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.
Yasiel Puig became the first Dodger since 2006 to collect more than one hit in his major-league debut Monday. Then the 22-year-old right fielder provided a memorable ending to a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres before an announced crowd of 37,055 at Dodger Stadium.
With Chris Denorfia on first base and one out in the ninth inning, Kyle Blanks launched a fly ball to the warning track in front of the right-field scoreboard. Puig made the catch and threw on the fly to first base, where Adrian Gonzalez stretched and caught the ball for a rare 9-3, game-ending double play.
National TV tonight, as Clayton Kershaw and John Lackey match up on ESPN. The 30-year-old Lackey hasn’t been his normal self since returning from injury on May 16. In seven starts (really six, because of that two-pitch debacle where he hit Texas’ Ian Kinsler to lead off the game and was tossed) Lackey’s totaled a 2-2 record and 6.10 ERA.
Kershaw hasn’t lived up to his big expectations just yet, but the 21-year-old lefthander hasn’t been nearly as awful as you think, recording a 4.13 ERA in 69 2/3 innings pitched. His last time out was a dandy — four hits, three walks and no runs in five and 2/3 innings against the A’s last Tuesday.
Russell Martin, taking the day off behind the plate, moves up to sixth in the order after an eye-opening 3-for-4 performance last night.
One interesting note: both of these teams — as good ones tend to do — start pretty much the same guys every night. You won’t see Joe Torre or Mike Scioscia send out a typical Sunday lineup in this one.
S. Rodriguez, 2B
Happy Father’s Day to all those dads out there. Enjoy it. In-game updates to come.
Jeff has been the better brother thus far, holding the Angels to only two runs in five innings. He hasn’t walked any and has scattered five hits.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have really tagged Jered, scoring two runs in the third inning and three in the fifth.
Russell Martin hit his first regular or post-season home run since Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS, and the Dodgers scrapped together two more runs before Andre Ethier delivered the big blow with a two-RBI triple.
Randy Wolf will start tonight for the Dodgers despite the news that he has been suffering from a persistent cough for the last six weeks. He underwent tests yesterday. Obviously, the cough hasn’t been affecting his performance too much, as the 32-year-old lefthander has recorded a 3.41 ERA — which would be his second-best effort of his career over a full season — thus far.
Vin Mazzaro will be making his fourth career start for the A’s; his first three resulted in a 2-1 record and 1.37 ERA. From what I’ve read about him, he’s a young sinkerballer with a developing plus-curveball. He pitches to contact, and if his control is on, he is a real innings-eater.
Russell Martin announced today that he will be donating $600,00 over the next 10 years to the One Drop Foundation in an effort to provide higher access to clean water among the poor. Martin will also serve as the foundation’s spokesman. Check out the foundation’s site here. It’s in French, by the way.
So the score was 5-4 again tonight, the second such score in a row, but the A’s took home the victory this time. Hiroki Kuroda — winless since Opening Day — was mediocre in his six innings of work, and the Dodgers produced only one run not aided by Oakland’s three errors.
Oakland starter Trevor Cahill wasn’t brilliant, struggling a bit with his control and reminding some of Chad Billingsley circa 2006 in his 5 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers had a chance to come back in the ninth, with Rafael Furcal at first and no out with A’s closer Andrew Bailey on the mound, but Orlando Hudson and James Loney quickly popped out and Casey Blake grounded into a force play.
Russell Martin’s slide has continued, as the 26-year-old catcher has slumped to a .236 with zero home runs and a .625 OPS. His .278 slugging percentage is the third worst of any major leaguer with at least 200 at-bats, and although his .347 OBP is still better than the league average, the extreme lack of power is a bit worrisome.
Matt Kemp went 1-for-3 and stole two bases off the Cahill-Kurt Suzuki battery. The Dodgers’ Randy Wolf and A’s phenom Vin Mazzaro start tomorrow. Mazzaro had pitched 17 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings to begin his career before the Giants scored three runs off of him last Friday. Still, the 22-year-old righthander has a 1.37 ERA and a 2-1 record thus far.