The Los Angeles Dodgers watched a sure win slip away in the ninth inning on Thursday. A rousing victory of their own 24 hours later may have eased the sting a little.
The Dodgers hope to build on an exciting win and continue their strong play at home Saturday night when they continue a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting the Dodgers (35-26) to a 4-3 victory in Friday’s series opener.
Saenz’s walkoff homer was the fourth of his career and first since July 2, 2002.
“I know that I hit the ball well, but I didn’t think it was high enough to go out,” Saenz said. “I wasn’t really trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to hit it in the gap and tie the game. When you try to hit a home run, you usually get yourself out. We won a tough game, and it’s a good feeling.”
The home run came after closer Takashi Saito suffered his first blown save in 17 opportunities this season, serving up a leadoff homer to Matt Stairs in the ninth. Saito, who missed the previous four games because of a sore left hamstring, had converted his previous 26 opportunities overall.
“I’m sure he was ready to come back,” Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel said. “I think he feels fine. It’s just that when you’re off for a couple of days and you’re used to pitching a lot, you get a little rusty.”
Los Angeles failed to hold a four-run lead in the ninth inning Thursday at San Diego, allowing five runs in a 6-5 loss.
Luis Gonzalez also hit a two-run homer Friday for the Dodgers, who snapped a three-game overall losing streak with their 12th win in 15 home games.
Derek Lowe (6-5, 3.44 ERA) looks to win his third straight start for Los Angeles. He won for the third time in four decisions Monday at Pittsburgh, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning before tiring. He allowed four runs and three hits in 7 2-3 innings in a 6-5 victory.
The Dodgers have won six of Lowe’s last eight starts with the right-hander posting a 2.81 ERA during that span.
Lowe is 3-3 with a 5.72 ERA in eight career starts against the Blue Jays, but hasn’t faced them since Aug. 16, 2004 with Boston.
Toronto (28-32), beginning a six-game trip through Los Angeles and San Francisco, lost its third straight, its longest skid since it dropped a season-high nine in a row May 1-10.
Accardo has failed in two of his last four save opportunities and has losses in his past two appearances. He has surrendered seven runs in his last six games after allowing none in his first 21 innings.
Shaun Marcum (2-2, 4.06) has been very good for the Blue Jays since moving into the rotation on May 13. He is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts after going 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
The right-hander, though, had his worst start of the season Sunday against the Chicago White Sox, giving up three runs, four hits and three walks in three innings in a 4-3 win.
Marcum, who has never faced the Dodgers, pitched six strong innings in a 13-2 win at Philadelphia on May 19 in his only start against a NL opponent.