Dodgers 5, Marlins 3
Little didn’t mind Tomko losing the no-hitter, but he wanted his right-hander to win the game.
“I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball decent this season; I’ve just been coming up short,” said Tomko (1-3). “So it’s nice to get that first one on the board.”
Tomko allowed five hits and three runs in 6 2-3 innings. He also bunted home a run on a suicide squeeze to help Los Angeles build a 4-0 lead.
“For a pitcher to get his first win, a lot of times it’s like a hitter getting his first hit of the season,” Little said. “It’s good to get it out of the way, because it could be something that would be on his mind more than it should.”
The Marlins began the game leading the NL in runs, but for the second time in four nights they were no-hit for 5 1-3 innings. When Hanley Ramirez reached on a broken-bat infield single, Little paid Tomko a visit.
“I just wanted him to turn the page,” Little said. “It was a precautionary deal.”
Tomko understood the manager’s point.
“A guy got a hit,” he said. “You move on.”
Ramirez stole second and scored on a single by Dan Uggla, and Miguel Cabrera also singled. But Tomko regrouped to strike out Josh Willingham and Aaron Boone, then walked off the mound pumping his fist.
“Just a little bit of adrenaline and excitement,” Tomko said. “It’s a big situation.”
Willis (5-2) failed for the second time in his bid to become the NL’s first six-game winner. He allowed four runs in seven innings and walked five.
“We did a good job of laying off pitches,” Little said. “We haven’t always been accused of doing that.”
Willis fell to 1-5 against the Dodgers with an ERA of 7.11.
“I have no idea why,” he said. “I felt I threw the ball well enough to win the game.”
Wilson Valdez had two bunt singles, the second coming with two outs to drive in the Dodgers’ final run in the ninth.
“My first couple of at-bats, I didn’t feel that good,” Valdez said. “I felt lost at home plate. I said, `I have to do something for the team.’ I concentrated and made two perfect bunts.”
Los Angeles won despite stranding 13 runners and leaving the bases loaded three times. Takashi Saito pitched the ninth for his 10th save, converting his 20th consecutive save opportunity over the past two seasons.
With the victory, Tomko improved to 7-1 against Florida with an ERA of 3.10.
“We just didn’t get a lot of real good pitches to hit and drive,” Boone said. “He was better than us tonight.”
Mike Jacobs, held out of the starting lineup for the second night in a row because of a sore right thumb, hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh to cut Los Angeles’s lead to 4-3. But Jonathan Broxton and Saito shut out Florida over the final 2 1-3 innings.
Willis retired the game’s first two batters on four pitches but needed 28 more to get the third out. Russell Martin singled, and Willis then walked three in a row, with Andy LaRoche forcing in a run. Valdez fouled out to end the inning.
The Dodgers added two runs in the fourth. LaRoche and Brady Clark singled, and with runners at the corners, Tomko laid down a squeeze bunt on the first pitch.
“That’s a good play,” Willis said. “I can’t do anything about that.”
Rafael Furcal followed with an RBI double for a 3-0 lead. Saenz’s homer in the fifth made it 4-0.
Jacobs’ pinch-hit homer was the second of his career. The other came Aug. 21, 2005, in his first major league at-bat. … Tomko, who came into the game 0-for-10 this year, sacrificed twice and walked for the first time. … The Dodgers’ Russell Martin went 2-for-5 batting third for the first time in his career.