|L.A. Dodgers (86-59) «||1||0||0||1||2||1||0||1||x||6||12||0|
LOS ANGELES -- While NL West rivals Colorado and San Francisco face off in a high-tension series up the California coast, the Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping to knock a few digits off their magic number while enjoying a slight letup in the September grind.
Andre Ethier hit a tiebreaking home run, Manny Ramirez had an early RBI double and the Dodgers opened their penultimate regular-season homestand with a 6-2 victory against the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
Jon Garland (10-11) persevered through six rocky innings to remain unbeaten since joining Los Angeles last month, winning the NL leaders' first of seven games in 15 days against the Pirates. In fact, 10 of Los Angeles' final 18 games are against last-place clubs Pittsburgh and Washington, putting the Dodgers in prime position for their race with St. Louis and Philadelphia for the NL's best record.
The Dodgers extended their division lead to four games and reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to 11. The Giants, who beat the second-place Rockies 9-1 to open their important series in the wild-card race, visit Los Angeles this weekend -- and the Dodgers hope their biggest rivals are properly tenderized.
"We knew coming in that this was a great opportunity for us to get some distance from Colorado and San Francisco, and let them beat up on each other a little bit," Ethier said. "You can't take an opportunity lightly just because of the name across their jerseys."
The Pirates ended a 13-game road losing streak with a victory at Houston on Sunday, but it's late in their 17th consecutive losing season. Ramon Vazquez had an RBI double for the Pirates, who have lost 15 of 17.
"You have to treat every game like it's important," Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen said. "You can't just go through the motions, because that's not going to do anything for you. So just for yourself, you need to go out there and treat this game like there's a purpose behind it, and there is a purpose behind every single game."
Orlando Hudson had three hits and drove in two late runs as the Dodgers (86-59) got hits from all eight starting position players to move back to a season-high 27 games over .500 with their fifth victory in seven games.
Ethier put the Dodgers ahead 4-2 in the fifth with his 29th home run off rookie Daniel McCutchen, and Hudson added a long RBI double in the sixth. Hudson twice drove home Casey Blake, who reached base four times.
After two solid outings, Garland scuffled through his third start since joining the Dodgers for the playoff chase in a trade with Arizona on Aug. 31. The right-hander yielded six hits and two runs while walking three, never retiring the side in order until the sixth.
"It was definitely a grind out there," Garland said. "As long as we keep playing good baseball, things are going to work out. The speed, the power, the ability to get on the basepaths -- it's great to play with these guys."
The Dodgers secured Garland's second win with the club by tagging McCutchen (0-2) for seven hits and four runs in the right-hander's third career start. Less than three weeks after making the big leagues, McCutchen soaked up the chance to pitch at Dodger Stadium -- even if the result wasn't great.
"I definitely went out there with not my best stuff," McCutchen said. "That's a great ballclub, and pitching in front of this crowd and this atmosphere, I really would have liked to come out with my good stuff. I've never pitched in an atmosphere like this."
Los Angeles scored in the first inning on Ramirez's double toward the Mannywood sign near the left-field foul pole, but Lastings Milledge and shortstop Ronny Cedeno teamed up to nail Matt Kemp at the plate as he attempted to score a second run.
Pittsburgh tied it when Cedeno slid headfirst to beat out a two-out infield single and later scored on No. 8 hitter Vazquez's double off the wall. The Dodgers went back ahead later in the fourth inning when James Loney scored on Hudson's double-play grounder.
|Matt Kemp greets Andre Ethier after Ethier's tiebreaking homer in the fifth inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Andrew McCutchen, CF||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.271|
|Andy LaRoche, 3B||3||1||2||0||1||1||0||.248|
|Garrett Jones, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.303|
|Ryan Doumit, C||3||0||0||1||1||0||2||.236|
|Lastings Milledge, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.280|
|Brandon Moss, RF||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.241|
|Ronny Cedeno, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.216|
|Ramon Vazquez, 2B||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.247|
|Daniel McCutchen, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.167|
|Jeff Karstens, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.056|
|Phil Dumatrait, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Steve Pearce, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.225|
|Steven Jackson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Denny Bautista, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chris Bootcheck, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-popped out for Dumatrait in the 7th|
|2B - Garrett Jones (16, Garland), Ramon Vazquez (7, Garland)|
|RBI - Ryan Doumit (30), Ramon Vazquez (16)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ramon Vazquez (8)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Outfield Assists - Lastings Milledge 1|
|DP - Cedeno-G. Jones|
|Daniel McCutchen (L,0-2)||5||7||4||4||2||1||1||5.50|
|HBP - Blake (by Daniel McCutchen)|
|WP - Denny Bautista (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Daniel McCutchen 84-50, Jeff Karstens 13-8, Phil Dumatrait 9-5, Steven Jackson 9-6, Denny Bautista 25-16, Chris Bootcheck 11-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daniel McCutchen 5-7, Phil Dumatrait 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Daniel McCutchen 23, Jeff Karstens 3, Phil Dumatrait 2, Steven Jackson 3, Denny Bautista 4, Chris Bootcheck 2|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Rafael Furcal, SS||5||1||1||0||0||0||5||.255|
|Matt Kemp, CF||3||1||1||0||1||1||0||.305|
|Andre Ethier, RF||4||1||1||2||0||0||2||.282|
|Manny Ramirez, LF||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.306|
|Juan Pierre, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.313|
|James Loney, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.283|
|Casey Blake, 3B||2||2||2||0||1||0||0||.281|
|Russell Martin, C||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.260|
|Orlando Hudson, 2B||4||0||3||2||0||0||0||.290|
|Jon Garland, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.094|
|a- Doug Mientkiewicz, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.300|
|b- Mark Loretta, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.220|
|Hong-Chih Kuo, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|George Sherrill, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c- Jim Thome, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.249|
|Jonathan Broxton, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-announced for Garland in the 6th|
|b-flied out for Mientkiewicz in the 6th|
|c-struck out for Sherrill in the 8th|
|2B - Manny Ramirez (21, D. McCutchen), Russell Martin (18, D. Bautista), Orlando Hudson 2 (33, D. McCutchen, Karstens)|
|HR - Andre Ethier (29, D. McCutchen)|
|RBI - Andre Ethier 2 (96), Manny Ramirez (56), Orlando Hudson 2 (60)|
|SB - Rafael Furcal (7, 2nd base off D. McCutchen/Doumit), Matt Kemp (33, 2nd base off D. McCutchen/Doumit)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Hudson|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Jon Garland (W,10-11)||6||6||2||2||3||3||0||4.19|
|Hong-Chih Kuo (H,11)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.55|
|George Sherrill (H,9)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.76|
|WP - Jon Garland (6)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jon Garland 112-73, Hong-Chih Kuo 16-10, George Sherrill 14-10, Jonathan Broxton 11-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Garland 9-5, George Sherrill 1-1, Jonathan Broxton 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Jon Garland 26, Hong-Chih Kuo 3, George Sherrill 3, Jonathan Broxton 3|
|Attendance - 42045|
|Game Time - 3:22|
|Temperature - 69|
|Umpires - Home - C.B. Bucknor, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Gerry Davis, Third Base - Brian Gorman|