For 7 1/3 scoreless innings on Sunday, the Dodgers looked likely to set us up for disappointment. Hiroki Kuroda had sailed through the first seven, allowing just five baserunners before Matt Guerrier threw a clean eighth. After a tough turn around the starting rotation, it was a much-needed boost from the veteran. But yet again, there was absolutely no support from the offense, as Bud Norris and Sergio Escalona held the Dodgers to harmless singles by James Loney and Dioner Navarro, and walks by Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. There’s a reason Kuroda has a losing record both for the season and his career, and it’s because of games like this. How many times have we seen a solid starting pitching performance wasted due to an offense that is barely of a Triple-A caliber? Tony Gwynn flied out to center to start the eighth, and with the bottom up the order due up, it seemed just a matter of time before patchwork bullpen (though buoyed by the returns of Kenley Jansen yesterday and Hong-Chih Kuo today) would allow the Astros to score and complete the sweep.
But not today. Navarro, much-maligned both here and elsewhere, stepped to the plate against Astro reliever Wilton Lopez, who hadn’t allowed a homer in his last 37 appearances. After taking two balls, Navarro flicked a ball just over the fence in right-center. It put the Dodgers up 1-0, and despite getting just three hits, that’s all they’d need as Javy Guerra finished up by inducing three grounders to the left side for his second save.
Kuroda didn’t get the win in the boxscore today – Guerrier did – but I think we all know who deserves that W next to his name.