Dodgers 2, Diamondbacks 1
Hendrickson used his 6-foot-9 frame to its fullest advantage, allowing three hits and no runs over six-plus innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 2-1 victory Wednesday.
“It plays into it,” said Hendrickson, selected in six separate baseball drafts from 1992-97 while playing for four NBA teams. “I mean, everybody in the big leagues has got some quirk or advantage that allows them to be effective. For some guys, it’s an explosive fastball. For others, it may be just deception. For me, it’s my height, so I have to use that to my advantage.”
Hendrickson (2-0) struck out seven, walked one and allowed only one runner as far as second base.
“He located his pitches really well and mixed them up,” Arizona’s Chris Young said. “And with him being so tall, his ball gets up on you a little bit— even if he’s throwing 86 (mph).”
The Dodgers’ left-hander, removed after giving up Orlando Hudson’s leadoff single in the seventh, has allowed just two earned runs over 16 2-3 innings in three starts since Jason Schmidt went on the disabled list with bursitis in his shoulder.
“There’s no pressure. For me, it’s just a matter of going out there and doing what I can do,” Hendrickson said after his 123rd big league start and 14th with the Dodgers.
“My mind-set was preparing to be a starter. Obviously, with the acquisitions of Jason and Randy Wolf, I knew going into spring training that we already had a lot of starters. But throughout the course of the season, you’re going to need guys to step up in different roles for the team to be successful and accomplish what we want to accomplish.”
Young’s costly error in center field in the sixth led to an RBI single by Juan Pierre that snapped a scoreless duel between Hendrickson and Arizona lefty Doug Davis (2-3). Andre Ethier also singled home a run on the first anniversary of his major league debut.
Davis was charged with an unearned run and five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked three. It was the fifth time in six starts this season that he has allowed fewer than three earned runs, but he is 1-3 with a no-decision in those outings.
“That’s just the way the game is,” Davis said. “If you let things like that bother you, this game will crush you and you’ll end up coming to the park in a bad mood. You’ve got to remember that you’re playing baseball. You’re playing a game.”
The Dodgers broke through in the sixth after a slicing flyball by Rafael Furcal glanced off Young’s glove on the warning track. Pierre drove in Furcal with a single, giving him 10 hits in 22 career at-bats against Davis.
“It’s definitely a ball I should have caught,” Young said. “I don’t like to make excuses, but when you play day games in L.A., it’s a little tough to read the ball off the bat because of the glare off the (yellow) seats. I had to change my angle and almost tripped myself up. It took off on me a little bit and hit the heel of my glove.”
The run ended a stretch of 28 innings in which the Dodgers had scored only four times. Two of those runs came in the team’s final at-bat—on Sunday in a 17-inning win at San Diego, and Tuesday night in a 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks. They left the bases loaded five times during this three-game series.
Davis has yet to allow an earned run against the Dodgers in 22 innings spanning three starts. Last September, the left-hander retired his last 16 batters in a four-hitter at Milwaukee—getting six RBIs from Corey Hart in a 9-0 victory.
Davis threw six scoreless innings in a 4-1 win at Dodger Stadium on June 1, 2004, pitching on three days’ rest because Brewers teammate Ben Sheets had a viral infection that affected his inner ear.
Hudson was 1-for-3 and has reached base in each of the Diamondbacks’ 29 games. The only players in franchise history who have had longer streaks in one season are Jay Bell (40) and current Dodger Luis Gonzalez (35).
Arizona SS Stephen Drew was 1-for-13 in the series and struck out eight times, raising his team-high total to 19. … Tsao has not allowed a run in 10 2-3 innings this season, and opponents have one hit in 31 at-bats against the right-hander. … Diamondbacks 3B Chad Tracy sat out because of a sore muscle in his back. … Brian Barden played 3B for the Diamondbacks after getting recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Tucson. It was the first big league start for the Oregon State product, who went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts before Miguel Montero pinch-hit for him in the eighth. … Arizona optioned LHP Dana Eveland to Tucson.