The Dodgers took the first series of the season with Sunday night's 7-5 victory, beating the San Francisco Giants, and I was lucky enough to see it live and in person. It was a wonderful night at the Stadium this evening, despite being sequestered from SoSG regulars Dusty Baker and Josh S., who were also in attendance. And did I mention the snuggie? But more on the sleeved blanket later.
A two-run Matt Kemp HR stoked a three-run first inning and got the crowd very fired up, and Barry Zito stabilized for the rest of his six-inning outing, allowing time for the Giants to come back with singular runs in the second and sixth innings, before tying the game in the top of the seventh. You could feel a collective groan as run #2 crossed the plate (catalyzed by Juan Uribe falling over his feet trying to field an infield single), and then when Pat Burrell (who I believe was batting sub-.100 at the time of his AB) knocked a leadoff HR in the seventh, the groan became an actual pain in the gut.
But the Dodgers' answered quickly with a four-run outburst off of Dan Runzler in the bottom of the seventh, to put the nationally-televised game to rest. Tension remained high late in the game, thanks to Jonathan Broxton's shaky ninth, not to mention Hong-Chih Kuo's quick yank and Matt Guerrier's walking in a run in the eighth before escaping on a Miguel Tejada foul out to Loney wide of first base.
Good prevailed over evil tonight, and with RBI contributions not only from Kemp (2), but also Andre Ethier, Jamey Carroll, Marcus Thames, Rafael Furcal, and even PH Aaron Miles--it was a team effort.
I didn't expect that sort of rallying from this Dodgers squad, so that was refreshing to see in my first game this year. In fact, this whole series was a bit surprising--leaving the Dodgers as the only division leader with a negative run differential as of Sunday night (here's to you, small sample size!). The difference between 2-2 and 3-1 is small and probably not that meaningful; but symbolically, the Dodgers said a lot this weekend by taking the series. And Sunday's gritty win showed that the team can come back from 10-0 poundings and scratch a win back.
Here's some more observations from the evening:
One of these guys was bound to have a good night this evening...
Karl Ravech was there with the ESPN Baseball Tonight crowd, reporting live from Lot G (right behind the outfield scoreboards):
A 5pm start time allows for a beautiful evening that doesn't end up too late. And much of the crowd was there early:
Hopefully, Angel Jay was there too:
After missing Opening Day this year, it was glorious to at least make it to the Opening Series:
Bear witness to my first Dodger Dog of the year, coated in nutrient-packed vegetables:
The Goodyear Blimp provided aerial coverage to ESPN:
It doesn't look like the right-field LED scoreboard got a facelift this winter...
...not that that stopped Qylan from trying to hitch his prom wagon to Carly:
Dan Runzler gets chased:
New third base coach Tim Wallach adopts a wide stance, making sure that Pablo Sandoval doesn't get any crazy ideas to come over and eat him for a snack:
And finally, how can Bonds allege that he's not juicing? He looks totally different from his Pittsburgh days.
- Jamey Carroll, who went 1-for-3 with a RBI has "Eye of the Tiger" as his walk-up song. Not sure if this is new, but it's funny. (Update 12:35p: just realized that VSIMH mentioned this point earlier as well. And I love how Roberto mixed up Jamey's name--reminded me of when I met Roberto and I mixed up his name, too! Happens to the best of us.)
- They also had one between-inning video on the beach cleanup day thing they had earlier this year; the player profile was on Rafael Furcal, and the crowd loved that his first car was a Daihatsu and the actor he'd like to play him in a movie would be Jackie Chan. Cool!
- Great heckle from someone near me yelling at Zito, "Hey Barry, you t-boned me this week and I'm gonna sue you!" Of course, being on the third-base side, I was mocking Sandoval on his weight throughout the game.
And of course, the Dodger Snuggies!
Part 2 of the At-Game Recap will run later in the day!