Actually, Lilly had one of the weirder lines I can remember seeing. Yes, he allowed six earned runs in 4.2 innings (the last of which was yet another inherited runner allowed in by Mike MacDougal), and yes, he allowed three dingers to Casper Wells, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez, pushing his season total to 15. But he also struck out eight Tigers, against just one walk. That means that eight of the fourteen outs he managed to get went down via strikeout. Lilly’s short stint meant the bullpen had to shoulder half the load, and the five relievers who followed were a mixed bag. Blake Hawksworth & Javy Guerra each contributed a clean inning (good) and Kenley Jansen struck out four in his 1.2 (better), but Matt Guerrier allowed two hits and a Don Kelly homer (bad).
At least the offense perked up a bit, collecting 13 hits, three of which came off the bat of Matt Kemp, who also stole his 21st base of the season. However, they were doomed by the lack of power, as Kemp’s first-inning triple was the only Dodger hit which was not a single. He reached base in each of his five plate appearances, including walking in the ninth to put the winning run on. James Loney had run-scoring hits in the first and the fifth and another single in the ninth, continuing his ongoing hot streak; he now has more hits in June than he did in April, and there’s still eight days left in the month.
As seems to be their style lately, the Dodgers showed some life in the ninth, loading the bases on singles by Andre Ethier and Loney around a Kemp walk. With one out and three on, Casey Blake hit for Dee Gordon. When the move was announced, I was asked by a friend if I supported the move, with the premise being that even if Gordon didn’t have Blake’s power, he was also far less likely to hit into a double play. At the time, I said I didn’t mind, reasoning that Blake was much more likely to show some power with a homer, or at least with a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to one.
Blake struck out, leaving the game to Dioner Navarro – and is it just me, or does it seem like every game comes down to Navarro or Rod Barajas in the ninth? In retrospect, I might have saved Blake for Navarro’s spot, though it’s unlikely Don Mattingly would have chosen to forgo the switch-hitting Navarro’s platoon advantage. Navarro actually gave the ball a ride and came within inches of being a walk-off hero, but Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson tracked down the liner feet from the warning track to end the threat and the game.
With the loss, the Dodgers fall to 34-42, seven games behind the division-leading Diamondbacks. Tomorrow’s a day off, before starting a series against the Angels on Friday. And who doesn’t love watching the Dodgers play the Angels? Oh, right: us.