Trailing by six runs against David Price, the Dodgers didn't stand much of a chance against the Rays. But after chipping away in the final few innings, the Dodgers exploded for four runs in the ninth inning to stun Tampa Bay 7-6 at Dodger Stadium.
In a game filled with misplays and mistakes, mostly by the Dodgers, Rays closer Fernando Rodney committed the final misstep. His errant throw into center field on a force attempt allowed Adrian Gonzalez to score from second base with the winning run.
Gonzalez drove in the game-tying run off Rodney, the third of three consecutive run-scoring extra-base hits in the ninth. Mark Ellis tripled to score Skip Schumaker, who singled, and Nick Punto doubled home Ellis to set the table for Gonzalez.
"The little guys really came through really good for us," Gonzalez said with a smile.
Schumaker, one of the "little guys," was 2-for-4 with a double on the night. He said Friday was one of the biggest comebacks he has ever been a part of.
"It didn't matter what inning, as long as we kept adding on runs," Schumaker said. "Down 6-0 against David Price, there's not a lot of hope. We managed to find a way."
The Dodgers fell behind 6-0 thanks to a pair of sloppy innings, one by the defense, and one by Chris Capuano. The top of the second inning was as sloppy as it gets for the Dodgers. Here were the first four batters of the inning:
- Wil Myers flew to left fielder Jerry Hairston Jr., who somehow let the ball drop for a gift single.
- Ben Zobrist grounded to Punto at shortstop, who booted it, costing at least one out if not two.
- With runners on first and second base, Yunel Escobar singled out of the reach of a diving Yasiel Puig in center field. Puig, with no chance to get Myers at home, overthrew the cutoff man, allowing runners to advance to second and third.
- Old friend James Loney singled to center to plate two runs, and Puig threw home and again overthrew the cutoff man.
"As a pitcher, that stuff is going to happen. When something like that happens, it's just a chance for you to pick your teammates up," Capuano said. "At that point you're just trying to get outs, trying to get the team through that."
There was also this double play that wasn't in the fourth, though this was less the Dodgers' fault than it was comic relief:
Price pitched scoreless ball into the seventh inning, and on the night allowed eight hits while striking out four. Price in eight starts since returning from the disabled list has a 1.40 ERA and .44 strikeouts, with just two walks. One of those two walks came by Hairston to lead off the seventh inning, which snapped Price's franchise record streak of 35⅓ innings without a walk. Hairston eventually scored..
The Rays tacked on three more runs against Capuano in the fifth inning with four hits and an intentional walk to put the game away, and also extend a crazy streak for the left-hander. Capuano in his nine starts since returning from the DL has either allowed zero runs (five times) or five earned runs (four times), with no in between.
"At three runs, if I can get us deep into the game, three runs you have a chance with our team. Once we got to six, I felt I let us down a little bit," Capuano said. "But you're never out of it."
After the run in the seventh inning against Price, the Dodgers struck for two in the eighth inning on a ground rule double by Puig and a single by Juan Uribe. The Dodgers actually brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning, which seemed improbable enough, but Carl Crawford popped out meekly to shortstop to end the threat.
"We feel like we can win every day," said manager Don Mattingly.
- Hanley Ramirez pinch hit in the seventh inning, his first appearance since injuring his shoulder on Sunday. Ramirez struck out against Price. Mattingly said Ramirez would likely be able to pinch hit on Saturday, then "we'll go from there," he said.
- Puig was 2-for-4 with a double on Friday, extending his hitting streak to 8 games (14-for-29, .483). Puig has 27 multi-hit games in 55 starts.
- Mark Ellis, who was in a 1-for-17 slump entering the game, went 3-for-4 with a walk on Friday while batting leadoff.
- Brandon League pitched the sixth and seventh innings without allowing a run, his fourth scoreless outing of two innings since the All-Star break.
- Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless eighth inning, though he did allow a hit and a walk. He stayed in to pitch the ninth inning but allowed a hit and a walk before getting removed. As a Dodger, Marmol has recorded 18 outs and allowed 15 runners to reach base.
- Loney, in his return to Dodger Stadium, had three singles in four at-bats, with two RBI. It was his 26th three-hit game at Dodger Stadium.
- The Dodgers before Loney took the field in the bottom of the first inning played a video of his grand slam in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, followed by a "Welcome back, James Loney" message on screen.
The Dodgers look for their fourth straight win on Saturday afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. PT start on Fox. Zack Greinke gets the call for the Dodgers, the second of three Cy Young Award winners to pitch at Dodger Stadium this weekend. Roberto Hernandez, who used to pitch under the name Fausto Carmona, starts for Tampa Bay.
Home runs: none
WP - Ronald Belisario (5-6): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP - Fernando Rodney (4-3): ⅓ IP, 4 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 1 walk, 1 strikeout