Goodness, even I'm tired after this one. The Dodgers and Padres were one inning shy of playing two complete games on Sunday, and despite their best efforts to lose, the Dodgers walked away with a 5-4 win.
Truthfully, the Dodgers had this one wrapped up pretty early on. Kent and Gonzo hit back-to-back home runs to give Derek Lowe a 4-1 lead in the third inning. But Lowe once again couldn't hold a lead, and in the seventh inning, the Padres tied it at 4-4. That was at 2:56 local time.
More than three hours later, the game finally ended. But not before the Dodgers loaded the bases once, had two men on twice, and still couldn't score runs. The Dodgers had 15 hits, the Padres had two errors, and still we only had four runs going into the 17th inning. Turns out it was the Padres' third error that would cost them the game.
Wilson Valdez, who had just come in the game, hit a bunt with one out in the top of the 17th. The catcher, Rob Bowen, quickly picked it up and fired to first. Unfortunately for the Padres, the third string catcher, Pete LaForest, was playing first at this point, and he couldn't handle Bowen's slightly high throw. So Valdez was safe at first on the error. Russell Martin came up and popped out to the shortstop, and so we were down to our last out in the 17th inning.
In steps Brady Clark, who had played the entire game and was 0 for 5 with two walks until this point. He promptly hit a double down the left field line. Valdez is little and speedy, and so the third base coach sent him, all the way from first. It was a good throw to the plate, but Valdez beat it, and the Dodgers had their first lead in 10 innings.
Chad Billingsley, who had pitched the 16th, came in to try and close it out in the 17th. He struck out LaForest, then got Mike Cameron to ground one to third, but Ramon Martinez bobbled the transfer and Cameron was safe. He stole second, and then Billingsley walked Blum. So they had two on and only one out, and I was beginning to curse Chad Billingsley. He then quickly struck out the next two batters (but not before an incredibly bad call by the ump that should have been strike three on Kouzmanoff) and I was so relieved it was over.
These kinds of games are always hard to watch, especially when the team you like keeps blowing opportunities to end it. I always feel like these games are going to go on forever, and then all of the sudden, they're over. It must be a huge letdown to the losing team in one sense, but maybe also a big relief. I mean, they want the game to end, right? And while it sucks to play 17 innings and have nothing to show for it but a weary bullpen, now the Padres can put this game behind them and beat up the Nationals for a while.
Of course, if the Dodgers had lost this one, I'd be very depresed and upset about how they played 17 innings and had nothing to show for it. It's amazing what a win (and a series win) can do for one's spirits. And hey, the Giants were swept by the D-Backs. Let's see what we can do with them for the next three days.
Player of the Game: the Dodger bullpen, collectively (10.2 IP, one hit, no runs)
DATE: 04/30/2007 06:37:26 PM
Are you going to any of the games with the DBacks.
I didn't know they had changed their color scheme.
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