Saturday, October 3, 2009
It took a while, but the Dodgers finally did it! The Boys in Blue hung a crooked five in the seventh inning and defeated Colorado 5-0 to clinch the NL West crown. It was a long and harrowing journey, from Pittsburgh to San Diego to Los Angeles, but the Dodgers found a way to win, and to win big. Clayton Kershaw threw well enough to get the win, striking out ten while shutting down the Rockies over six innings. The bullpen of Hong-Chih Kuo, George Sherrill, and Jonathan Broxton threw a combined three perfect innings of relief, and the rest is history.
Things looked bleak going into the seventh inning. The offense was as stagnant as it had been all year. But Jorge De La Rosa, who threw three perfect innings to start the game, was removed after feeling tightness in his groin while pitching to Rafael Furcal in the fourth. Jose Contreras pitched three shutout innings of relief, but was shaky, giving up four hits and a walk.
In the seventh, Casey Blake opened with a single and took second on an error by Carlos Gonzalez in center. James Loney sacrificed him to second, and Ronnie Belliard, in his first at-bat since last Saturday, hit an infield single to plate Blake. Russell Martin worked a walk, and Mark Loretta hit a pinch-hit double to drive in Castro who pinch-ran for Belliard, his most important AB as a Dodger. With Furcal walked intentionally, and Juan Pierre hit a bloop single to score the third run of the inning. Matt Kemp hit an RBI-sacrifice fly, and Manny Ramirez broke a long 0fer stretch with an RBI single. By the time the third out was recorded, the Dodgers plated five runs.
Not UCLA's prettiest game. Kevin Craft was 22-for-34 in pass attempts as the Bruins fell in their Pac-10 opener against the Cardinal. The ground game was terrible, with UCLA collecting only 98 yards while the defense allowed 176 rushing yards. The third-down conversion rate was also starkly different, as the Bruins were 2-for-7 while Stanford was 7-for-13.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press