Bradley answered Adam LaRoche’s eighth-inning grand slam off Weaver with one of his own in the bottom half, and the Dodgers pulled out a 7-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night in a matchup of first-place teams.
“To be able to come through, pick Weaver up and pick everybody up, it’s a momentum builder,” said Bradley, who homered from both sides of the plate. “I’d have taken a three-run homer—whatever was going to give us the lead. I just wanted to win.”
The right-hander caught Marcus Giles looking at a 3-2 breaking ball, but walked Chipper Jones before LaRoche drove Weaver’s 119th and final pitch an estimated 436 feet into the pavilion in right-center for his fifth homer and the first grand slam against the Dodgers this season.
Weaver brushed off reporters, saying, “Go talk to the skipper.” But his mood changed considerably when Bradley walked into the clubhouse. He welcomed his teammate with a high-five and a bear hug before leaving the stadium without any further comment.
LaRoche’s four RBIs tied his career high, but the first baseman’s indecision helped the Dodgers load the bases in the eighth against Chris Reitsma (1-1). Cesar Izturis and pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee singled with one out and J.D. Drew followed with a grounder to LaRoche, who wasted a second thinking about a force at second and was beaten to the bag by the hustling Drew.
“Ten out of 10 times I catch that ball and go to second,” LaRoche said. “That’s the reason I sit back on those groundballs, so I can give myself an angle to clear the runner. I turned and had plenty of time, as far as him getting to second, but he had bailed way out of the base line. And when I turned to throw, all I saw was Ledee’s back, so I had to change my thinking.”
Jeff Kent flied to short left, but Bradley drove a 3-1 pitch inside the right field pole for his second homer of the game, his 10th of the season and his third career slam. His five RBIs tied a career high.
“You’ve got to J.D. credit for hustling down the line,” Bradley added. “He’s been struggling a little bit offensively, but he never stopped. You play for 27 outs. And when you do that, things like this can happen.”
Hee-Seop Choi capped the inning with an RBI single off John Foster.
Giovanni Carrara (4-0) got the victory, striking out his only batter, Andruw Jones, to end the eighth. Yhency Brazoban, in his final outing as closer before Eric Gagne returns from the disabled list on Saturday, got three outs for his 11th save in 12 attempts.
Braves starter Horacio Ramirez allowed two runs and seven hits in his first career appearance against the Dodgers. He held Houston to three hits over seven scoreless innings in a 4-1 victory a week earlier in Atlanta.
Jason Phillips led off the Dodgers’ third with a single and scored the game’s first run from third on a groundout by Isturis. Bradley made it 2-0 in the fourth, driving a 1-0 pitch into the left field pavilion.
Bradley joined Hall of Famer Eddie Murray as the only Dodgers to homer from both sides more than once.
“Eddie Murray’s my mentor,” Bradley said. “He was my hitting coach in Cleveland and he always told me, `You’re going to hit, and hit with some power.’ Eddie always told me to keep the bat more on my fingers instead of getting my hands wrapped up around it too much, and I’ll be able to hit some home runs. That’s what I’ve been doing. Thanks, Eddie.”
Weaver struck out seven and walked two in his 200th major league game. He retired his first 11 batters before walking Jones on a 3-2 pitch, then set down another five straight until Ramirez broke up the no-hit bid with a one-out double to the wall in left-center.
The last time Weaver faced the Braves on Aug. 21 at Dodger Stadium, he hit three consecutive batters in the first inning to tie a major league record, but came out with a 7-4 victory.
The Dodgers have decided to wait a day before activating Gagne, who threw 21 pitches Thursday in his third rehab outing for Triple-A Las Vegas. Gagne has appealed his two-game suspension and will be eligible to pitch in the final two games of the series. … The Dodger Stadium sellout crowd of 53,689 witnessed increased security—including the addition of uniformed police presence on a regular basis—in the wake of the unruly fan behavior during the previous homestand. … Andruw Jones had three hitless at-bats against Weaver and is 0-for-13 lifetime against him.