"It was a very unlikely victory with the starter they had and the lead he had," manager Joe Torre said, after Arizona's Dan Haren was riding a 5-0 lead after the second inning and had a two-hitter when he left after seven. "I'm happy to say it doesn't surprise me when we do things like this," said Torre. "You can just hear in the dugout a quiet confidence."
The win was only the Dodgers' second when they trailed after seven innings and it improved their overall record to 36-18 and their home mark to a sparkling 19-6, both high marks in the Major Leagues.
The Manny Ramirez suspension hit the half-way mark with the Dodgers leading the Giants by nine, the Padres by 10 and Arizona and Colorado by 12.3 and 14.5. The Dodgers are 15-10 in the 25 games they've played since Ramirez was suspended May 7 for violating the MLB drug policy.
Russell Martin got a night off after two Dodgers pitchers bounced five wild pitches past him and Brad Ausmus got the call. It was the eighth start of the season for the veteran and he got high marks from Wolf, who didn't have his best stuff, retiring only five of the first dozen Arizona batters and allowing five runs, four of them in the second inning on a grand slam home run.
Martin had Wolf in all of his 11 previous starts, but he didn't feel the change had effected his pitching.
"I wasn't any sort of a shock," Wolf said. "Brad certainly watches every game and he knows what I want to do out there. So it's definitely not an excuse for anything that happened. Brad's a very smart catcher and he does his homework, so I don't think you can really pin that on Brad and I not working together that much."
Wolf admitted he shook off off Ausmus' signs a few times early in the game but later regretted it.
"After the second inning, though, I didn't shake Brad off once," he said. "I knew things weren't going to get any worse, so I decided to throw the pitches that Brad wanted. After the second inning, it's probably the most efficient I've ever been. I told him if I ever throw to him again, I'll never shake him off." He retired 11 of his next 13 batters, two on double plays, before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Wolf got his eighth no-decision in 12 starts this season, allowing five runs and seven hits in six innings.
Wolf's counterpart, Dan Haren was nearly untouchable for seven innings, garnering more hits than he allowed the Dodgers, Haren surrendered only an Andre Ethier home run in the second, a drive that landed halfway up in the right field pavilion and was his seventh and first in 25 games, and Ethier's ground-rule double in the fifth while walking one and striking out seven. He had three hits of his own and had also scored a run. with one out in the fifth.
The 5-1 lead looked safe when he passed it on to his bullpen but that wasn't the case.
Tony Peña took over and quickly got himself into big trouble. He served up a single to Matt Kemp, who became only the fourth Dodgers base runner of the game, then got Ausmus on a popup and struck out pinch-hitter Mark Loretta, pinch-hitting for Weaver.
But Juan Pierre single to left and Rafael Furcal walked to load the bases and Orlando Hudson drew another pass to force in a run. Then, suddenly, Loney doubled to the wall in deep right center to clear the bases and Blake singled him home with the lead run.
Loney has a team-high 41 RBIs and on pace for 123 despite only two homers.
"Haren was on his game tonight. But as long as you have outs, you have a chance." Loney said. "That's the fun thing about it, it's fun to see guys still battling and not moping around, hanging their heads."
"It's frustrating to lose this one, because we were in control from the second inning on," manager A.J. Hinch said. "With a four-run lead heading into the eighth, we were one out away from heading into the ninth with a four-run lead, but we couldn't get that third out."
Weaver (3-1), who had allowed runs in his previous four outings and had coughed up six hits, six walks and five runs over 3.2 innings in his previous two, gave up three hits and struck out to over his two frames to claim the win.
Broxton tied things up quickly, striking out two of the three Diamondback batters he faced to record his 12th save of the season and 31st of his career. It was his first save since May 20.
Martin will be catching Chad Billingsley, who is 6-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 12 career games against Arizona. In his last start, he was a tough-luck loser to the Cubs, 2-1, despite pitching seven innings. Billingsley struck out seven without issuing a walk, although he had to dodge three jams with runners on third base. He finally lost a shutout in the seventh on a solo homer by Koyie Hill, and he lost the game on a sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers will face RHP Jon Garland (4-4, 5.75 ERA) who was banged around for nine runs in 2.2 innings by the Braves in his last start. The 10-year veteran has never before pitched in Dodger Stadium, although he did defeat the Dodgers in his first start as a D-back, on April 10.
Score by Innings Arizona 140 000 000-5 Los Angeles 010 000 051-6 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Pierre lf 4 1 1 0 .379 Furcal ss 3 1 0 0 .249 Hudson 2b 2 1 0 1 .329 Loney 1b 4 1 1 3 .284 Blake 3b 4 0 1 1 .299 Ethier rf 4 1 2 1 .261 Kemp cf 3 1 1 0 .310 Ausmus c 3 0 0 0 .314 Wolf p 1 0 0 0 .080 Hoffmann ph 1 0 0 0 .176 Weaver p 0 0 0 0 .143 Loretta ph 1 0 0 0 .143 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 --------------------------------- Totals 30 6 6 6 Arizona 35 2 10 5 Error- Kemp (2). 2B- Ethier (12), Loney (12). HR- Ethier (7). RBI- Ethier (31), Hudson (32), Loney 3 (41), Blake (34). LOB- Los Angeles 3, Arizona 5. DP- Blake, Hudson and Loney; Blake and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Wolf 6.0 7 5-5 2 1 3.21 Weaver (3-1) 2.0 3 0-0 0 2 4.05 Broxton (sv 12) 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 1.38 T- 2:48. Att- 32,853.Manny Half Way Home
Ramirez is eligible to return from his suspension for violating baseball's drug policy on July 3, when the Dodgers begin a three-game series in San Diego.
A breakdown the club's offensive totals before and after the suspension (courtesy Dodgers publicity):
Opening Day – May 6 May 7 – Present Record 21-8 14-10 Runs 161 128 Runs/Game 5.6 5.3 Average .283 (278-for-982) .291 (251-for-864) Home Runs 24 12 OBP .376 .360Dodger Blue Notes-- Torre thought Martin was tired after returning home at 3 a.m. from the road trip but he was also 3-for-16 lifetime against Haren. ...The grand slam was the fourth allowed by Wolf in his career and the first since April 23, 2002. ...The Diamondbacks have had at least one extra-base hit in all 53 games this season, and 74 straight since a 7-2 defeat at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 6 last year. ...Claudio Vargas, a fifth-starter candidate until being injured the last week of Spring Training with a partially torn elbow tendon, made his 2009 debut Tuesday night by throwing a hitless inning with one strikeout for Class A Inland Empire. ...Andre Ethier is 9-for-21 with two homers lifetime against Haren. ...Weaver, who didn't pitch in the Major Leagues last year, has three victories. The only Dodgers pitchers with more are starter Billingsley (six), reliever Jonathan Broxton (five) and Eric Stults (four). Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw have three each. ... The Dodgers lead the Majors with a .287 batting average and a .369 on-base percentage. Their 285 runs lead the National League and rank second in the Majors, trailing only Tampa Bay's 300 all despite a .415 slugging percentage, which ranks 14th in the Majors. ...The 2009 First-Year Player Draft begins one week from today. The Dodgers do not have a first-round selection due to the free-agent signing of Orlando Hudson. Their first pick will be the 36th overall selection in the sandwich round prior to the second round. That pick comes to the Dodgers due to the loss of free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe to the Atlanta Braves. Los Angeles also gets the Braves' second-round selection (56th overall) for Lowe.