Dodgers Huff their way to 7-5 victory over Giants
What a game plan. Worked to perfection. It’s a big field out there, but the Dodgers knew exactly where to hit it. And did, too.
Of course, the Giants knew about this offensive strategy too -- hit it to right-fielder Aubrey Huff!
Hours before the game, reliever Dan Runzler had sprawled out on the right-field grass while teammates outlined his body in tape, leaving the police-type outline meant to be Huff vainly reaching for a fly ball.
I’m thinking Runzler wasn’t finding the humor after the Dodgers’ 7-5 victory Sunday night.
The Dodgers opened the scoring in the first, looking like they were going to make quick work of light-throwing Barry Zito, whose pitches never topped 85 mph. Rafael Furcal singled and then Jamey Carroll hit a sinking drive to Huff.
That would be Huff, who is not exactly light on his feet. Picture a rhino in cleats. Huff charged, or at least ran forward, awkwardly putting out a glove as the ball fell in front of him, skipped under his glove and went almost to the warning track. Where it was chased down by center fielder Andres Torres.
Furcal scored on what was ruled a triple, and then Matt Kemp homered.
After the Giants tied it in the top of the seventh, the Dodgers went back to aiming for right field in the bottom half. Must be a reverse English thing. It can’t be that easy.
The Giants brought in Runzler, who about now is probably a big believer in karma. After James Loney singled, Marcus Thames hit a deep fly to Huff, who turned so many different ways while retreating it looked like he was inventing a dance. Finally the ball went off his outstretched glove. It was ruled a triple.
That scored Loney, pinch-hitter Aaron Miles’ single to right scored Thames, Furcal’s double to right plated Miles, and after a pitching change, Andre Ethier’s single to right scored Furcal -- that’s four consecutive hits to right. Huff did not misplay any of them, but you could tell what the Dodgers were thinking.
The victory enabled the Dodgers to take three of four games from the Giants in their season-opening series. And in each victory, the Giants’ defense provided an assist.
Like it wasn’t part of the Dodgers’ game plan.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Giants right fielder Aubrey Huff hits the wall after falling to the warning track while trying to catch a triple by Dodgers left fielder Marcus Thames in the seventh inning Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Gus Ruelas / Associated Press