Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Josh Johnson was his normal dominant self, pitching eight shutout frames as Florida took the rubber match of a three-game series from Los Angeles, 4-0, at Chavez Ravine.
Johnson (9-3), who lowered his MLB-leading earned run average to 1.70, scattered six hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. The right-hander improved to 33-0 when the Marlins score four or more runs. Those runs were due in large part to Mike Stanton, who hit a three-run shot as part of a four-run second frame. Florida has won three of four.
“We needed a win, it is all about the team,” said Johnson. “I was able to locate my fastball on both sides of the plate. I made pitches when I had to.”
Hiroki Kuroda (7-7) absorbed the loss, giving up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts over seven frames. James Loney had two hits for the Dodgers, who lost for just the third time in their last nine games.
“Our goal was to work his (Johnson’s) pitch count, but he dominated,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. “He is one of the premier pitchers in the league.”
The Marlins scored all of the runs they needed in the second frame, including a towering shot by one of their prized young players. Jorge Cantu singled and Dan Uggla followed by rolling a base hit into left. Cody Ross then drove a two-bagger past Matt Kemp in center, scoring Cantu and moving Uggla to third. Stanton followed by extending his arms and driving a high fly ball to left that carried over the wall for a three-run homer and a 4-0 game.
Los Angeles’ best threat came in the fourth when Andre Ethier and Loney hit consecutive two-out singles. Johnson averted the scoring chance by striking out Casey Blake to end the inning. The Dodgers put Ethier and Loney on again in the sixth, via walk and single respectively, but again Blake failed to deliver, popping out to third.
Russell Martin doubled high off the left-center-field wall in the seventh, but Johnson again buckled down, retiring the next two batters to keep zeroes on the scoreboard.
Jose Veras set down the Dodgers in order in the ninth with two strikeouts.
Johnson came one frame short of his first career shutout…The Dodgers have been blanked four times at home this season…Los Angeles fell to 5-11 versus the National League East. It has 23 wins versus the NL West…Florida is 14-8 at Dodger Stadium since 2004, the best record in the National League during that time…Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal saw his 10-game hitting streak come to an end. Furcal also lost his streak of 12 straight games with a run scored…Kuroda has lost six of his last eight decisions…The Dodgers placed pitcher Ronald Belisario on the restricted list Wednesday, while reinstating pitcher Carlos Monasterios from the 15-day disabled list.