Dodgers 2, White Sox 1
But the news that injury-plagued right-hander Darren Dreifort will have to undergo season-ending surgery on his right knee took all the joy out of Friday night’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“It’s hard. He’s been through so much and he’s worked so hard to get back to where he’s at right now,” Dodgers closer Eric Gagne said. “He’s been throwing with pain the last three of four years. It can’t be much fun playing baseball hurt all the time, so hopefully he can just get it right and come back at 100 percent.”
Lo Duca hit a tiebreaking single and Brian Jordan homered to help back Ishii (5-2), who allowed one run and four hits over seven innings and struck out nine. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in his last 11 starts.
Gagne, the fifth Dodgers pitcher, got three straight outs for his 29th consecutive save and 21st this season, finishing the four-hitter.
The Dodgers were hoping for healthy comebacks from Dreifort and Kevin Brown to contend for their first postseason berth since 1996. Brown is 8-1 with a 2.06 ERA, and Dreifort is 4-4 with a 4.03 ERA before this latest setback.
“It’s just frustrating to be shutting it down again, and it’s not even midseason,” said Dreifort, in the third year of a five-year, $55 million contract. “I felt like I had a good thing going early on this season. The promising thing is that I know what I can do. It’s just a matter of getting this thing fixed and getting back out there.”
Dreifort, 31, was examined by Dr. Ralph Gambardella, who diagnosed the right-hander’s condition as a weak medial collateral ligament. The surgery, which will take place either June 17 or 18 requires a six-month recovery period. The operation will be performed by Gambardella and Dr. Frank Jobe, who performed a second “Tommy John” surgery on Dreifort last in July 2001.
Dreifort’s elbow problems have cost him two entire seasons. It appeared he was going to return last summer, but he injured his knee during his rehabilitation and had to have arthroscopic surgery.
“It’s tough for a lot of people in this clubhouse,” batterymate Paul Lo Duca said. “To lose somebody like Dreif, you can’t put it into words— especially because of how he was pitching and how hard the guy works. It’s a tough loss, not only as your teammate, but as a friend.”
The White Sox played the Dodgers in meaningful game for the first time since the 1959 World Series. The loss was the sixth in seven games for Chicago.
Mark Buehrle (2-9) lost his eighth straight decision, the worst skid for a White Sox pitcher since Jim Parque dropped nine straight in 1999. Buehrle, Chicago’s opening-day starter, is winless in nine starts since April 10 at Cleveland. He allowed both runs and four hits in six innings, tying a season high with six strikeouts.
“He should have won the last three ballgames that he pitched, but we haven’t given him much run support.” Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said. “We just haven’t hit. It doesn’t really matter who we face lately.”
Jordan’s homer tied it in the second. Cesar Izturis was retired in a rundown between third base and home in the third inning after Dave Roberts hit a tapper back to Buehrle, but Roberts hustled to second on the play and scored the go-ahead run on Lo Duca’s single to center.
Buehrle retired the next 10 batters before coming out for a pinch-hitter.
Fernando Valenzuela, who began his new career as a member of the Dodgers’ Spanish broadcast team on Friday, threw a ceremonial first pitch with his familiar windup—looking toward the sky before making his delivery. … The last time the White Sox played at Dodger Stadium was 1965, which was the Los Angeles Angels’ fourth and final season at Chavez Ravine before moving to Anaheim. … Chicago 3B Joe Crede, in an 0-for-22 slide that included nine strikeouts, singled twice. … Dodgers OF Daryle Ward, whose father Gary was fired by the White Sox as hitting coach on May 18, is on the DL with tendinitis in his right wrist. … Lo Duca’s hitting streak is the longest by a Dodgersince a 17-game run by Adrian Beltre late in 2001.