Dodgers walk past Angels in 10th
Pierre's bases-loaded free pass evens Freeway Series
LOS ANGELES -- Nobody has had the variety of views of the Dodgers' evolution the past three seasons as has Saturday's starting pitcher, Randy Wolf."I've seen it from three angles -- as a teammate in '07 when they were a lot younger, in '08 against them and now. And the biggest change from '07 to now is the huge maturity level of the core of young players," Wolf said after the Dodgers beat the Angels, 5-4, on Juan Pierre's walk-off walk in the 10th inning.
Wolf, who drew his seventh no-decision of the season, said that this version of the Dodgers is the kind of club that can rebound, not only from the frustrations of its wasteful 3-1 loss Friday night, but from falling behind, 4-1, when he allowed a three-run homer to Torii Hunter in the fifth inning."With the experience of last year's playoffs," said Wolf, "they don't panic. They stay on an even keel, if they're in a slump or lose a tough game, they realize to start new the next game. We've done a real good job with that. The young core has seemed to mature together and take on leadership roles on and off the field." After falling behind, the Dodgers immediately responded off John Lackey with RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth by Russell Martin (who earlier doubled in the first Dodgers run) and James Loney. In the eighth, Loney started the tying rally when he led off with a gift double, as left fielder Juan Rivera's throw beat Loney to the bag, but second baseman Howard Kendrick, apparently unaware there was a play, didn't try to tag Loney. One out later, Casey Blake tied the game with one of his three clutch hits, the third coming in the winning rally off Jose Arredondo that started with Matt Kemp's broken-bat single. Blake singled Kemp to second. Juan Castro, hitting for winning reliever Jonathan Broxton, tried to bunt, but Arredondo wouldn't let him, walking him on five pitches to bring up Pierre. "He walked the guy ahead of me who was trying to bunt, to give them an out, and he still walked him, so I said to myself I would take a strike and then zone in," said Pierre. The at-bat started with three balls before Arredondo threw two called strikes. The 3-2 fastball was way inside and low and the Dodgers had their third walk-off walk of the season. "I was 0-for-5 before that, swinging at pitches over my head, not being selective enough," said Pierre. "I finally had a good at-bat, the only one, and it proved to be a big one." Manager Joe Torre, having watched the Dodgers extend their division lead after losing Manny Ramirez to suspension, calls his team resilient. "This ballclub has a great deal of determination," he said. "They get frustrated and maybe a year ago the frustration would have mounted to the point of being very much against us. But now, I think the frustration really gets them to be more determined and fight a little harder." The Dodgers bullpen followed Wolf's 6 1/3 innings with 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Ronald Belisario got five outs and Broxton pitched the ninth and 10th innings, adding three strikeouts to a total of 35 in 23 innings. In addition to 11 saves, he's 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA. Belisario, a Major League rookie after 10 Minor League seasons, has a 2.45 ERA and a staff-high 23 appearances. Despite the five runs, the Dodgers stranded 14 runners (including three on the winning pitch) and twice had to deal with Angels manager Mike Scioscia deploying a five-man infield, although neither time did the Dodgers put the ball in play. But the Dodgers also lost cleanup hitter Andre Ethier for at least the final three innings of this game with a split big toenail suffered when he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. Ethier played two more innings before coming out and Torre said he's likely not to play Sunday.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.