Whoa! Where to begin.
Well, in short, the Dodgers go 7-1 to achieve their best record since 1981 by beating the Padres 9-8 tonight in a dramatic walk-off walk; this coming after starting pitcher, Aaron Harang, struck out 9 straight Padres, a new Dodger record. And somewhere in between, there were 4 straight walks for the Padres in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, an 8 to 3 blown lead by the Dodgers, and Jansen, who walked 2 and gave up the tying run with a blown save, somehow gets the win.
It was Friday the 13 alright.
It started in the first three innings when Aaron Harang stuck out 9 straight batters. He now holds the Dodger record, which is just past Johny Padres’ 8 straight K’s against the Phillies in 1962. Harang was only one shy of tying the MLB record of 10 straight by Tom Seaver of the Mets in 1970.
Then things got more interesting.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Dodgers put Sellers and Ellis on base with Harang coming up. At this point there were no outs. Harang ended up striking out, attempting to sacrifice-bunt both players over. And this is where I think Harang lost it mentally. As he came walking towards the dugout, he threw his bat in disgust, as if he had just allowed the game winning home run in the world series, yet he was completely dominating on the mound.
The Dodgers ended up scoring 4 in that inning, but more importantly (depending on who you ask), Harang let that at bat get to his head for not advancing the runners. Now, add a long half-inning while the Dodgers are scoring all these runs and Harang all of a sudden has a whole lot of time to cool off, think about his 9 straight K’s, and his failed attempt to move over the runners.
The next batter Harang faced, Will Venable, hit a no-doubt-about-it home-run. And the batter who followed, walked. The Padres ended up scoring 3 runs in that inning, inching ever closer and further messing with Harang’s head, who went from a near-MLB record, to an even closer 4 run blown lead.
The score is now 4-3, Dodgers.
In the bottom of the 4th the Dodgers came out breathing fire. Sellers and Ellis each had a double to begin the inning and Harang was able to avenge himself, this time successfully laying down the bunt. Kemp hit his 3rd home run of the season and the Dodgers, just like that, ended up with another 4 on the board, putting them up 8-3.
We roll to the 7th inning and things get interesting yet again. Harang retires Hudson for the first out, but then walks a batter, forcing Mattingley to bring the hook at over 110 pitches. Harang ended up with an impressive career-high tying 13 K’s, the Dodger record for consecutive strikeouts, and a well deserved standing ovation from the crowd.
Then, Coffey comes in and gives up a double, a single, and hits a batter. And then it’s reliever Scott Elbert’s turn to try and bail him out. He gives up a walk and an RBI sac-fly. And all of sudden, it’s an 8-6 game.
Fast forward to the top of the 9th inning and we have Jansen replacing Lindblum. He gives up a lead-off walk but then proceeds to strike out Parrino and Blanks, so everything seems to be under control again. There’s 2 outs in the top of the 9th and Chad Headley comes up. Jansen works him on a 2-1 count and the crowd begins to get on its feet. Jansen then tries to come in with a 90 mph cutter and Headley proceeds to put it in the right center-field bleachers.
Lead-off walks kill! 2-run home-run, Padres. Tie ball game.
And of course, there’s more.
Dee Gordon, who didn’t start tonight, replaces Jansen to lead off the bottom of the 9th inning. He is fooled pretty bad and stikes out. Tony Gwynn Jr. then grounds out to short-stop.
2 outs. Everyone’s thinking extra’s.
Mark Ellis comes up and draws a walk from Cashner, followed by another by Matt Kemp, and yet another by the pinch-hitting, 1 for 19 Loney.
Bases are loaded now with walk-off-Ethier himself at bat. The submarine lefty, Joe Thatcher, replaces Cashner and ends up (…wait for it…) walking Ethier on 4 straight pitches! (Not 1 strike).
Game over! Dodgers win 9-8, go 7-1 to start the season, and are only 2 straight wins away from their 1981 record of 9-1.
So you can’t say that Friday 13th was unlucky for the Dodgers, but it sure was a strange one…
Other Dodger notes:
- Vin Scully sadly missed his 4th straight game tonight with the flu, and will likely miss tomorrow’s game as well. He is expected to be back on Sunday, though.
- The Federal judge approves Dodger sale!
- All fans in attendance got a free ticket for going during “poor weather conditions”.
- Darth vader throws out the first pitch (and poses for pictures).
- Fireworks to top it all off.