On the way to their latest walk-off victory, the Dodgers ran into trouble.
Top of the ninth inning. Score tied. Runner on second base. No outs.
But Jonathan Broxton emerged unscathed.
Broxton struck out Martin Prado. With Brooks Conrad standing on third base, he struck out Omar Infante. Then Jason Heyward.
"The game is not speeding up for him," Manager Joe Torre said of Broxton. "He's keeping the game at a manageable pace. He got some tough hitters out in a tough situation."
Two innings later, A.J. Ellis drove in Russell Martin and the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves, 5-4.
"Being around for a little bit, you learn how to pitch," said Broxton, who lowered his earned-run average to 1.03.
After giving up a leadoff double to Conrad, Broxton said the key was to not let Prado get a bunt down.
"You've got him on third with one out on a bunt," he said.
Broxton got ahead of Prado and got him to chase a high fastball for strike three. Although Conrad stole third base and forced Broxton to face Infante with a man on third with one out, the closer said he felt his strikeout of Prado was significant.
"Once I got that out, it took some air out of them," Broxton said.
Draft: Another pitcher?
The Dodgers are selecting 28th in the amateur draft Monday and Logan White, the team's assistant general manager, hinted that they probably will pick a high school pitcher. The Dodgers have selected high school pitchers with their first picks in each of the last seven drafts, among them Chad Billingsley in 2003 and Clayton Kershaw in 2006.
"The odds are always great that you're going to be looking at a high school pitcher because that seems to be what every draft has the most of," White said. "We feel comfortable taking pitchers because I think back to how when teams were afraid to take them, we took Billingsley and Broxton. Clayton Kershaw was a high school pitcher."
Ely gets first hit
Playfully mocked for a failed bunt attempt five days ago, John Ely promised to do better with the bat in his hands next time.
The Dodgers' rookie pitcher delivered on his promise Sunday, collecting his first major league hit.
That the hit came on a dribbler made no difference to Ely.
"I got enough of it," Ely said.
You mean you reached the grass?
But Ely had a tough day on the mound, turning in his worst performance since his debut. He gave up four runs in five innings, including three on two fifth-inning home runs, the first two given up by Ely.
The Dodgers still haven't decided whether to put third baseman Casey Blake on the disabled list. Blake said his back felt better when he hit off a tee and fielded grounders. "I'm going to have a full workout tomorrow," he said. "We should know a lot more after that." …Torre said reliever George Sherrill probably will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday. Sherrill struck out two batters in a scoreless inning for triple-A Albuquerque.… Outfielder Manny Ramirez caught the ceremonial first pitch, which was delivered by Jose Lima Jr., the son of the late Dodgers pitcher…. Nick Green, who was designated for assignment May 28, cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Albuquerque.
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