Another nine innings of chaos at AT&T Park. It's still only April, but things are getting tight!
If Chad Billingsley gets a no-decision, can we still call him a stopper? Because he did everything except get the W: 7.1 IP, 8H, 3R, 2ER, 8 K's. Billingsley was in line for the win until Joe Torre tried to wring another five-out save from Jonathan Broxton, who strangely seemed more comfortable against lefties than righties. Broxton walked in the tying run but recovered to strike out Eugenio Velez on three pitches.
In what will hopefully become a super-fantastic trend, the Dodgers offense responded immediately. Manny Ramirez, a.k.a. Mr. Consistency, led off the ninth with one of his three doubles (he also drew two walks). Andre "The Beard" Ethier weathered a heroic 10-pitch at-bat to double in Manny for the go-ahead run, and Matt Kemp (2-for-4 with a walk) tripled Ethier in for some Geico (insurance).
Will Ohman worked a 1-2-3 ninth, which makes us wonder if Torre might consider using him and/or Ramon Troncoso in future high-leverage situations. Maybe relief pitching has become overly specialized, but players do seem to respond well when their roles are clearly defined.
Russell Martin (0-for-4 with a walk) still has concerns at the plate, but compensated with stellar defense, blocking the plate to nail Randy Winn in the first inning and making a full-extension catch to force Pablo Sandoval in the eighth (see below).
DODGER DEFENSE ON DISPLAY:
all game photos by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers except last photo by Jeff Chiu/AP