First things first. I got engaged at Dodger Stadium. Yeah, it's true. I asked, she said yes. I did not get down on one knee. I simply put the message up on the first and third base scoreboards (I guess they call them "ribbon boards") at the stadium (anyone can do it), and got the ring I knew she wanted. To get her to pay attention at the right moment, I had told her that the boys at Sons of Steve Garvey had put something funny up on the board, so we had to see what it was. So, when my proposal came up, she didn't know it was for her until I opened my baseball glove to show her the ring box (it was the easiest hiding place I could think of, and it worked).
Then she was just silent for a while because she didn't know what to think. It wasn't your traditional proposal (obviously, what with the two girls involved) where I had to wait for an answer. We've unofficially been married for four years now, at least in our minds, but I just wanted to make it official. So she finally put the ring on and said yes. Good stuff.
Before I left for the game, I watched the Red Sox take a 10-0 lead over the Rangers in the first inning in Boston. Seemed like the deal was sealed in that game, but I continued to listen to the game on the radio on the way to Dodger Stadium, and things started to go badly. I think the score was 12-10, Red Sox, when I got out of my car in the parking lot. By the time I saw the score from my seat at the Dodger game, it was 15-14, Rangers. Then 16-14, Rangers. Insanity. Finally, though, in the eighth, I saw the score change to 16-16, then 19-16, Sox, and the world was spinning correctly on its axis again.
The first four hitters in Boston's lineup (Drew, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youkilis) went 12-19 with fourteen RBI and fourteen runs scored. Ortiz hit two three-run home runs in the first inning. Youkilis struck out twice in the first, but then hit two homers in the game, including the three-run blast in the eighth that put the Sox on top 19-16. Papelbon gave up an unearned run in the ninth (thanks to an error from Youk, who was playing third because Mike Lowell hurt himself swinging in the seventh) to make it 19-17, but that was all the Rangers would get. Just seventeen runs. What a wacky game. Thank god we won it, though. Losing after going up 10-0, and then 12-2, would have just been devastating. Particularly on a night when Tampa Bay lost. Their lead is now three games.
As for the Dodgers, they were involved in a much lower scoring affair, but an exciting one nonetheless (and look how gorgeous it was at the stadium). This will be a longer game recap, because I was there and because it was exciting. Clayton Kershaw gave up a run in each of the first three innings, then settled down to go six, striking out eight along the way. In his last four starts, he's gone 25 innings, given up four runs (three of which came last night, obviously), striking out 23, walking eight, and allowing seventeen hits. Not bad at all. I think he's coming along nicely, don't you?
The Dodgers answered with one run off Cole Hamels in the first to tie the game (Blake singled after Kemp doubled and Ramirez was intentionally walked with two outs), before going down 3-1 after the third. In the sixth, with Hamels still in the game, Pierre bunted for a single, Kemp singled to left (he had his third consecutive three-hit game), then Kent flied out. Ramirez singled to drive in a run and make it a one-run deficit. Guys, you should hear the crowd every time Manny does anything. The place goes batshit crazy. He caught a routine fly ball to end an inning, and you'd think he had just made some spectacular diving catch. It's insane, but so fun. And McCourt is making money hand over fist on those Manny wig-hats, considering how many I saw on people's heads at this game.
Apparently, the Phillies have the second-best bullpen in all of baseball (the Dodgers were once first--are they still?). I'm glad I didn't know that before the game, or I would have been very nervous. Chad Durbin came in to pitch the eighth, and promptly gave up a single to Kemp, walked Kent, then hit Ramirez with a pitch. Casey Blake hit a sac fly, and the game was tied. Nomar, in his first game back after his trip to the DL, hit into double play. Nice to see you back, Nomar. And yes, that is me standing with him, on Sunday, August 3, at his Carne Asada Sunday charity event. I love him, but that doesn't mean I'm happy with the way he's played as a Dodger.
The bottom of the ninth rolled around, and Russell Martin led off. J.C. Romero's first pitch hit Martin on the back foot, and the winning run was on base. Loney grounded out, advancing the runner, and Ethier (who didn't start the game) came up to bat. There were some shenanigans going on in my section when Ethier came up, which meant that for a while, I thought Mark Sweeney had driven in the game-winning run, but I'll detail those in the next post (which will be above this one). Ethier had a six-pitch at-bat, and I'm pretty sure I only saw the last pitch, but that was the one that mattered. Ethier singled to right, and Martin hustled around from second, just beating the throw home. Dodgers win. Pandemonium. It felt like a playoff game, and I hope that's a sign of things to come.
I'm trying a new thing, doing a slideshow using Picasa, instead of posting all the photos from the game here individually. There are some good ones, so I suggest you take a look, then let me know how you like that setup (click to see them larger, and to read the captions).