Loney gives LA 3-2 win with RBI single in 10th
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Matt Kemp(notes), who was robbed of a grand slam by Washington right fielder Michael Morse(notes) earlier in the game, was on-deck in the 10th inning thinking about how he could get his revenge. James Loney(notes) never gave him the chance.
Loney singled home the winning run after the Nationals got an out using a five-man infield, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the pesky Nationals 3-2 on Saturday night.
“It’s nice to get a spark on the left side of the ledger,” manager Joe Torre said. “We need some wins. We certainly needed to win this one tonight. Hopefully, we can win a series tomorrow. We just need to put a streak together. We know we’re certainly capable of winning five, six, seven in a row.”
Sean Burnett(notes) (0-6) came on in the 10th and gave up a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard(notes), who took third on Scott Podsednik’s(notes) single to right-center. Manager Jim Riggleman then went to the mound and motioned Morse in from right field. Morse fielded Ryan Theriot’s(notes) chopper over the mound, held Belliard at third and got the out at first.
“You’re still between a rock and a hard place, because you’ve still got to face Loney and Ethier. And both of them are good hitters,” Riggleman said.
“I just felt like if we loaded the bases, we could try for a double play,” Riggleman said. “Loney doesn’t run quite as well, so we thought maybe we could get him to hit one on the ground and either throw home or turn two up the middle. But then Sean threw ball one and had to come back with a better strike— and Loney didn’t let him get away with it.”
Jonathan Broxton(notes) (4-3) earned the victory with his second two-inning stint this season. The Dodgers’ All-Star closer stranded two runners in the top of the 10th by striking out Ryan Zimmerman(notes), who hit a two-run homer in the first inning.
Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda(notes), who has only one victory in his last seven starts, allowed two runs and just three hits over seven innings and struck out eight. He retired his final 17 batters before manager Joe Torre lifted him for a pinch-hitter.
“The fun part about catching him is that he’s got so many weapons,” Brad Ausmus(notes) said. “He’s got a four-seamer at 95 (mph), a two-seamer at 92,-93, he’s got a cutter and a slider and a split, all major league caliber quality, and the slider and split are strikeout-type pitches. So it’s easy to sit on your haunches and just throw down fingers.”
Hernandez allowed two runs—one earned—and five hits over seven innings in his 32nd career start against the Dodgers. The 35-year-old right-hander was tagged for eight earned runs in each of his two starts against Los Angeles last season, both at Washington.
“He’s remarkable, and he’s been this way for a number of years now,” Ausmus said. “No two pitches are the same. He changes the speed and the break on both of his breaking balls and he makes you reach for pitches you don’t want to swing at. And he’s a horse. He can throw 120 pitches every outing if you asked him to, and that’s pretty impressive.”
Hernandez retired his first 10 batters before the Dodgers loaded the bases with a single by Theriot, a double by Ethier and a walk to Loney. Kemp, whose three grand slams last season tied a franchise record, nearly had another one. Morse forcing Kemp to settle for a sacrifice fly, however, with his leaping grab above the auxiliary scoreboard.
But the play didn’t end there. Second baseman Adam Kennedy(notes) got the one-hop relay from Morse and thought he could double up Loney at first. But the person at the bag that Kennedy thought was Dunn was actually Kemp, who calmly stepped aside in foul territory as Kennedy’s throw went toward the stands and allowed Ethier to score the tying run.
“It’s a play where there’s basically two cutoff men,” Dunn said. “In case (Morse) overthrows Adam, I’ve got to be back there. If I would have seen Loney was that far off, I would have gone to the bag and we would have had him. But I was watching the throw. It was just one of those weird freak plays that cost of the game.”
For the second straight night, the Nationals opened the scoring with a home run in the first inning. This time, it was a two-run shot by Zimmerman after a leadoff walk to Bernadina.
NOTES: Kuroda was the third pitcher in the Dodgers’ last five games to retire 14 or more consecutive batters. Ted Lilly(notes) set down his final 20 during a seven-inning outing last Tuesday against San Diego in his Dodgers debut, and Vicente Padilla(notes) retired 14 straight Padres the following night en route to a two-hit shutout. … Nationals RHP J.D. Martin(notes) is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair a bulging disc in his lower back. … Hernandez has not allowed a home run in 55 1-3 innings since giving up a solo shot to Baltimore’s Adam Jones(notes) on June 26 at Camden Yards. The last time an NL batter took him over the fence was May 19, when the Mets’ Angel Pagan(notes) took him deep with the bases empty at Washington. … The Nationals are 1-8 in extra-inning games.