Dodgers 13, Nationals 1
LOS ANGELES (AP)—When Washington manager Frank Robinson took Alfonso Soriano out of the game in the fifth inning for a pinch-hitter, the first thought on everyone’s mind was that the superstar had finally been traded.
But there would be no farewell handshakes in the dugout between Soriano and his teammates—at least not on Friday night. He was just taken out in a one-sided game.
J.D. Drew ended a 42-game home run drought with his third career grand slam and Cesar Izturis homered for the first time in exactly a year, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 13-1 rout of the Nationals.
The outburst was a welcome sight for the last-place Dodgers, who snapped an eight-game losing streak—their longest since a 10-game slide in June 1992. They had lost 13 of their previous 14 games and were outscored 81-29 during that stretch.
“We know we’re capable of scoring a lot of runs, and that’s been the disheartening thing about all this losing,” Drew said. “We’ve just come up against some tough pitching. But tonight was one of those situations where the guys came out and swung the bats early and put some runs on the board.”
Andre Ethier added a two-run homer and Chad Billingsley (2-3) coasted to his first victory at Dodger Stadium, allowing a run and four hits over six innings. The right-hander, who has a 2.35 ERA over his last four starts, struck out five and walked five.
“It feels good to get us a `W’ after the way we’ve been struggling since the All-Star break,” Billingsley said. “The offense came out great tonight coming off of a day off, and we really swung the bats well. The runs made it comfortable to pitch out there, but I still wanted to work on some things like getting ahead of the hitters and just attack the zone.”
After spotting the Nationals a 1-0 lead on Brian Schneider’s RBI single in the second inning, the Dodgers responded with four in the bottom half.
“That’s something you’re not going to think about,” Drew said. “You just keep trying to do the little things at the plate. And if you get the right mentality and you’re in the right focus, hopefully things pay off in the long run.”
Tony Armas Jr. (7-6) lasted only three innings, giving up six runs and seven hits in his third start since coming off the disabled list.
“He just wasn’t very good tonight, for whatever reason,” Robinson said. “He didn’t locate his pitches very well. There’s no excuse. You don’t look for excuses in this one. There are bare facts, right out in front of you.
“He has great stuff, but you just wonder why it is that he can’t consistently go out there and put that good stuff to use. He seems to want to throw, rather than pitch, and all he does is get himself in more and more trouble by doing that.”
The Nationals came into the game with a season-high six-game winning streak, so the trade talk surrounding Soriano hasn’t been a distraction to his teammates — or to him.
“I think at this point, it’s been going on for so long now that we’re getting kind of used to it,” Daryle Ward said. “I mean, if it doesn’t bother him, then it doesn’t bother us. He’s going out there and doing his job. He’s got a pretty good attitude about everything. He enjoys his teammates and he plays hard. He’s been great for us, and we would hate to see him go.”
Izturis increased the margin to 6-1 in the third with his first home run since July 28, 2005. Drew broke the game open in the fourth with his first grand slam since Sept, 3, 2003, driving a first-pitch fastball deep into the right field seats after reliever Roy Corcoran walked his first two batters and gave up a single to Kenny Lofton. It ended a drought of 168 plate appearances between homers for the right fielder, who hit a career-high 31 with Atlanta in 2004.
Los Angeles acquired 3B Wilson Betemit from Atlanta—on his 25th birthday—in exchange for RHP Danys Baez and IF Willy Aybar. Betemit’s agent told the team’s publicity department that his client was born in 1981, not 1980 as it is listed everywhere. … The Dodgers activated RHP Brett Tomko, who was sidelined since June 24 because of strained oblique muscle in his left side. Tomko will replace Baez in the bullpen. … Washington traded LHP Mike Stanton to San Francisco for 19-year-old RHP Shairon Martis. … Friday was the 15th anniversary of the only perfect game in the 38-year history of the Washington/Montreal franchise, when Dennis Martinez pitched the Expos to a 2-0 victory at Dodger Stadium.