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Hot Dodgers rally with four-run ninth

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers returned to Los Angeles from their wildly successful eight-game road trip at 3 a.m. Friday, a late flight from St. Louis wreaking havoc with their schedules.

Then they woke up and looked at the lineup card and at opposing starter David Price and wished they went back to sleep.

Only they awakened again late Friday night, just in time to swipe their 12th win in 15 games.

Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney threw away a potential inning-ending double play and Adrian Gonzalez scored easily to cap a four-run ninth inning in a 7-6 comeback win over the Rays at Dodger Stadium.

After the game, the Dodgers called it the best win of the season.

"Best win so far," right fielder Skip Schumaker said. "Lot of games to go, but this is one of the best comebacks I've been a part of. No doubt."

Facing pitch-perfect Price for seven innings and without Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers were dormant for much of the game.

Price allowed seven hits and one run in seven innings before giving way to four relievers who struggled as Los Angeles emerged. By the time Rodney strolled to the mound with a three-run lead, the Dodgers were the ones applying the pressure.

After Schumaker opened the ninth with a single and Dee Gordon followed with a strikeout, Los Angeles banged three straight extra-base hits -- a Mark Ellis RBI triple, a Nick Punto RBI double and an Adrian Gonzalez RBI double. Rodney intentionally walked Yasiel Puig and then induced what would have been a game-continuing groundout by Jerry Hairston Jr.

Rodney wheeled around and made an errant throw to second base - the Rays' second error of the game after nine straight errorless outings -- allowing Gonzalez to score and the Dodgers to move a season-high 15 games above .500.

"It was unbelievable, really; it just kind of happened so fast," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. "Mark's ball, then Nick hits first pitch, Adrian didn't waste any time. Jerry didn't either. It was like boom. These were just quick."

Four Dodgers finished with multiple hits, but Los Angeles stranded 13 base runners. Ellis led the Dodgers with three hits and Punto, Puig and Juan Uribe each added two.

"When you start to play well, everybody makes contributions," Mattingly said. "You see guys like Nick and (Schumaker), they're great teammates, always there, always working. Those are the guys you love to see do well. Those are guys who aren't just going to say it's over and give in."

Price said, "It's tough, but we all have the utmost confidence in our relievers. I still have the most confidence in the guys who come after me. That was a tough one, that's a hot team right now, and we weren't able to hold them down long enough."

The Rays picked up three early runs, aided by a Dodgers error, and tacked on three more runs before the Los Angeles lineup broke its slumber.

Tampa Bay scored three in the fifth inning on back-to-back singles by Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar, whose two-RBI knock scored Even Longoria and Wil Myers and gave Tampa Bay the six-run cushion.

Escobar paced Tampa Bay with three hits and three RBIs, but Myers, Ryan Roberts and former Dodger James Loney each had three hits and Loney added two RBIs.

Tampa Bay tagged Dodgers starter Chris Capuano for 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings and benefited from a costly error in the second inning.

After Myers singled to center, Zobrist got on base on a fielding error by Punto. Escobar singled home Myers and Loney followed with a two-RBI single that scored Zobrist and Escobar.

"Everybody knows we got in late, we knew we got in late coming off a good trip, but even with that, these guys still played," Mattingly said. "They came out to play. We feel like we can win every day. You're down 6-0 and you don't think you're going to win this game, but I love the fact our guys kept playing."

NOTES: Ramirez missed his fifth straight game with a jammed shoulder but hit in the batting cage on Friday for the second straight day. ... Tampa Bay recalled RHP Josh Lueke from Triple-A Durham for his third stint of the year. Lueke is 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 11 appearances in 2013. ... The Rays designated RHP Kyle Farnsworth for assignment to make room for Lueke. ... Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson made his second rehab appearance for Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday night with a seven-pitch, 1-2-3 inning after tossing a perfect inning for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday. ... Los Angeles OF Matt Kemp (sprained ankle) has resumed running and appears on track to return around the end of August. ... All three games in the series feature a Cy Young Award winner (Price, and Dodgers starters Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on Saturday and Sunday. ... Price's long streak without a walk is his second since the beginning of July. He also had a 27-inning streak without issuing a walk from July 2 to July 19.
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