Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Wright saves Dodgers in win over Giants
By Tony Jackson
The Dodgers rallied to beat the Giants, but the performance of the bullpen was key too.
LOS ANGELES -- It was Scott Van Slyke who got a towel full of shaving cream to the face while he stood at his locker fielding questions from reporters after the game, that towel courtesy of Aaron Harang after Van Slyke began his major league career with a pinch-hit, RBI single in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 7-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
It was Tony Gwynn who had the big hit, a three-run, pinch-hit triple off two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum -- who, by the way, is now winless in his past six starts against the Dodgers -- to turn a one-run deficit into a two-run lead and put the Dodgers in front.
All those pinch-hitting heroics aside, though, it was Jamey Wright who was the quiet hero for the Dodgers in this one, the veteran right-hander bouncing back from a horrific outing Sunday in Chicago in which he issued a walkoff, bases-loaded walk. This time, following an all-too-typical, all-too-brief start by Chad Billingsley, Wright gave the Dodgers just what they needed: two perfect innings, three strikeouts and not a single ball hit out of the infield.
Wright actually had struggled in his previous three appearances, mostly because he had walked five batters in a span of three innings.
"Tonight, I was just trying to get back to attacking the zone and not trying to be too perfect early," Wright said. "I think I got a few strikeouts my first few games and all of a sudden got it in my head that I'm a strikeout pitcher now. I started getting behind guys and getting deep in counts instead of attacking the zone and trying to get three outs on 11 or 12 pitches."
It is a lesson a pitcher still has to learn occasionally, even when he is in his 17th major league season, and Wright couldn't have re-learned it at a better time for the Dodgers. By mowing down the Giants in the fifth and sixth, he was able to get the game to the back end of the bullpen, meaning Dodgers manager Don Mattingly didn't have to burn a bunch of arms to get through the game.
Not that it really would have mattered all that much with the off-day on Thursday, but you get the picture. And Wright, by scorer's discretion because Billingsley didn't complete the requisite five innings for a starter, got the win.
The day didn't go so well for infielder Jerry Hairston, who took a turn for the worse in his recovery from a left-hamstring strain. He underwent an MRI exam, which showed the strain team officials already knew he had, but the fact it suddenly doesn't seem to be getting better means there is a strong possibility Hairston will be put on the 15-day disabled list either Thursday or Friday.
Justin Sellers, the utility infielder who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque last Friday to make room for Bobby Abreu, almost certainly would be the player called up if Hairston were to go on the shelf. Hairston hasn't played since Sunday, so he would be eligible to return as soon as May 22.
"Obviously as a player, you want to hold onto hope (of avoiding the DL)," Hairston said. "But you want to be smart, too. If it's going to take 10 days to heal, or 14 or 15 days, you would rather take that time than run the risk of aggravating it and having it be two months."