Dodgers 7, Marlins 3
The Marlins held a team meeting that lasted more than an hour after they helped Los Angeles extend its winning streak to nine games Sunday. Baseball’s hottest team rallied in a six-run seventh inning that included three consecutive walks, two with the bases loaded, and won 7-3.
Los Angeles completed its first series sweep in Miami since May 19-21, 2000, prompting Marlins manager Joe Girardi to call the meeting. Clubhouse doors finally opened 1 hour, 23 minutes after the game.
Girardi said he was frustrated but not angry and didn’t raise his voice. Several players, including slugger Miguel Cabrera, also offered their thoughts during the session after the Marlins were outscored 23-7 in the series.
“With all the young players we have, you want to let them know once in a while, `You guys are good players,”’ Girardi said. “I thought guys were a little bit frustrated after today. I saw some heads down. We ran into a very hot club.”
The Dodgers swept their third series in a row to climb above .500 at 56-55. The winning streak, their longest of the season, began after the Dodgers lost 13 of 14 immediately following the All-Star break
“We had to flip the switch,” said Toby Hall, whose two-run double completed the scoring. “Now we’re trying to ride the wave. It’s fun.”
Los Angeles begins a 10-game homestand Monday in the thick of the NL West and wild-card races.
“The NL West is going to see a new-look Dodgers when we get back on the West Coast,” manager Grady Little said. “We’re going to go home and try to keep it going.”
Mark Hendrickson (1-4) left for a pinch-hitter trailing 3-1 but still earned his first win in seven starts since the Dodgers acquired him from Tampa Bay. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
“We’re pulling out games now,” Hendrickson said. “There’s confidence on this team that has grown compared to where we were a couple of weeks ago.”
The Marlins, hurt by two errors and a passed ball, fell to 3-19 when they commit more than one error. Scott Olsen (9-5) led entering the seventh but got only one more out and lost for the first time since June 28.
Florida, fading from the wild-card race, was swept for the first time since May 19-21 at Tampa Bay. But Olsen said the clubhouse meeting lifted spirits as the Marlins begin a nine-game trip.
“Team meetings are good for a lot of reasons,” the rookie said. “It builds a lot of team camaraderie to get everything out in the open. Hopefully on the coming road trip we’ll play better and pick it up a little bit.”
Marlins catcher Paul Hoover, making his first major league start since 2002, drove home a run with a squeeze bunt but also made a throwing error to give the Dodgers an unearned run. He left in the seventh inning with cramps.
Florida became generous again in the seventh. Ramon Martinez led off with an infield single and advanced on a passed ball. Rafael Furcal extended his hitting streak to 13 games by bunting for a hit, then stole second. Jason Repko walked to load the bases, ending Olsen’s outing after 109 pitches on a 90-degree afternoon.
Reliever Logan Kensing reached a 2-2 count against Julio Lugo but left the game with elbow soreness. Taylor Tankersley threw two balls to walk Lugo and force in a run, then walked Olmedo Saenz to tie the score at 3.
Wilson Betemit made it 5-3 with a two-out single, the first ball hit out of the infield in the inning. Hall’s double followed.
“We had a chance to win the game,” Girardi said. “We just didn’t make the pitches when we had to.”
Kensing is to undergo a precautionary MRI exam on his elbow but is expected to be sidelined only three to five days, Girardi said. … Martinez started in RF, his first appearance in the outfield since 2002. … Olsen needed 32 pitches to get through the second inning but escaped without allowing a run, striking out the side after loading the bases. … The Dodgers had not been over .500 since they were 46-45 before play on July 16.