Dodgers 6, Marlins 1
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Wilson Alvarez ranked the bases-loaded, no-out jam he escaped against the Florida Marlins right up there on his list of baseball accomplishments with the no-hitter he threw 13 years ago.
The 34-year-old left-hander won his fourth straight decision by pitching seven strong innings, and Steve Finley and Adrian Beltre each homered and drove in a pair of runs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Marlins 6-1 Tuesday night.
“When I got the first two outs, the fans were standing up and started cheering, and it was great,” Alvarez said. “It’s something that’s going to be in my mind for the rest of my life.”
The Marlins loaded the bases in the sixth without getting a ball out of the infield. Mike Lowell reached on a dribbler up the third-base line, Beltre was charged with an error on a smash behind third, and then got a late start charging a bunt single by Juan Encarnacion.
“It’s tough,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said. “If you put the ball in play, you could have gotten two runs out of that. But give Alvarez credit. … He just knuckled down and said, `Hey, I’m better than you are. I’m going to get you out. You’re not going to hurt me. I’m not going to make a mistake.’ “
Easley is 2-for-42 as a pinch-hitter in his career, despite his two-run double in the 10th inning of Sunday’s 5-3 win at Milwaukee.
“He’s a different kind of pitcher now,” Easley said of Alvarez. “He was a little more power when I used to face him in the American League, and now it looks like he’s topping out at about 87, according to the gun. Tonight he was throwing strikes with every one of his pitches. He was a good pitcher before, but now it seems like he’s stepped it up another notch.”
Alvarez (7-3), facing A.J. Burnett in a matchup of pitchers who have thrown no-hitters, allowed an unearned run and six hits while striking out six and walking one.
Alvarez, who started the season in the bullpen, is 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 12 starts. He has been an invaluable fill-in for the NL West leaders while Hideo Nomo, Odalis Perez, Edwin Jackson and newly acquired Brad Penny have taken turns on the disabled list.
Leading 3-0 in the fifth, the Dodgers gave away a run on a throwing error by second baseman Alex Cora.
Cora took the throw at first base from Alvarez on a sacrifice bunt by Burnett that advanced Gonzalez to second. But in his haste to trap Gonzalez off the bag as he made the turn, Cora threw past shortstop Cesar Izturis and Gonzalez scored easily.
Burnett (3-6) allowed three runs, four hits and two walks over six innings and struck out nine. He is 0-6 in seven road starts this season and 0-8 in 11 road outings since beating Montreal on July 27, 2002.
The Dodgers made it 5-1 in the seventh against Rudy Seanez with a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Jason Grabowski, a triple by Izturis and a double by Finley—who tried to score on Milton Bradley’s single to right and was cut down by Encarnacion’s throw to Paul Lo Duca.
Beltre ended the scoring in the eighth against Billy Koch with his 34th homer, a career high.
The Dodgers opened the scoring with a pair of first-inning runs. Finley drove a 3-2 pitch into the right-field pavilion for his 25th homer, and Choi drove in Beltre with a broken-bat single after a pair of two-out walks. The RBI was Choi’s 44th this season and fourth with Los Angeles.
The Dodgers leaders extended the margin to 3-0 in the third with doubles by Finley and Beltre. Finley is 5-for-11 against Burnett with two home runs. In 14 games since the Dodgers obtained him from the Arizona Diamondbacks, he is 19-for-42 with two homers and 10 RBIs.
“I struggled a little bit in July, plus everything I hit was right at somebody and I caught no breaks. But now I’m swinging the bat better and the balls are falling in,” Finley said. “If I caught Burnett in July, I probably would have gone 0-for-4.”
Alvarez pitched his no-hitter for the Chicago White Sox in 1991. Burnett got his with the Marlins in 2001. … Dodgers RHP Darren Dreifort, who was booed after giving up a pair of tiebreaking runs in Monday night’s loss, had an MRI exam that revealed a sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He faces season-ending surgery.