3 up, 3 down: Dodgers 7, White Sox 6
June, 15, 2012
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- James Loney, who had entered the game defensively just an inning earlier, scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning on Friday night to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 7-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox before 40,432 at Dodger Stadium.
The pitch was thrown by White Sox reliever Matt Thornton just as Elian Herrera broke for second base. Herrera had gone 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs, the last two of them on a tying double in the sixth that completed the Dodgers' comeback from a four-run deficit. But in his final at-bat, with runners on second and third and one out in the eighth, Herrera had hit what appeared to be an inning-ending doubleplay grounder to short, only to have the Dodgers' Dee Gordon break it up when he took out White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham with a perfect slide.
That was the final act for Gordon on what had been a mostly good evening for the Dodgers shortstop and leadoff man. Although he committed a fourth-inning error that allowed an unearned run to score, Gordon also reached back three times in five plate appearances, including two walks, and scored the Dodgers' first run.
Kenley Jansen, who had given up the winning run in the ninth inning twice in the Dodgers' previous series against the Los Angeles Angels, then finished off the White Sox in the ninth for his 11th save.
The Dodgers (41-24) maintained their four-game lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
Coming right back. After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, the Dodgers responded immediately, Gordon working a leadoff walk -- imagine that -- from Chris Sale and scoring all the way from first when Herrera followed with a double up the gap in left-center, cutting the White Sox's lead in half. Alas, the Dodgers couldn't come all the way back. Herrera was stranded on third, and he wouldn't have gotten that far if not for A.J. Pierzynski's passed ball.
Coming back eventually. After falling behind by four runs, the Dodgers rallied for five in the sixth to take a shortlived, 6-5 lead. The big blows were a run-scoring double by Juan Uribe, a pinch-hit RBI single by Ivan De Jesus and a two-run, game-tying double by Herrera, his second RBI double of the game. It all started, though, when Sale, despite pitching with a four-run lead, issued a leadoff walk to Jerry Hairston.
Making lemonade. Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw kept the Dodgers withing rallying distance and actually was in position to win his second start in a row before Ronald Belisario gave up a game-tying homer to Alexei Ramirez in the eighth. This despite the fact Kershaw was mostly ineffective, again, by his standards. He gave up five runs and eight hits over six innings, although he did strike out seven and walk only two. After going 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA through his first nine starts this season, Kershaw is 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA over his past five starts while he has battled plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
One-sided relationship. The White Sox's Adam Dunn took Kershaw deep, a two-run blast, with one out in the top of the first inning. It was Dunn's fourth career homer, and his eighth hit, in 12 at-bats against Kershaw.
Walks will haunt. With two outs, nobody on and an 0-2 count on Dunn in the third, Kershaw threw four consecutive balls. Dunn then moved up when Kershaw threw a wild pitch. Dunn then scored on a base hit by Paul Konerko, as the White Sox pushed their lead back to two.
Ill-advised throws will haunt, too. With a man on second, again with the aid of a Kershaw wild pitch, and nobody out in the fourth, Orlando Hudson hit a slow roller toward short. Gordon charged it and then bobbled it momentarily, giving him no chance at getting Hudson at first. But Gordon threw it anyway, and it bounced past first baseman Juan Rivera, allowing Ramirez to come all the way home and give the White Sox a 4-1 lead.