LOS ANGELES (AP)—Juan Pierre didn’t care how ugly his game-winning RBI was, as long as he got it.
“I’ll take my (RBIs) any way I can,” Pierre said with a grin. “If I have to dive over home plate to get hit, I’ll do it.”
Angel Guzman (0-1), working his third inning of relief, opened the 11th with walks to Ramon Martinez and Wilson Betemit. Martinez advanced to third on a delayed steal before Carlos Marmol replaced Guzman with a 1-0 count on Rafael Furcal. Marmol walked Furcal intentionally to set up a force at home, but the right-hander’s 2-2 pitch bounced and struck Pierre on the left knee.
Plate umpire Dana DeMuth awarded Pierre first base and Martinez trotted home. Cubs manager Lou Piniella came out to argue, claiming that Pierre swung at the pitch.
“When I touched first base, nobody knew whether or not to celebrate,” Pierre said. “Everybody was still in shock over what happened. It’s definitely one of the weirdest endings I’ve ever seen. We can laugh about it now, but those are games we’ve got to have.”
Michael Wuertz was about to start his second inning of relief for the Cubs when Ethier came up to bat for Andy LaRoche. Piniella countered with lefty Scott Eyre—who had allowed just one earned run over 13 2-3 innings in his previous 18 career appearances against Los Angeles.
Ethier drove Eyre’s 0-2 slider into the right field pavilion for his first career pinch-hit homer. It was the first time they had faced each other in a regular-season game.
“It’s tough when you’re put in to face a tough lefty like that,” Ethier said. “I was aggressive on the first two pitches and put two good swings on ‘em. Then I was in somewhat of a two-strike approach, so I saw the ball a little bit longer and was a little more contained with my swing. I guess that was the difference.”
Eyre pitched for the first time since May 20 because of a 7.53 ERA, and had spent the past week working on his mechanics with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
“We were working on his arm slot to try to get him back on top of the ball,” Rothschild said. “Sometimes he gets in a hurry and some of the pitches flatten out in the zone. It was a mistake, and he didn’t give himself a lot of margin for error. He’s a lot better pitcher than this, and we all know it.”
Left-handers Randy Wolf and Chicago’s Rich Hill each pitched six scoreless innings of three 3-hit ball before they were removed for pinch-hitters. Wolf escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, retiring Ryan Theriot on a groundout.
Catcher Russell Martin made the most acrobatic play of the afternoon, hanging onto a popup by Murton in the seventh inning after somersaulting over a 3-foot high chicken-wire fence near owner Dodger owner Frank McCourt’s private box.
“I was pretty close to him. But I landed on a woman who was like a fourth-degree black belt in Karate, so she was OK,” said Martin, who signed the ball for the woman after the game. “It was the first time I got to test that fence, and I held onto it. But that’s OK, as long as I didn’t crack my skull.”
The first four innings were played in a crisp 51 minutes. Wolf threw 57 pitches and Hill 41 during that stretch. … Hill had allowed 14 earned runs in 17 innings over his previous three starts and surrendered four home runs last Tuesday at San Diego. … Furcal extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single before he was picked off by Hill. … Martin, batting a league-leading .361 in night games, is only 8-for-47 in the daytime. He was 0-for-4 Sunday. … Wolf has allowed four earned runs in 26 innings over his last four starts.