A day game after a night game is difficult and that difficulty is magnified when it's the final game of a 10-game road trip. Unlike the 0-8 record they brought home the last trip, The Dodgers climbed on a plane West with a 7-3 trip in their pockets, their 80th win of the season and a magic number of seven.
Los Angeles is 23-7 in PNC Park and few of the wins came any harder than this one. Pittsburgh Starter Paul Maholm allowed more than two earned runs for only the second time this season.
The Dodgers were out-hit 8-6 but eight Pirate pitchers walked 11 during he marathon. Los Angeles left 12 of them on base, five in scoring position.
The Dodgers spent seven pitchers with Scott Proctor (#6) earning the win and a shaky Jonathan Broxton earning his 14th save of the season.
Pittsburgh scored first, then fighting back from a 2-1 lead in the sixth and a 3-2 lead in the seventh to tie the game.
Clayton Kershaw started and surrendered a run in the first inning on a pop double to left that hit the chalk line and a long fly.
The Dodgers scored twice in the fourth, using a walk to Manny Ramirez, a two-out double by Matt Kemp and Blake DeWitt's two run single.
Kershaw left the game having allowed a single run and two hits in his five innings. Pittsburgh tied the game 2-2 off Takashi Saito who worked the sixth inning and allowed a double and a two-out single by Andy LaRoche.
Again the Dodgers took the lead in the seventh when they loaded the bases on walks to Kemp, DeWitt and Martin. Andre Ethier hit a little tapper just out of the reach of the Pirate pitcher that would have rolled dead about 60 feet from home plate if it hadn't been picked up by third baseman Andy LaRoche. However, Andy didn't have a play anywhere and L.A. led 3-2.
Manny Ramirez, who was 0-for-4 with a pair of walks, had a chance to break things open but flew to left with the base loaded
Cory Wade came in to protect the fragile one-run lead having retired the last 24 batters he had faced. He made it 25 before allowing three hits and the tying run. The final out came when Ethier threw out Doug Meintkiewicz attempting to stretch a single into a double.
The Dodgers had another opportunity in the eighth when Kemp singled and stole second. DeWitt was walked intentionally and Mark Sweeney was called upon to pinch-hit for Angel Berroa.
But out of nowhere, Kemp came thundering down from second on an attempt to steal third. He was thrown out from here to the refrigerator, ending the inning, taking Sweeney and Berroa out of the game and giving the Pirates a huge boost.
Chan Ho Park took over in the ninth and started an inning-ending double play. Then in the 10th, he hit the leadoff man and saw him bunted to second with the potential winning run
After intentionally walking a batter, he gathered in another tapper in front of the plate and threw to second but DeWitt was late covering and the Dodgers were fortunate he was.
The throw went to the second base side of the bag and DeWitt dove for the ball and knocked it down.
The runner from second rounded third and dashed for home but DeWitt made a perfect throw to Martin and he held onto the ball in the ensuing collision in front of the plate. Joe Beimel got the final out of the inning.
Scott Proctor worked a rare 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 11th to set the stage for the winning rally.
In the top of the 12th inning, Martin walked, Ethier ran the count to 3-1, then struck out on two sliders in the dirt. Martin stole second so Ramirez was given an intentional walk and Casey Blake drew the Dodgers 11th walk of the game to load the bases with one put.
Loney, who was 0-for-5 and hadn't hit a ball hard all day, lined a single to left with two strikes, knocking in the winning run.
Again, with a chance to add some insurance, Kemp fouled to first and DeWitt took three straight called strikes.
Broxton fanned the first Pirate in the last of the 12th, then walked speedy leadoff man Nyjer Morgan, who had two hits in each of the four games and accounted for two of the Pirate runs this day. He quickly and stole second.
Broxton flagged down a line drive off his glove hand to get the first out of the inning and moving Morgan to third. Then Broxton was ordered to issue an intentional walk, putting the potential winning run on base. The runner stole second base and now both runners were in scoring position.
Then, after almost four battling, scratching, fumbling hours, the final Pirate popped to DeWitt in short right field to end the game.
The Dodgers flew home to Los Angeles and when they landed, counting the trip to China, they had logged 54,417 miles so far this season.
They will face the Giants tonight in the first three games of the final six-game homestand. After an open date Monday, San Diego will come in for three games and the Dodgers travel to San Francisco to finish the last three games of the regular season.
