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DODGERS 5, ARIZONA 4

Dodgers overcome five double plays

They rally for four runs in the eighth inning to defeat Diamondbacks and maintain lead over Colorado.

September 09, 2009|DYLAN HERNANDEZ | ON THE DODGERS

PHOENIX — Something odd happened at Chase Field on Tuesday night.

The clock turned back.

The Dodgers went from being essentially a .500 team in the second half of the season to the club that used to somehow win on nights it appeared doomed for defeat.

This didn't feel like September.

It felt like April, May or June.

In a game in which they equaled a franchise record by hitting into five double plays, the Dodgers erased a three-run deficit with two out in the eighth inning to earn a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks and maintain a share of the best record in the National League with St. Louis.

"Recently, we haven't been that club," Manager Joe Torre said. "Hopefully, tonight is a good sign."

One out away from the bottom of the eighth, six Dodgers in a row reached base, five of them with hits.

A single by James Loney tied the score, 4-4. An infield single by Ronnie Belliard put the Dodgers ahead.

Hong-Chih Kuo threw a scoreless eighth, Jonathan Broxton pitched for the seventh time in 10 days to earn his 34th save and the Dodgers remained 3 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Colorado Rockies in the National League West.

"Guys get frustrated, but that's the great thing about having a lot of veteran guys on this team," said Andre Ethier, who drove in Rafael Furcal to get the Dodgers to within a run. "Guys have been in situations like that and they aren't panicking."

Among them is Belliard, who was a late addition to the 2006 Cardinals team that won the World Series.

For a team to do something special, Belliard said, it has to win games like this.

Belliard didn't know where he had hit the ball that knocked in the go-ahead run until he was told by reporters.

"My guess is it went over the pitcher," he said.

No, it went to the right of Esmerling Vasquez, who slipped on the mound.

The Dodgers continued to make their games the refuge for pitchers incapable of getting anyone out, as they scored only one run in seven innings against Billy Buckner, who went into the day with an earned-run average of 8.29.

In a loss to San Diego four days earlier, the Dodgers were blanked over six innings by Wade LeBlanc, who had an ERA of 9.58.

Two weeks ago in Cincinnati, Homer Bailey dropped his ERA from 6.82 to 6.04 by shutting them out over eight innings.

Buckner gave up a first-inning double to Ethier that scored Furcal but not much after that.

With Russell Martin, Furcal, Loney, Matt Kemp and Belliard grounding into double plays over the next six innings, Buckner faced only one batter more than the minimum the rest of the way.

The Dodgers managed to get only one man into scoring position after the first inning.

Then there was the issue of Chad Billingsley, who avoided a fourth consecutive loss but still didn't look like himself, as he was charged with four runs, eight hits and three walks over six innings.

Billingsley gave up two runs in the first inning.

Stephen Drew singled, Gerardo Parra doubled, Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds hit sacrifice flies to right field, and the Diamondbacks were ahead, 2-1.

Brandon Allen doubled to start to the bottom of the second and scored on an infield single by Buckner.

Buckner drove in another run in the sixth, when he knocked in Augie Ojeda with a two-out double to right-center to extend the Diamondbacks' lead to 4-1.

"Between the leg problems and the lack of wins, he's not there yet as far as trusting his stuff," said Torre, who thought Billingsley was trying to be perfect.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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