Loney homers, Wells pitches Dodgers to 8-3 win over Giants
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The last time the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted archrival San Francisco back in mid-July, the Giants arrived at Chavez Ravine amid considerably more fanfare.
Barry Bonds had come to town needing one home run to tie Hank Aaron’s career record, and the Dodgers were within a game of the NL West lead. Friday night, however, both teams continued playing out the final strains—and sprains—of a forgettable season.
The Dodgers—a playoff team last season—avoided their second losing season in three years with an 8-3 victory. David Wells capped off his splintered season with a victory and singled home a run, James Loney continued his torrid month of September with another homer.
The Giants are about to go home with their worst record since 1996, the last time they finished in the NL West cellar. This will be only the second time since divisional play began in 1969 that these storied rivals will finish on the bottom two rungs of the NL West ladder. It also happened in 1992, when San Francisco and Los Angeles were fifth and sixth, respectively.
“It’s disappointing in all aspects—for both organizations,” Giants outfielder Dave Roberts said. “I mean, you look at the schedule before the season, and you figure that these three games are going to have some type of impact. But as it stands now, it doesn’t. In my opinion, the NL West is the toughest division in baseball, top to bottom.”
Wells (9-9) allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings with three strikeouts and a walk. The three-time All-Star completed his 21st big league season with a career-worst 5.43 ERA. But he was 4-1 in seven starts with the Dodgers, who signed him as a free agent two weeks after he was designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres.
When asked if he may have pitched his final game in the big leagues, Wells said: “It could be, you never know. I’m just going to hopefully entertain some offers in the offseason—if there are any. If not, I can enjoy hunting and surfing and hanging out with the kids.
“I wouldn’t mind coming back here,” the 44-year-old left-hander emphasized. “But I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t play next year. It’s just nice to go out with a win. It shows I’ve still got a little bit of life and something left in the tank.”
Wells’ 239th career victory put him alone in 13th place among lefties, surpassing Hall of Famer and fellow ex-Yankee Whitey Ford.
Kevin Correia (4-7) allowed five runs and six hits in six innings, striking out five and walking one. The right-hander retired his final 11 batters after Loney’s home run.
“I threw a bad curve ball and it got hit out,” Correia said. “I felt good right from the get-go, but they jumped on a couple of pitches and got a few hits. It seemed like they were on to what I was doing right off the bat.”
The Dodgers got RBI doubles from Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche in the first and an RBI single by Wells in the second to take a 3-2 lead. Wells advanced two bases on Juan Pierre’s single and scored the Dodgers’ fourth run on a sacrifice fly by Wilson Valdez.
On the one-year anniversary of his nine-RBI game against Colorado, Loney hit his 15th homer into the right field bullpen on an 0-2 pitch to extend the Dodgers’ margin to 5-2 in the third. The rookie first baseman is hitting .402 in September with nine homers and 32 RBIs, the most in the majors.
Barry Bonds, who wanted his final home game with the Giants on Wednesday to be his swan song with the team he spent the past 15 years with, joined his teammates for the start of their final series together.
“It’ll be strange seeing him in a different uniform, but he’ll always be Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants,” said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who was an assistant general manager in San Francisco for 11 seasons. “I was in San Francisco for some of his greatest years and it was an amazing time. It was storybook stuff.”
During batting practice, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that if Randy Winn was able to raise his average from .298 to .300 during the game, he would sit Winn out the rest of the series to protect his average. But he didn’t, going 1-for-4. … Wells made 29 starts this season—only the second time in the last 11 seasons that the three-time All-Star didn’t start at least 30.