James Loney's single in 10th lifts Dodgers over Nationals, 3-2
When a team is losing, nothing seems to go its way. Not the calls, not the bounces, not the breaks.
Then when it finally does, the skies open up. Sunshine and good times feel everywhere.
Including Saturday night in the 10th inning, when James Loney lined a bases-loaded single to right field to present the Dodgers with a much-needed 3-2 victory over the Nationals.
With the Padres, Giants and Rockies -- the teams ahead of them in the National League West standings -- losing Saturday, it made for a night when plenty went the Dodgers' way.
It started in the bottom of the 10th when pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard drew a leadoff walk from Sean Burnett. Scott Podsednik, unable to get a sacrifice bunt down, them poked a single to right, sending Belliard to third.
The Nationals brought right-fielder Michael Morse in as an extra infielder against Ryan Theriot. And with the infield in, Theriot bounced out right to Morse playing near second base.
Andre Either was then intentionally walked before Loney got his hit to right to win the game and make a winner out of Jonathan Broxton (4-3).
The game began as though someone was trying to play a cruel joke on the Dodgers. A team almost desperate to jump out in front fell behind before Vin Scully could warm up his voice.
Hiroki Kuroda, who had lasted four innings in his last start, walked Roger Bernadina to lead off the game. One out later, Ryan Zimmerman drilled his 22nd home run, a shot to center field.
Three batters into the game, and the Dodgers were down, 2-0.
Meanwhile, Livan Hernandez started off like he wanted to join baseball's immortals. He had a perfect game going for 3 1/3 innings.
That ended when Theriot lined a hit past second baseman Adam Kennedy. Ethier followed with a double off the right-field wall that advanced Theriot to third.
After Loney walked to load the bases, Matt Kemp -- mired in an 0-for-11 skid -- sent a fly to deep right.
Morse backed up to the wall, timed his leap perfectly and caught the ball with his glove on top of the wall to take a grand slam from Kemp.
All, however, was hardly lost for the Dodgers.
Theriot tagged up and scored for what went as a long sacrifice fly. Kennedy fielded the cut-off throw from Morse and, apparently noticing Loney had strayed off the bag, threw to first.
Apparently he had not noticed that first baseman Adam Dunn had backed him up on the throw and was nowhere near first. His throw sailed past first base coach Mariano Duncan for an embarrassing error and Ethier trotted home with the tying run.
Kuroda gave up a pair of one-out singles in the second and did not allow another runner. He retired the last 17 batters he faced before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh.
Kuroda gave up the two runs on three hits. He was a model of efficiency after the second. He walked one and struck out eight. He threw 88 pitches, 66 for strikes.
Hernandez also left after seven innings for a pinch-hitter. Hernandez, who came in 9-15 with a 4.86 earned-run average in his career against the Dodgers, gave up five hits and two walks.
-- Steve Dilbeck