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Gritty Dodgers pull out 7-5 win over Rockies

Unorthodox lineup helps L.A. earn its first victory in extra innings this season.

May 31, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Dodgers' Carl Crawford is congratulated after scoring the winning run during the tenth inning.
Dodgers' Carl Crawford is congratulated after scoring the winning… (Barry Gutierrez / Associated…)

DENVER — A week ago Don Mattingly could have put together a better batting order picking names out of a hat. But with Matt Kemp on the disabled list, A.J. Ellis maybe headed there and Carl Crawford still sore after sliding into an outfield wall, the Dodgers manager considered himself fortunate simply to have nine healthy names to write on his lineup card Friday.

So there was Skip Schumaker starting in center field, Luis Cruz and his .122 average at shortstop and Ramon Hernandez (.167, four runs batted in) catching and batting cleanup.

"That was the best lineup that we had today," Mattingly said.

And it proved to be good enough with Schumaker, Cruz and Hernandez combining to snap a 10th-inning tie and lift the Dodgers and their unorthodox lineup to a 7-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

BOX SCORE: Dodgers 7, Rockies 5

The win was the Dodgers' first in extra innings and the first they've earned in their last at-bat. And it came a half-inning after closer Brandon League blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth on Todd Helton's pinch-hit home run.

Combine that comeback with Monday's win, in which the Dodgers overcame a 6-1 deficit to beat the Angels, and Mattingly's team appears to have found grit the manager asked for.

"We're showing fight. And we're battling," Mattingly said. "We've just got to keep fighting, keep ourselves in this race knowing that there's a ton of baseball left."

Also a ton of ground for the last-place Dodgers to make up. But they prevented themselves from falling any further behind when Hernandez opened the 10th with his second hit of the game. Crawford came on to run for him and moved to third an out later on Schumaker's full-count single to right.

Cruz, who has been struggling all season, then followed with a sharp comebacker that pitcher Rafael Betancourt kicked away, allowing Crawford to score.

"At least I got the job done and we got the win. That's the most important thing for us," said Cruz, who scored the Dodgers' first run and drove in what proved to be the winner.

Schumaker came home two pitches later on a single by Juan Uribe, who had two hits, two runs and two RBIs, the first time he's hit that trifecta this season.

Clayton Kershaw, one of the few recognizable names in Mattingly's lineup, also had two hits and two RBIs to go along with seven strong innings on the mound. But he lost the win he deserved when League gave up a one-out single in the ninth, then battled through an 11-pitch at-bat before Helton tied the game with his second pinch-hit homer of the season.

The blown save was League's second in his last four tries and it left him with a 6.75 earned-run average for May. But this time the newly gritty Dodgers didn't quit.

"I don't know if there's any change mind-set-wise," Kershaw said of the clubhouse mood. "But for us it's just a good confidence-booster. To know that what we did against Anaheim, what we did tonight in extra innings.

"That's just huge momentum-builders for us."

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