Entering this week, the Dodgers had just one win this season when trailing after eight innings. Now, they have three. Matt Kemp hit his third walk-off home run of the season, giving the Dodgers a 7-6 win over the Rockies in 11 innings on Saturday. It was the fifth straight win for the Dodgers, who wouldn't have gotten to extra innings if it weren't for James Loney.
Trailing 6-5 in the ninth inning, Loney continued his flashback to September 2007, hitting a no-doubt solo home run off Rafael Betancourt to tie the game at 6-6. Loney has hit home runs in back-to-back home games for the first time since September 11-12, 2007, a month in which he hit nine home runs and had everyone excited about his future. That future hasn't materialized but the present has been pretty good, as Loney has 15 hits in his last 26 at-bats, with three doubles and three home runs in his last six games.
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The home run by Kemp came off Jason Hammel, who has had a nightmare season against the Dodgers. Hammel was banished to the bullpen after getting lit up eight days ago at Coors Field, and in four appearances this season against L.A. Hammel has allowed 18 runs and 25 hits in 14 innings, with 10 walks and five strikeouts.
Like Friday night, the Dodgers held another extended rally to take the lead, only this time it didn't hold up. Troy Tulowitzki hit the second of his two home runs, a two-run shot in the top of the seventh, to give the Rockies a 6-5 lead just one half inning after the Dodgers pulled ahead.
Down 4-0, the Dodgers rallied for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a brief lead. They had four singles, a double, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch, but the half inning was wild for numerous reasons. Catcher Chris Iannetta got an error for not catching a throw, which allowed runners to advance. Carlos Gonzalez made an unbelievable throw on the fly from right field to nail Matt Kemp at third base, only third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff didn't hold on to the ball. Tim Wallach for some reason decided to send Andre Ethier home for a possible go-ahead run on Casey Blake's bases-loaded double and Ethier was out by a mile, but that was topped when Jamey Carroll, hitting .194/.329/.194 with runners in scoring position entering today, delivered a single for his 12th RBI of the season, and a Dodger lead.
Trent Oeltjen began the wild sixth inning by pinch-hitting for Chad Billingsley, and popped out to pitcher Kevin Millwood. Then, thanks to the Dodgers' rally, Oeltjen's spot came up again, giving him the rare plate appearance as "other." That second at-bat, which resulted in a strikeout, doesn't count as a pinch-hitting appearance because Oeltjen wasn't hitting for anybody but he also didn't have a position, so he falls into the gray section of the black and white world of baseball statistics.
The last Dodger to bat as "other" was Garret Anderson on May 22, 2010 against Arizona. The last Dodger pinch hitter to make two outs in one inning was Wilton Guerrero on April 22, 1998 against Milwaukee.
Billingsley labored in his outing, throwing a season-high 123 pitches in six innings. He allowed three runs in the second inning, an RBI single by Carlos Gonzalez followed by a two-run home run by Tulowitzki. Gonzalez singled in another run in the fourth inning, part of a four-hit day. CarGo has a 14-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .393/.477/.893, and has driven in a run in 11 straight contests, a new Rockies record.
Through four innings, Billingsley was already at 97 pitches, but he managed to throw two more scoreless frames, technically qualifying for a quality start, his 15th of the season in 27 starts.
Mike MacDougal pitched a scoreless 11th inning for his first win as a Dodger.
Nathan Eovaldi goes for the sweep in the series finale on Sunday, facing Jhoulys Chacin.
WP - Mike MacDougal (1-1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP - Jason Hammel (7-13): 1 1/3 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 1 strikeout