, but Yovani Gallardo rebounded to strikeout Casey Blake to end the threat. Gallardo allowed four hits and a walk in his eight innings, and struck out nine.
Old friend Takashi Saito pitched a scoreless ninth inning and picked up his fourth win of the season. It was just the third appearance against his old team for Saito, who has retired all eight Dodger batters he has ever faced.
Kuo got hung with the loss, walking Fielder, the only batter he faced on the night. Kuo has 18 walks in 15 innings in 2011 after 18 walks in 60 innings in 2010.
Nathan Eovaldi gets the start Wednesday night for the Dodgers, facing Zack Greinke. Maybe the Dodgers can score more than the half-run per game they have scored so far this series.
WP - Takashi Saito (4-1): 3 up, 3 down
LP - Hong-Chih Kuo (0-2): 1 batter, 1 run, 1 walk