The Dodgers faced a disaster Saturday at Chavez Ravine, just what they needed.
His name was Mike Pelfrey, a pitcher for the New York Mets, or so the media guide stated. But in truth, Pelfrey hadn’t been much of a pitcher lately, statistics indicated. In fact, he had been historically awful.
Entering Saturday’s game, Pelfrey was the first National League pitcher since 1900 – that’s right, 1900 – to allow more than 50 baserunners (walks, hits, hit batsman) while recording fewer than 50 outs over a four-game span.
The slumping Dodgers, who were 3-7 in their previous 10 games, couldn’t have hoped/prayed for anything better. But they managed only two runs against Pelfrey, and the the L.A. bullpen (not surprisingly) blew that lead.
Then, each bullpen tussled it out into the 13th inning, when James Loney hit a walk-off home run against Oliver Perez to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win before an announced crowd of 43,506 at Dodger Stadium.
The game started off well enough for the Dodgers. Mets shortstop Jose Reyes lost a Rafeal Furcal ground ball in the sun in the first inning. Then Pelfrey threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt, and Furcal advanced to third. He later scored on Xavier Paul's sacrifice fly, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers added another run in the fourth inning when Blake DeWitt tripled and catcher Brad Ausmus, who was playing in his first game since April 8 after being out because of back surgery, singled him home.
Carlos Monasterios, the Dodgers’ No. 5 starter du jour, held up his end, throwing five innings of shutout ball, giving up six hits and one walk. But Dodgers Manager Joe Torresaid before the game that Monasterios, who was making his seventh start, would likely throw only 80 to 90 pitches.
And when Monasterios hit that 80-pitch mark, the Dodgers pulled him for reliever James McDonald, who started the sixth inning.
Things started to unravel from there.
McDonald gave up an RBI single to Mets catcher Rod Barajas and got yanked for Jack Taschner, who lasted two batters, the second of whom singled to tie the score.
Travis Schlichting replaced Taschner and got an inning-ending double play. Then Schlichting was replaced by Kenley Jensen, the 22-year-old former catcher who had never pitched before last season and was called up from double-A Chattanooga on Friday.
Jensen pitched an impressive 1-2-3 seventh inning, then came All-Star Hong-Chih Kuo, who gave Torre a 1-2-3 eighth, even though it was the fourth time he had pitched in five days.
Closer Jonathan Broxton, who suffered from food poisoning earlier this week, pitched a hitless ninth and 10th inning, and Jeff Weaver didn't give up any hits either in the 11th or 12th.
The Dodgers offense, though, had struggled to that point, and failed to score in the 12th even after getting runners on first and third and no outs. But Loney's home run, which came on a 90-mph fastball with the count 1-0, made up for all that.
The Dodgers close out their four-game series with the Mets on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw (9-5, 3.15 ERA) will face Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (6-4, 2.73 ERA).
-- Baxter Holmes
Photo: Matt Kemp grabs James Loney after the Dodgers first baseman hit a game-winning home run in the 13th inning Saturday and was engulfed by teammates. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images