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Are You Balking Kidding Me?

From AZ Snakepit where the frustration level is higher than than a towering Manny Ramirez hair pile home run.

There's nothing I can say. In my last recap, I wondered how low this team could go. I didn't think that things could get much worse than that 12-1 drubbing at the hands of the Giants. But they have.

A two-run error blew the Diamondbacks' lead in the eighth innings, and then a walk-off balk... I'll repeat that, a walk-off balk gave the Dodgers  the victory, and sent Arizona spiraling to their eighth consecutive defeat.

Put a fork in the season. It's done.

 

Official Recap:

Sports Network | June 1, 2010

 

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Casey Blake scored the game-winning run on a Esmerling Vasquez balk in the ninth inning, as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied from a four-run deficit to stun the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-4, in the first of three games at Dodger Stadium.

Manny Ramirez hit career home run No. 550 -- a solo shot -- in the win for the Dodgers, who have posted victories in three of their last four games. Matt Kemp went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Rafael Furcal added two hits and a run scored in the win.

Chad Billingsley lasted eight innings and gave up four runs on six hits while fanning a season-high 11 without walking a batter. Jonathan Broxton (3-0) picked up the win for throwing a scoreless ninth inning.

"A balk-off?" joked Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "Casey started off the third base line, Vasquez stopped, and it was a balk. We lucked out. It was nice to win the ball game."

The bizarre ending overshadowed the return of Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier. Ethier, who broke his finger earlier this month and sat out the team's last 15 games, had been leading each of the league's triple crown categories at the time of his injury and went 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup.

Justin Upton hit a two-run homer, while Chris Young and Chris Snyder each hit a solo home run for the Diamondbacks, who lost their season-worst eighth consecutive game.

Rodrigo Lopez was solid in the start, allowing four runs -- two earned -- on six hits and a walk in eight frames. Vasquez (0-1) suffered the loss after his first career balk.

"I saw what he did. He flinched," said Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch on Vasquez. "It was simple to see -- I didn't talk to anybody. Lopez did everything you could ask. This one stings. This team needs a win. It's frustrating for our club."

Down by two heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers took advantage of a pair of errors on one play to tie the score.

After Lopez retired the first two batters, Furcal singled and moved to third on Kemp's double down the left field line. Ethier followed with a ground ball toward the second baseman Kelly Johnson, who was unable to field the ball cleanly. After he finally regained possession of the ball, Johnson fired erratically to first, allowing Ethier to reach first and both runners to score for a 4-4 game.

Broxton proceeded to hold Arizona scoreless in the ninth, and Los Angeles won it in the home half.

Facing Vasquez, James Loney worked a leadoff walk, and Blake fisted a single through the middle to put runners on first and second with nobody out.

With Russell Martin trying to bunt the runners over, Vasquez threw two consecutive balls. On the second pitch, third baseman Mark Reynolds went over to say something to the pitcher, prompting Loney to take off from second. The Diamondbacks, though, caught Loney in a rundown for the first out, as Blake advanced to second.

Blake moved to third on a groundout, and, with Blake DeWitt at the plate, Blake bluffed a steal toward home. The move startled Vasquez, who leaned forward for the balk that plated the game-winning run.

"I thought it was a good time to try (to bluff) because I didn't think he would pay any attention to me," Blake said of the final play.

Johnson opened the game with a double to right, and Upton followed with a blast that just cleared the right-field wall for an early 2-0 Arizona lead.

The Diamondbacks used the longball some more in the second, doubling their lead on solo shots from Young and Snyder.

Ramirez answered with a solo blast in the home half to cut the Dodgers' deficit to three, and DeWitt walked, moved to third on a double and scored in the third on a Kemp base hit for a 4-2 game.

Both offenses were shut down from that point, as both teams recorded just one baserunner apiece through the middle of the eighth.

The Dodgers have won five straight over Arizona and lead the season series, 6-1...Ramirez passed Frank Robinson for 18th on the all-time RBI list with his 1,813th. Al Simmons is 17th with 1,827...This is the third time Billingsley and Lopez have faced each other, and the Dodgers have won two of the three matchups...LA finished its May schedule 20-8, tied for the best in the league with Atlanta...The Dodgers optioned outfielder Xavier Paul to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Ethier...The Dodgers improved to 16-5 against NL West opponents...The Diamondbacks fell to just 11-2 when homering twice or more...This marks the first game that has ended on a balk since September 9, 2008, when Rockies pitcher Taylor Buchholz balked home then-Braves second baseman Johnson for the game-winning run.