Saturday, August 30, 2014

Game of the Day (8/29/14)

Padres 3, Dodgers 2 (12). LA's Dan Haren faced San Diego's Andrew Cashner. Before looking it up, I never would have guessed that the two of them are separated by a mere 6 years in age (Haren is 33, Cashner 27 - both born in mid-September, actually).

Cashner was perfect in the first two innings; Haren allowed a single to Abraham Almonte in the bottom of the first, then saw him caught stealing. Yasmani Grandal drew a walk to start the second; Jedd Gyorko grounded to second and Dee Gordon committed a throwing error that put both runners in scoring position, and Rene Rivera hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the game's first run. Haren recorded the next two outs to end the inning, and the Dodgers tied it in the third on singles by Justin Turner, AJ Ellis, and Hanley Ramirez.

Cashner led off the third with a bunt single (!) before being forced at second. The Dodgers went down in order in the fourth, and San Diego pulled ahead again in the bottom of the inning on singles by Rivera, Rymer Liriano, and Alexi Amarista. Turner led off the fifth with a double and moved to third before being stranded. Haren was perfect in the fifth, and the Dodgers got singles from Ramirez and Matt Kemp in the sixth, but Ramirez tried and failed to stretch his hit into a double, defusing a potential rally. Haren then threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning.

The starters were both pulled to begin the seventh. Nick Vincent worked around a Turner single in the top of the inning, while Jamey Wright was spotless in the bottom. Dale Thayer relieved in the top of the eighth and allowed only one hit - but it was a game-tying Ramirez homer. Wright walked Yangervis Solarte in the bottom of the inning, and JP Howell issued a one-out free pass to Seth Smith, but the two of them combined with Brian Wilson on a scoreless inning to preserve the newfound tie.

Both teams threatened in the ninth. Kevin Quackenbush loaded the bases on an Andre Ethier single and walks to Ellis and Scott Van Slyke before Gordon hit into a force to leave all three runners on. Rivera greeted Pedro Baez with a single in the bottom of the inning, and pinch runner Cameron Maybin was bunted to second; a strikeout, an intentional walk, and a flyout ended the inning and sent the game to extras.

Blaine Boyer walked Miguel Rojas in the tenth, but left him on, and Carlos Frias retired the Padres in order in the bottom of the inning. Ethier led off the eleventh with a single, but Boyer stranded him as well; Brandon League then set San Diego's hitters down 1-2-3. Adrian Gonzalez managed a two-out single against Tim Stauffer in the twelfth, but the Dodgers got nothing else in the inning.

Kevin Correia relieved in the bottom of the twelfth, and the Padre bats awakened, after a fashion. Amarista led off with a single; one out later, Solarte walked. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base, and Almonte then walked to load the bases. Smith grounded into a force at home, but Grandal singled to score Solarte with the winning run.

The Dodgers had the (relatively) flashy individual hitting in this game - Hanley Ramirez and Justin Turner had three hits apiece, including two doubles and a homer; Hanley drove in both of his team's runs, and Turner scored the one that wasn't the home run. The Padres, on the other hand, had nary an extra-base hit in the game, but they countered with the impressive pitching numbers - their staff combined on 15 strikeouts and 3 walks (including 8 and 0 for starter Andrew Cashner), as opposed to 9 and 6 for LA.

As it happens, those two sides of things roughly balanced out. That left fielding as the difference maker - and it was Dee Gordon's second-inning error that set up the first Padre run, one that ended up providing the game's winning margin.

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