Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon tries to break up a double-play turn by Cubs… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)
Dodgers’ chicken and the egg question: What comes first, the swagger or the command?
Both have currently deserted Javy Guerra, who once again blew a save, the Cubs rallying to tie Sunday’s game in the ninth inning, and then almost anti-climatically winning it 4-3 when Jamey Wright’s bases-loaded walk forced in the winning run in the 11th.
Guerra remains a painful mystery for Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. Guerra started the season in excellent fashion, earning saves in seven of his first eight opportunities while sporting a 2.16 earned-run average.
But in his last five games, he is 0-2, has blown two of three chances for saves and has a 13.50 ERA. Mattingly said previously that he thought the young right-hander had lost his "swag," but one again Sunday his command was off.
The Dodgers were one out from a 3-2 victory when Guerra, who already had given up a single and walk, surrendered a run-scoring double to Tony Campana. The game would have ended then, but Mark Ellis took the relay from Andre Ethier and fired home to A.J. Ellis, who tagged out David DeJesus.
Wright pitched a scoreless 10th, but quickly ran into trouble in the 11th. Darwin Barney hit a chopper that went off the glove of third baseman Adam Kennedy and then died on the grass for a double. An intentional walk preceded Wright (1-2) hitting pitcher Jeff Samardzija with a pitch to load the bases.
Then came the bases-loaded walk to DeJesus, and for the Dodgers, a tough ending to a 2-4 road trip.
The day started miserably enough with a rain delay of 2 hours 41 minutes. Even before that the Dodgers scratched Matt Kemp with a sore hamstring (he later pinch hit to keep alive his streak of having played in 393 consecutive games). Then they lost Jerry Hairston Jr. in the second inning to a strained left hamstring.
Still, with Aaron Harang pitching well, it seemed the Dodgers would leave Chicago with the victory.
With Matt Garza still battling the flu and unable to start for the second consecutive day, the Cubs called up left-hander Travis Wood from triple A.
The Dodgers opened the scoring after Hairston strained his hamstring running out an infield hit. By the time he reached the first-base bag, Hairston was in pain. He almost immediately left the game, though his hit would lead to the Dodgers’ first run.
Kennedy took over for Hairston and, after consecutive walks, scored when Harang bounced out.
The Dodgers took a 3-0 lead in the third inning when Mark Ellis singled and scored on Juan Rivera’s home run through a flock of seagulls making left field their temporary home. It was Rivera's second home run of the season.
Harang gave up his only runs in the bottom of the inning after Wood doubled and DeJesus walked. Following a groundout that advanced the runners, they both scored on a single by Starlin Castro to make it a 3-2 game.
And that’s the way it remained for the rest of the chilly, gray afternoon until the ninth inning.