Sports Network | June 1, 2010
(Sports Network) - The Diamondbacks got off a quick start on Monday, as Justin Upton, Chris Young and Chris Snyder all homered in the first two innings of this series opener to give their club a quick four-run lead.
However, the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez got his team on the board in the second inning with a solo homer, the 550th of his career, and Los Angeles eventually tied the game in the eighth after Kelly Johnson's error allowed both Rafael Furcal and Matt Kemp to score.
The Dodgers then won the game, 5-4, in the ninth inning when Casey Blake come home on Esmerling Vasquez's balk with two outs.
"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 victory, the Dodgers' third in four games, improved them to 16-5 versus the National League West this year and came in the opener of a 13-game homestand. Los Angeles also maintained its two-game deficit behind San Diego in the race for first place in the NL West.
The odd ending overshadowed the comeback of Andre Ethier, who had missed Los Angeles' previous 15 games due to broken finger. He went 0-for-4 in his return to the lineup.
Arizona slipped to its eight straight loss, its longest skid since a nine-game slump from Aug. 5-14, 2004. Yesterday's setback marked the first time since Sept. 8, 2008 that a game ended on a balk. Coincidentally, Johnson was a part of that one as well, as the then-Atlanta Brave trotted home on a balk versus Colorado.
"I saw what he did. He flinched," said Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch of Vasquez's miscue. "It was simple to see -- I didn't talk to anybody. This one stings. This team needs a win. It's frustrating for our club."
The Diamondbacks could be without slugger Mark Reynolds, who exited last night's game early due to a nagging right quad injury. He is day-to-day and is batting .225 with 12 homers and 39 RBI in 50 games this year.
Arizona's Dan Haren could use Reynolds' bat as he again tries to solve his season-long issues that suddenly include keeping the ball in the yard.
Haren gave up a season-high eight runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings of a loss to the Rockies on Thursday, allowing four homers for a second consecutive outing. He has yielded 16 homers in 74 innings this year, giving up three in a row versus Colorado in the seventh inning, after yielding 27 in 229 1/3 innings a season ago.
"I am having trouble keeping the ball in the yard and it's obviously frustrating. I've never dealt with anything like this," said Haren, who is 1-3 with a 7.92 earned run average in his last four starts and 5-4 with a 5.35 ERA this season.
Haren is 4-5 with a 3.70 ERA in his career versus the Dodgers, and that includes a loss on May 11 in which he gave up four runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings, though he did strike out a season high-tying 10 batters.
Rookie John Ely has been outstanding for the Dodgers since he was inserted into the rotation and looks to get back in the win column tonight after losing a pitchers' duel last time out.
Ely had a three-start win streak end on Thursday despite allowing just a run on four hits over a season-high 7 1/3 innings versus the Cubs. He carried a shutout into the eighth inning, but was on the wrong end of a 1-0 decision.
The 24-year-old righty hasn't allowed more than two runs in a start since his MLB debut on April 28, when he gave up five versus the Mets, and is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He owns a win over Arizona after holding the club to a pair of runs over six innings on May 11.
The Dodgers are 6-1 versus the Diamondbacks this year and have won nine of the last 11 meetings between the clubs.