Marlins 6, Dodgers 4
Lo Duca pinch-hit and drew a key walk with two outs in the ninth inning, then pinch-hitter Lenny Harris followed with a three-run double off Gagne to rally the Florida Marlins past the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Wednesday night.
Lo Duca, who said earlier this week that he would moonwalk home if he ever homered off Gagne, slid in safely at the plate, then joyfully gave high-fives to his Marlins teammates after scoring their sixth run.
“When I got to first base, he smiled at me,” said Lo Duca, the longtime Dodgers catcher who was traded to Florida on July 30. “But that was a battle.”
Gagne, last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner, blew a save for just the second time in 100 chances dating to Aug. 26, 2002.
With most of the crowd of 46,241 standing to watch the showdown between the former teammates, Lo Duca ran the count to 3-2 before Gagne’s next pitch was high.
“That’s as fun as it’s going to get,” Lo Duca said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the game, and to draw a walk off him is a triumph for me.
“I’ll remember that at-bat for a long time. I caught him for so long, so I know how nasty he is. What happened tonight isn’t going to happen again for a very long time.”
Gagne left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.
Miguel Cabrera began the rally with a one-out double, Mike Lowell singled and Jeff Conine followed with an RBI single. Gagne (4-2) got Juan Encarnacion on a popup before losing the matchup with Lo Duca.
Harris, who holds the major league record with 190 career pinch-hits, followed with a liner into right-center.
“That’s one I’m never going to forget, off a pitcher like him,” Harris said. “But that’s what I do. I come off the bench and face the best guys out of the ‘pen.
“But, hey, I’m not all-time for nothing.”
Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy gave credit to the Marlins.
“Lo Duca was able to work the walk, and they go to a guy who’s made a living as a pinch-hitter,” Tracy said.
Guillermo Mota, also sent to Florida in the July 30 trade, pitched one inning for his first win with the Marlins. Mota (9-5) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth.
“It’s very eerie—and Mota gets the win, too,” Lo Duca said. “I never thought I’d be in this position in the first place. It’s unbelievable.”
Armando Benitez worked a perfect ninth for his 36th save in 39 chances.
Gagne’s other blown save in 37 chances this season came against Arizona on July 5, when he also failed to protect a two-run lead. That ended his streak of 84 consecutive saves, a major league record.
“He is not perfect, he’s human. It was just one of those tough nights,” said Odalis Perez, who held the Marlins to one earned run through eight innings and left with a 4-2 lead.
The no-decision was Perez’s 13th of the season.
Shawn Green hit a solo homer in the second inning, and Steve Finley and Milton Bradley hit consecutive solo shots off Ismael Valdez in the third to help the Dodgers take a 4-0 lead. Perez singled home Los Angeles’ fourth run after Brent Mayne was walked intentionally in the fourth inning.
The consecutive home runs by the Dodgers were the 12th time they’ve done it this year, including Jose Hernandez and David Ross a week earlier at Cincinnati. … Valdez has a 3.24 ERA in two starts since he was acquired in a trade with San Diego two weeks ago. … Despite losing RHP Darren Dreifort to injury, Tracy said the Dodgers were not interested in signing RHP Rod Beck, who was released Tuesday by San Diego. … The Dodgers’ four runs were above average for the feeble support they’ve been giving Perez this year—an average of 3.35 runs per game.