After nursing a 2-1 lead, Wilson Betemit's second pinch-hit homer in as many games put the Dodgers up 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh. The Dodgers had not lost a game this year when leading in the seventh inning. Case closed, right?
Not exactly. The Braves came back to score five runs in the bottom of the seventh, as Chin-Hui Tsao uncharacteristically imploded and Chad Billingsley got tagged out of the gate before settling down. The Dodgers went feebly in the last two innings. Game over. Series lost to the Braves, after having the game cleanly in our grasp.
Tony Jackson, the hardest-working Dodgers beat reporter in show-business, used his ITD (Daily News) column to take Grady Little to task on this one:
Chin-hui Tsao was bound to give up a run sometime. Today, he gave up five of them, in two-thirds of an innings, which was way longer than he should have been out there because Grady stuck with him WAY too long. And when he finally did come to get him, he brought in Chad Billingsley, who gave up hits on two of the first three pitches he threw to drive in the final two runs charged to Tsao. This is one Grady will think about for a long, long time, as well he should. Dodgers fall to 18-13.
I turned off my radio after the Betemit homer and was shocked to hear the Dodgers lost. It's only one game, but it was a big one (against a first-place NL East team), which we should have won. Now we're off to play four against the Marlins, a sub-.500 team with a lot of power (163 runs scored leads the league) but not a lot of pitching (163 runs against also leads the league). After Sunday's debacle, we will need to take three of four to make it a winning road trip.