Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton help Dodgers secure playoff berth.


Jonathan Broxton allowed a three-run home run to Russell Martin in the eighth inning, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

The Pirates’ victory means the Dodgers can finish no worse than in a tie with the Milwaukee Brewers for the final wild-card position.

Coincidentally, it was two former Dodgers who combined to get their former team into the playoffs.

The current Dodgers had no interest in celebrating Friday night.

“We want the NL West,” outfielder Matt Kemp said. “I wouldn’t mind having the best record in the National League.”

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Postgame: Dodgers 2, Cubs 0

The Dodgers beat the Cubs today 2-0 at Dodger Stadium. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Charlie Haeger simply shut the down the Cubs today, going 7+ scoreless innings and earning his first win with the Dodgers. He allowed only three hits and four walks.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ two runs came on solo jacks from Matt Kemp and Casey Blake. Kemp’s homer, a huge shot to left, came in the second inning, and Blake’s was in the fourth.

Interestingly, Jonathan Broxton — who’s posted a 3.86 ERA in August — pitched the eighth, and George Sherrill pitched the ninth. Sherrill was a bit shaky in the ninth, but got the job done in his first save opportunity as a Dodger. He’s still yet to give up a run since he was acquired.

ETC…ETC:

In the eighth inning, Matt Kemp lost a fly ball while playing right field. It was ruled a double, and it put runners on second and third with one out for Aramis Ramirez, but Broxton shut the door.

Haeger threw more fastballs today then the two he threw in his first start, but he still made his living with the knuckler. It’d be hard to not give him another go after that performance.

The Rockies and Giants play at 5 p.m. If Colorado wins, they’ll stay just 4.5 games back of the Dodgers.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers try to sweep the four-game set with the Cubs, sending Chad Billingsley (12-6, 3.70) against Ryan Dempster (6-7, 4.28).

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Postgame: Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3 (10 innings)

The Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 4-3 tonight in 10 innings. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

The big story for the Dodgers tonight was what happened to starter Hiroki Kuroda. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Arizona pinch-hitter Rusty Ryal lined a 2-2 pitch right back at Kuroda’s right temple, and the 34-year-old righthander went down immediately. He did move, however, and CAT scans taken after the game at St. Joseph’s Hospital were negative.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers held a 3-1 lead into the ninth but closer Jonathan Broxton allowed back-to-back homers — only his third and fourth homers allowed of the season — to blow the save.

The Blue couldn’t put anything together offensively in the tenth, and the D’Backs came back with a perfectly executed bottom half of the inning off of Ramon Troncoso to get the win. Augie Ojeda singled, Dan Haren bunted him to second, and after two walks, Gerardo Parra hit a walk-off single.

ETC…ETC

The Dodgers took a 3-0 lead, but Ryal’s hit — ruled a ground-rule double — sparked the first run for the D’Backs. From there, the L.A. offense wasn’t the same, with only two hits.

Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill both feasted on an Arizona lineup that was incredibly left-handed in scoreless seventh and eighth innings. The 1-7 hitters in the D’Backs order were lefties.

Offensively, Brad Ausmus had an RBI single in the second, Doug Davis threw a pick-off away in the fifth to score Rafael Furcal, and Mark Loretta hit a sac fly to bring in Casey Blake in the sixth inning.

Matt Kemp didn’t have a hit but still wreaked havoc on the basepaths, reaching base via walk in the tenth inning and stealing second and third.

ON DECK:

Randy Wolf (6-6, 3.43) tries to salvage a game for the Dodgers against Arizona’s Yusmeiro Petit (2-6, 5.87) tomorrow at 1 p.m.

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Postgame: Braves 9, Dodgers 5 (12 innings)

The Braves beat the Dodgers 9-5 in 12 innings late last night. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

The Braves won it in the 12th on an RBI base hit that unlocked the 5-5 tie, then broke it open with a three-run homer by Ryan Church. Jonathan Broxton, who entered the game with a 5-4 lead in the ninth, blew the save.

The loss went to Ramon Troncoso, who simply wasn’t effective beginning the 12th inning. Scott Elbert, the Sunday starter (as announced today), then entered in relief and gave up the bomb to Church.

Chad Billingsley pitched six strong innings but again exited early due to injury, this time with a left hamstring strain termed mild. Sunday he left early with a right hamstring strain. He allowed four hits and three walks in his six innings of work.

Only two Dodgers had multiple-hit performances, as Casey Blake went 3-for-6 with a home run and Russell Martin went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .271.

ETC…ETC:

Only James McDonald shined out of the bullpen tonight, as he pitched two perfect innings. Hong-Chih Kuo had his first bad outing since his return from the disabled list, getting only one of three batters out. George Sherrill wasn’t charged with any runs but gave up three hits in 1 2/3 innings.

It could be speculated that Broxton blew the save in part due to a fan that ran onto the field in the top of the ninth. From that point, he walked Nate McLouth and wasn’t in control.

Manny Ramirez went 0-for-3 with a walk before leaving in a double switch to start the ninth. Andre Ethier went 0-for-2 with, count ’em, four walks.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.89) against Braves RHP Kenshin Kawakami (5-9, 4.38).

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Postgame: Brewers 6, Dodgers 3

The Brewers beat the Dodgers 6-3 tonight at Miller Park. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Dodger starter Jeff Weaver went just 3 1/3 innings in what Joe Torre called his worst outing of the year. Still, Weaver was only charged with two earned runs due to a throwing error by Rafael Furcal in the first.

Although he struck out seven in five innings, Brewers starter Mike Burns definitely wasn’t fooling the Dodgers. Still, he got the job done and three Milwaukee relievers combined to toss four scoreless innings.

No one really shined offensively for the Dodgers, as no player had more than one hit. Only Russell Martin and Orlando Hudson were held hitless.

All three LA runs came in the fifth on back-to-back jacks by Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier.

ETC…ETC:

Scott Elbert — fresh off a call-up from Albuquerque (with Blake DeWitt being sent down — pitched wonderfully, going 2 2/3 hitless while allowing only one walk.

Jonathan Broxton’s going to miss the All-Star Game with a toe injury.

The Dodgers couldn’t get to Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman this time, as the 41-year-old saved his 20th in 1-2-3 fashion after blowing a save last night.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers attempt to win the series in Milwaukee, sending out lefthander Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 3.27) to face Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 2.95) in an 11:05 AM PST start.

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