Shawn Green hit a two-run double in the eighth inning against reliever Armando Almanza as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Marlins 2-1 Friday night, giving Dreifort a well-deserved victory and spoiling a masterful effort by Pavano.
“The kid pitched his heart out,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “When you have those kind of leads, you have to hold them. One of our strong points was supposed to be our bullpen.”
Pavano, obtained last August from Montreal in the trade for Cliff Floyd, allowed four hits and no walks over seven scoreless innings. But the right-hander, coming off a 106-pitch effort in his previous outing, was pulled after 100 pitches by McKeon in the Marlins’ fifth game since the 72-year-old McKeon replaced Jeff Torborg as manager.
“That’s not my decision,” said Pavano, who sat slumped at his locker while teammates patted him on the shoulder one by one.
“I’m out there to keep the ballclub in the game. I’m out there till they tell me I’m done. I have full confidence in these guys. They’ve done the job day in and day out. Everyone’s going to have bad days. But we have one of the best bullpens in the league, as far as I’m concerned. So I don’t hesitate at all to hand them the ball.”
“Dreif deserved it,” teammate Brian Jordan said. “It was good for us to come through like that for him. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy.
“He was there cheering for us last year. And to see him bounce back from all he’s been through—a lot of pressure, a lot of disappointment, a lot of depression the last couple of years for him—it’s just a tribute to his hard work.”
Dreifort, coming off the worst outing of his comeback from a second “Tommy John surgery,” allowed a run and eight hits over eight innings and worked with runners on base in every inning except the fourth. He struck out eight and walked one.
“It’s the most gratifying thing in the world, to see him throwing the way he’s been throwing,” said Lo Duca, Dreifort’s batterymate. “He was injured all last year, but was in the clubhouse every day and on the bench every inning rooting us on. To see what he’s gone through, it’s a great feeling for everybody in the clubhouse. He’s been dominating the last four outings.”
Eric Gagne pitched the ninth for his 21st straight save and 13th this season.
Pavano and Dreifort, both of whose careers have been interrupted by elbow surgery, matched zeros through four innings before the Marlins broke through in the fifth.
Alex Gonzalez beat out an infield single and was forced at second on Pavano’s attempted sacrifice bunt to Dreifort. But Pavano advanced to second on a groundout and scored with Luis Castillo grounded a 3-2 pitch through the middle for an RBI single.
The Marlins got only one other runner as far as third base. Juan Pierre led off the third with a single, stole second and continued to third when Lo Duca’s throw bounced past second baseman Alex Cora. The error was Lo Duca’s eighth in 36 games—as many as he had in 137 games last season.
Green, who doubled in the first, was the Dodgers’ only baserunner until Brian Jordan led off the fifth with an infield single. One out later, Pavano hit Cora with an 0-2 pitch before retiring Cesar Izturis on a flyout andstriking out Dreifort.
Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said after the game that Roberts’ troublesome right hamstring tightened up again, and that he would miss the next two games. … Dreifort has pitched at least six innings and allowed no more than three earned runs in six of his eight starts. … Each of Dreifort’s last six starts against the Marlins have been at Dodger Stadium, including a seven-hit shutout on Aug. 18, 1999. … Pierre’s 18th stolen base tied Roberts for the major league lead. Castillo, who led the majors last year with 48 steals, got his 11th of the season. … The Marlins, who led the majors last season with a club-record 177 stolen bases, have 66 steals in 85 attempts. … Pavano has allowed one home run in 38 1-3 innings over his last six starts, after surrendering five in his previous two. … Green was 2-for-3 against Pavano,and is 7-for-12 lifetime against him.