Maybe it’s just the residue of the last week or so, but even when today’s game was tied at 2 after eight innings, it still felt like “same old, same old”. Adrian Gonzalez & Andre Ethier were hitless again, and even the two runs the Dodgers had scored hardly felt like signs of offensive dominance, coming as they did on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch. While Chris Capuano had been far from overwhelming, he’d been good enough, and so the Dodgers entered the ninth even.
Still, I’m having a hard time saying there was a lot of optimism around. Ronald Belisario looked shaky in the eighth and hadn’t escaped easily, and with the way the Giants have been pulling magic out of every orifice lately, how easily was it to forecast a San Francisco walkoff win? They’d take the series, put something close to a dagger into the divisional hopes of the Dodgers, and the angry mobs would start burning Gonzalez in effigy.
How else could it end?
For once… in happiness. Gonzalez led off the ninth with a triple (!) to deep right, his first of the year. Well, okay, even blind squirrels find that nut, but as we learned yesterday against Tim Lincecum, even when the Dodgers do get men in scoring position, they’ve had difficulty stringing anything together. But not today: Hanley Ramirez followed with a double, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead that they’d turn into a 3-2 win.
That’s not to say it ended easily, because Ramirez & Andre Ethier each ran into outs on the bases following the run, and Alex Castellanos nearly turned a deep fly to left into an inside-the-park homer for Gregor Blanco in the bottom of the ninth. (It ended up as a double.) But Brandon League, wonderful Brandon League, continued his excellent run in filling in for Kenley Jansen to hold it down in the ninth.
I don’t know if winning two out of three in this series will be enough. I do know that Clayton Kershaw on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow night makes for appointment television.