The Dodgers had their usual offensive output against Chris Carpenter on Monday night, which is to say almost nothing at all. But they followed their 2011 formula against Carpenter, which is to wait him out, then score two in the ninth inning for a 2-1 Dodgers win over the Cardinals.
Carpenter pitched seven shutout innings on April 17 at Dodger Stadium, and the Dodgers were rescued by Matt Kemp hitting a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth (you might remember Vin Scully exclaiming, "They pitched to the one man who could beat them, and he did!") Tonight, in the top of the eighth inning with a runner on and two outs, that opportunity presented itself again. Carpenter left a curveball up in the strike zone to Kemp, a pitch so hittable that TV analyst Steve Lyons nearly jumped out of his seat as he said, "Hung it!" However, this time Kemp just missed it, and flew out shy of the warning track in left field.
Luckily for the Dodgers, that wasn't their last opportunity.
The Dodgers offense for the first eight innings Monday night mostly consisted of James Loney and Rod Barajas hitting singles, though new cleanup hitter Juan Rivera reached base twice via a walk and hit-by-pitch. Carpenter hit Rivera on what looked like the hand or wrist to start the ninth inning, and that ended Carpenter's night.
Arthur Rhodes was brought in to face Andre Ethier and, because Rhodes throws with his left hand Ethier became the first out of the inning, this time via a four-pitch strikeout. In came relief pitcher Fernando Salas, who gave up a triple into the right field gap off the bat of former Cardinal Aaron Miles to tie the game.
Tony LaRussa brought in his fourth pitcher of the ninth inning, Jason Motte, to face Rod Barajas, the fourth batter of the ninth for the Dodgers. Barajas hit a ball off the glove of Rafael Furcal, who was inserted for defensive purposes to begin the inning. Furcal recovered and threw home but Miles was busy sliding across the plate with the go-ahead run.
The reason the Dodgers were even in a position to tie, then take the lead in the ninth was thanks to Nathan Eovaldi and the bullpen. Eovaldi allowed a second-inning home run to Lance Berkman, but not much else. Eovaldi threw 83 pitches in his five innings, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out two. Josh Lindblom, Scott Elbert, and Matt Guerrier retired all nine batters they faced, and closer Javy Guerra allowed only an infield single to Furcal in the bottom of the ninth, closing out the win.
- The win tonight was the Dodgers' second all season, in 64 opportunities, when trailing to start the ninth inning
- In Carpenter's last eight starts against the Dodgers, he has allowed a total of five runs and five walks.
- Eovaldi and Danny McDevitt (in 1957) are the only two Dodgers since 1957 to begin their careers with four games of five innings or more while allowing two runs or less.
- Loney has seven hits in his last eight at-bats
- Eugenio Velez was 0-for-3 tonight, tying him with J.D. Drew for the worst starts to a Dodger career by a position player since 1919, at 0-for-25.
- Kemp, batting third for the first time all season, went 0-for-4, snapping his 11-game hitting streak.
- Clayton Kershaw gets strikeout number 200 Tuesday night in the second game of the series, facing Kyle Lohse.
WP - Matt Guerrier (4-3): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP - Fernando Salas (5-5): 1 batter, 1 triple, 1 run
Sv - Javy Guerra (11): 1 IP, 1 hit