Wow. With the Dodgers reeling from Alfonso Soriano's second home run of the game in the bottom of the seventh (this one a three-run shot, to go with his solo home run to lead off the game for the second time this series), the Dodgers (down 4-2) refused to roll over and play dead. Matt Kemp came out in the top of the eighth to hit a two-out solo home run to bring us within one run.
And then, in the top of the ninth, Russell Martin leads off with a single. And James Loney follows with another single, his third hit of the game (Loney went 3-for-4 with a double and a solo HR, totaling 2 RBI). And then, pinch-hitter Andre Ethier--who should have been playing LF in the first place, Luis Gonzalez' 0-for-4 day notwithstanding--knocks a three-run jack to give the Dodgers a 6-4 lead. Rafael Furcal comes around to score later that inning on a wild pitch, and Takashi Saito economically preserves the Dodgers' three-run lead on a scant 10 pitches. DODGERS WIN.
By taking three of four from the Cubs, the Dodgers move into sole possession of second place in the Wild Card hunt, 2.5 games behind Wild Card-leading San Diego. The Dodgers are 3.5 games behind Arizona for the NL West crown. And, more importantly, this series win has allowed us to make up ground and go into our weekend series in San Francisco with some real excitement and momentum.
We face Jonathan Sanchez, Barry Zito, and Matt Cain this weekend--three Giants pitchers with ballyhooed "stuff" but losing records all. We counter with Chad Billingsley (10-4) on Friday and Brad Penny (15-4) on Sunday, bookending a large book ("War and Peace," if you will) in David Wells (6-8) on Saturday. Padres play three with the Rockies; Snakes host the Cardinals--so we are the only team playing an opponent not in Wild Card or divisional contention. A series victory in San Francisco, carrying the vibe from Chicago, would be clutch.