LOS ANGELES (AP)—Ryan Church(notes) had the last laugh on the heckling fans at Dodger Stadium, who remembered the mistake he made earlier this season when he missed third base while with the New York Mets.
He touched them all this time and sent the Dodgers to a loss.
Church’s three-run homer capped Atlanta’s four-run 12th inning, and the Braves beat Los Angeles 9-5 on Friday night in a game that lasted 4 hours, 20 minutes.
“There were still some people out there hazing me in the outfield saying, ‘Hey, you’re going to miss third base again.’ But that’s cool,” Church said. “When you’re out there you’re going to have people rooting against you. It’s part of the game. But it does feel good to be able to deliver a devastating blow like that.”
Garret Anderson(notes) drove in the tying run with a ninth-inning single against All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton(notes) and scored the go-ahead run on Yunel Escobar’s(notes) single, which raised his average with runners in scoring position to .419.
“He hits the ball. He’s a line drive gapper. Guys like that are going to drive in runs,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “It’s pretty good coming back from three runs down.”
Ramon Troncoso(notes) (4-1) gave up one-out singles in the 12th to Anderson and Brian McCann(notes) before rookie Scott Elbert(notes) struck out Adam LaRoche(notes). But Escobar lined the rookie’s 3-1 pitch to right-center. The hit came hours after Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Elbert would make his first big league start on Sunday.
Two pitches later, Church hit his fourth homer.
“It was also great to see Escobar come up with a clutch hit in the last inning. That took a lot of the pressure off me,” Church said.
Broxton failed to protect a 5-4 lead for Chad Billingsley(notes), resulting in his fourth blown save in 28 attempts this season and first in 13 home chances. Nate McLouth(notes) walked with one out, stole his 17th base and scored with two out when Anderson lined a single.
“That’s what he does,” Church said. “He’s a professional hitter.”
The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the 11th when pinch-hitter Tony Abreu(notes) grounded out against Peter Moylan(notes) (4-2) after an intentional walk to Andre Ethier(notes), who won Thursday’s series opener with a three-run homer in the ninth off Braves closer Rafael Soriano(notes).
Billingsley allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. He left after 78 pitches because of a mild left hamstring strain, which occurred on a single in the sixth.
Hong-Chih Kuo(notes) inherited a 5-2 lead from Billingsley. He gave up a walk and then yielded a home run to Kelly Johnson(notes), his seventh. Kuo faced pinch-hitter Matt Diaz(notes), whose bid for a tying homer was caught near the top of the fence by center fielder Matt Kemp(notes) on a leaping effort.
“Unfortunately we lost Billingsley and gave two runs back. It was just one of those unfortunate games,” Torre said.
Cox was ejected for the fifth time this season and 148th time in his career, extending his major league record. This one occurred in the fifth inning after a walk to Ethier put runners at first and second with none out.
Home plate umpire Eric Cooper made a motion with his right hand as McCann came out of his crouch to throw to second—where Rafael Furcal(notes) initially was called out on a stolen base attempt. But when Ethier was awarded first base, Cox came out and argued—claiming Cooper was about to call a strike.
“I don’t know what he was trying to tell me,” Cox said. “These guys are scrutinized so much that you hate to say anything. They have supervisors. They have Ques-Tec. They have the computer box and all of that stuff. I don’t know. I’ve never seen that before. It was a strike. That’s what was crazy about the whole thing.”
The score was 2-2 when Cox was ejected. Braves starter Jair Jurrjens(notes) threw a called third strike to the next batter, Manny Ramirez(notes), but Blake drove the next pitch into the left field pavilion for his 13th homer and first since July 5. It ended a drought of 101 at-bats.
Pitching coach Roger McDowell removed Jurrjens, who had a few choice words for Cooper and was ejected. The right-hander was charged with five runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings.
“I was just swinging and took a little bit of an awkward swing,” the All-Star third baseman said. “I felt a pull and a bad burn in my side. This one hurt pretty bad. It took the breath right out of me. It spasmed up on me while I was in here icing.
“Right now I’m day-to-day, but I’d say I’m doubtful for the next two days.”
NOTES: Anderson has three hits in four career at-bats against Broxton. … The Braves have allowed the fewest home runs in the majors (77), and the Dodgers the second-fewest (83). … Russell Martin’s(notes) 58th career stolen base put him within one of Johnny Roseboro’s franchise record for catchers. … Dodgers RHP Jason Schmidt(notes) was placed him on the disabled list because of problems with the surgically repaired shoulder that sidelined him for the 2008 season.