Davis last start in Los Angeles was a 96-pitch work of art, blanking them over eight innings to earn a 1-0 win. Plus he had won seven of his last eight decisions.
But not this night.
This Dodger team, who's parking lot is filled alternately with Schwinn bicycles and wheelchairs, has seemingly survived an August from hell to somehow wedge their way back into the race, trailing San Diego and Philadelphia by 1 1/2 games in the Wild Card scramble.
The guys in the white hats fell behind three times, 1-0. 2-1 and 4-2, before battling back in a game they couldn't afford to lose. In fact, they can't afford to lose any of the final 15 games.
Nomar Garciaparra, giving up for lost for the season by many fans with a strained calf muscle, singled, doubled and homered (#7). Andre Ethier, the best hitting outfielder without a steady job, knocked in two with a pair of singles. Loney doubled and singled, adding an RBI and Matt Kemp singled and tripled to drive in one run.
It was Loney's fourth straight multi-hit game and he's hitting .611 (11-for-18) in his last four games and has driven in 13 runs in his last eight contests. Loney is among the NL rookie leaders in average, hits, homers, RBI, doubles and extra base hits while hitting .447 (34-for-76) with runners in scoring position. Overall, Loney is batting .329 (114-for-347) since his recall on July 29, 2006.
"Everybody is banged up and everybody is playing with something. I'm no different," Garciaparra said. "Today I just really went out there and didn't think about anything. If something happens, then it happens, but I'm just trying to help this team get a win."
Penny started the game by loading the bases and then walked in a run with one out. He held the damage to a minimum, striking out Chris Young and Stephen Drew.
L.A. turned on Davis in the first inning, when white-hot James Loney doubled into the left-field corner to drive in Rafael Furcal. They added another run in the fourth when Russell Martin singled in Jeff Kent to tie the score 2-2, but left the bases loaded when Andre Ethier lined a bullet into the first baseman's glove. Penny fanned and Furcal bounced out to third.
After the Snakes hit Penny for two in the top of the fifth, he Dodgers put a big "4" on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning to knock and forced Davis out of the game.
Juan Pierre drew a walk to open the inning and Loney followed with a single. After Jeff Kent grounded into a double play to score Pierre, Garciaparra drilled a fastball into the right-center-field bleachers, his first home run since August 4. Martin reached on an error and scored on triple by Matt Kemp.
Ethier followed with an RBI single to put the Dodgers up, 6-4. In the seventh, Ethier came through again, lining a ball to right field to score Garciaparra, who led off the inning with a double.
Penny left after the fifth inning having thrown 103 pitches and allowing four runs, three of them earned.
Four different relievers came out of the bullpen and stopped Arizona cold. Mark Hendrickson got an out and Rudy Seanez was unhittable in 1.2 innings. Joe Beimel turned the game over to Takashi Saito with one out in the eighth inning and the remarkable 37-year-old lowered his ERA to 1.21 while closing out the win.
Saito made one pitch to get a double-play ball in the eighth and then added a scoreless ninth inning for his 39th save in 42 chances. Saito's 1.21 ERA is currently the second-best in franchise history among pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched, behind only Eric Gagné (1.20) in his Cy Young season of 2003. The Japanese right-hander has converted 16 straight save opportunities and owns a 1.50 ERA since last year's All-Star Break, which is the best mark in baseball over that time.
This afternoon the Dodgers (78-69), who have won four of Derek Lowe's last five starts before he was injured while playing catch with Jonathan Broxton, will face Livan Hernandez (10-9, 4.78) who allowed three runs and eight hits - including two homers - in six innings of a 5-3 win at San Francisco on Monday.
Hernandez has given up 31 homers this season - second most in the majors to Houston's Woody Williams. The right-hander is 8-12 with a 4.31 ERA in 26 career starts against the Dodgers. He is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts against them this season, pitching six strong innings both times.
Lowe will be looking for his first win in three starts this year against the Diamondbacks (83-65). He is 2-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 11 career starts against them and has a 3.86 ERA in two losses this year.
Score by Innings Arizona 100 120 000-4 Los Angles 100 140 10x-7 Los Angles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 5 1 1 0 .270 Pierre cf 3 1 0 0 .292 Loney 1b 5 0 2 1 .330 Kent 2b 4 1 0 0 .296 Garciaparra 3b 4 2 3 1 .280 Martin c 4 1 1 1 .295 Kemp rf 3 1 2 1 .337 Ethier lf 4 0 2 2 .290 Penny p 2 0 0 0 .233 LaRoche ph 0 0 0 0 .196 Sweeney ph 0 0 0 0 .252 Hendrickson p 0 0 0 0 .038 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Gonzalez ph 1 0 0 0 .278 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 34 7 11 6 Arizona 31 4 8 4 Error- Martin (12). 2B- Loney (18), Garciaparra (16). 3B- Kemp (5). HR- Garciaparra (7). RBI- Loney (53), Martin (84), Garciaparra (58), Kemp (38), Ethier 2 (60). SB- Pierre (58). DP- Saito, Furcal, Kent and Loney. Los Angles in h r-er bb so era Penny (16-4) 5.0 6 4-3 3 6 2.88 Hendrickson 0.1 1 0-0 0 1 5.23 Seanez 1.2 0 0-0 1 1 3.80 Beimel 0.1 1 0-0 0 1 3.96 Saito (sv 39) 1.2 0 0-0 1 1 1.21 HBP- by Penny. T- 3:32. Att- 54,014.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Rudy Seanez wants to pitch again next season. And the season after that. "I'd like to play for a couple of more years, until I'm 40, then go from there," Seanez said. The 38-year old right-hander, who made the Dodgers as a non-roster invitee to spring training, was contemplating retirement. But he said that over the last few days he realized he wasn't ready to walk away. He acknowledged that because of his age, he might not get that opportunity. But Seanez has pitched 69.1 innings in 66 games this season, both career highs. ...Andy LaRoche said he won't need surgery for the protruding disk that has resulted in back pains this season. The September call-up said that the plan is for him to strengthen his back muscles to lessen the stress on his spine. LaRoche turned 24 Thursday, prompting a visit from Kansas by his father, former Angels pitcher Dave. ...Russell Martin, who is on track to break the Dodgers' single-season record for games caught, will sit out a game this weekend, probably Sunday. Martin caught his 134th game Friday night, leaving him 12 shy of Mike Piazza's record of 146 set in 1993 and 1996. ...Former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda was presented with a cake in a pregame ceremony that included Sparky Anderson. Lasorda was serenaded by the fans and received messages from various baseball personalities on the video scoreboard. The crowd cheered loudest when Angels Manager Mike Scioscia appeared on the monitor. "It means that the ballclub hasn't forgotten me and it means that the people haven't forgotten me," said Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers to World Series championships in 1981 and 1988. Lasorda bobblehead dolls were handed out to the first 50,000 fans at Friday's game to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of his Hall of Fame induction.