The Dodgers concluded a long day of baseball with a ninth-inning rally against the Chicago White Sox before an announced crowd of 8,310 at Camelback Ranch on Saturday. [box score]
Cory Sullivan’s grand slam — his first home run of the spring –capped the comeback win for the Dodgers (4-1-2), who trailed 6-5 after the White Sox scored the go-ahead run off Michael Antonini in the eighth inning.
The game began at 7:05 p.m. local time and ended three hours and 39 minutes later (the Dodgers’ two games Saturday lasted a combined 6 hours and 16 minutes). Players and coaches get to report bright and early tomorrow for a 12 p.m. game against the Cubs –they had played no earlier than 1 p.m. local time through the first week.
With the teams even at 5-5, Antonini surrendered an RBI double to Ray Olmedo in the bottom of the eighth inning. But Ivan DeJesus scored from third base on a wild pitch to tie the game at 6 in the top of the ninth. That merely set the stage for Sullivan’s dramatic grand slam.
Chad Billingsley struggled in his second Cactus League start, allowing six hits and three runs –all earned –in 2 1/3 innings. His line would’ve looked better if Josh Lindblom had not allowed a three-run homer to Tyler Flowers, the first batter he faced out of the bullpen. Both runners belonged to Billingsley.
“I struggled a little bit early just finding my rhythm,” he said, “but overall I was pretty happy. My curveball was sharp. I threw some changeups, my fastball was missing a little down and off the plate but that’ll come.”
While Nate Eovaldi threw three innings earlier in the day, Billingsley appeared to get a quick hook, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. He said he was given a pitch count in the 50-60 range, not an innings quota (Billingsley threw 53 pitches).
Juan Rivera and Jerry Hairston Jr. hit home runs. One day after his minor heart scare, Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing one hit and striking out one.