Matchups for the last nine games:
Friday:Greg Maddux (7-12, 4.08) vs. Barry Zito (9-16, 5.48)
Staturday: Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.77) vs. Brad Hennessey (1-2, 8.04)
Sunday: Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.40) vs. Matt Cain (8-13, 3.91)
Score by innings Los Angeles 020 001 000 001-4 Pittsburgh 100 001 100 000-3 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Martin c 3 1 0 0 .278 Ethier rf 3 0 2 1 .301 Ramirez lf 4 1 0 0 .390 Blake 3b 4 0 0 0 .255 Loney 1b 6 0 1 1 .296 Kemp rf 5 2 2 0 .290 DeWitt 3b 4 0 1 2 .263 Berroa ss 1 0 0 0 .246 Sweeney ph 0 0 0 0 .138 Hu ss 2 0 0 0 .161 Kershaw p 1 0 0 0 .077 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Young ph 1 0 0 0 .254 Wade p 0 0 0 0 .000 Repko ph 1 0 0 0 .167 Park p 0 0 0 0 .111 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Pierre ph 1 0 0 0 .273 Proctor p 0 0 0 0 .000 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 39 4 6 4 Pittsburgh 40 3 8 3 Two-base hits- Kemp (38). S- Berroa, Kershaw. RBI- DeWitt 2 (47), Ethier (74), Loney (87). SB- Kemp (34), Martin (18). CS- Kemp (11). DP- Park, Hu and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Kershaw 5.0 2 1-1 2 5 4.28 Saito 1.0 2 1-1 1 1 2.28 Wade 2.0 3 1-1 0 2 2.80 Park 1.2 1 0-0 1 0 2.80 Beimel 0.1 0 0-0 0 0 2.20 Proctor (2-0) 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 5.84 Broxton (sv 14) 1.0 0 0-0 2 1 3.18 WP- Kershaw. T- 3:54. Att- 12,709.Good Report on Nomar, Kuo
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that the injury report on Nomar Garciaparra and Hong-Chih Kuo was a good one.
Garciaparra, who left the third game of the Pittsburgh series with a left knee injury that appeared serious, felt so good he canceled an exam by the Pittsburgh Steelers' team doctor.
Garciaparra said this latest sprain is less severe than the one that put him on the disabled list in July. He noted that he was physically ready to return that time in less than a week, but had to sit out the full 15 days of the disabled list requirement.
Kuo, shut down since experiencing discomfort in his left triceps tendon after pitching Sunday, played catch with no problem and plans to throw off a mound Friday.
"It feels good, better today," said Kuo. "But when it bothers me, it isn't when I throw. It's the next day."
Kuo's absence hurt the Dodgers in the series with the Pirates.
Kuo, who already has surpassed expectations considering his four previous elbow operations, has thrown 80 innings in 42 appearances with a 2.14 ERA and .204 opponents batting average.
He said he's hopeful to be pitching in a game by next week and be available throughout the postseason, if the club gets there.
"I've still got 10 days to go," Kuo told Gurnick. "I need to be healthy. I don't want to pitch one game and need to shut down. That's not helping the team. I need to be healthy."
Dodger Blue Notes-- The 15-8 loss to Pittsburgh marked just the 10th time since moving to Los Angeles in 1958 that the Dodgers lost a game in which they had 18 or more hits. (The total was reported as 19 hits but a change by the official scorer took a hit away from Pedro Ozuna and turned it into an error). The last time it happened was July 17 last season vs. the Mets when they had 19 hits. The others were in 1960, 1966, 1972, 1973, 1982, 1984, 1996, and 1997. ..The Dodger bullpen took a 3.29 ERA, the third-best mark in the Major Leagues, into the final game in Pittsburgh. Only the Phillies (3.27) and Blue Jays' (2.97) have posted lower relief ERAs this season among all big league teams. ...On this date in 2006, the Dodgers entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing the Padres by half a game in the standings and four runs in the game, 9-5. Four straight home runs by Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin, and Marlon Anderson tied the game and a Major League record for consecutive homers before Nomar Garciaparra's two-run shot in the bottom of the 10th gave Los Angeles an 11-10 victory. ...Manny Ramirez reached base in two of his six plate appearances last to raise his on-base percentage to .485 with the Dodgers. That is the highest mark of all Major Leaguers since August 1. His .738 slugging percentage during that period also tops all big leaguers while his .400 average ranks second only to Baltimore's Melvin Mora (.402). ...Joe Beimel appeared in his 99th consecutive game last without allowing a home run to extend his all-time Los Angeles Dodger record. Over his last 99 games dating to July 25, 2007, Beimel is 7-2 with a 2.74 ERA (21 ER/69.0 IP). Beimel's homerless streak is the longest active streak in baseball and the fourth-longest since 1958.