The 2011 Dodgers season has been mostly an exercise in futility, and for Rafael Furcal it has been downright hellish. However, the Dodger shortstop broke out of his slump with a great night Saturday night, capping a comeback with a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Dodgers a 7-6 win over the Nationals at Dodger Stadium.
Furcal has had two long stints on the disabled list this season, once with a broken thumb and once with a strained oblique. In the three weeks since his return from his latest DL stint, Furcal had five singles in 49 at-bats, and on the season was hitting just .165/.220/.200 on the season entering tonight. However, tonight Furcal reached base four times. In addition to his game-winning double, Furcal singled, walked, and was hit by a pitch. He scored a run, and also made two stellar plays in the field.
Ted Lilly wasn't so hot on the mound tonight, allowing six runs in five innings of work, but he did set a new career high with three runs batted in. Lilly had three hits in 56 at-bats in his nearly one calendar year as a Dodger before lining a two-run double in the third inning to pull the Dodgers within a run at 6-5.
The Dodgers tied the game on a wild pitch in the seventh, which scored pinch runner Eugenio Velez. The double by Furcal was just the second walk-off of his career, and his first as a Dodger. When he was with Atlanta, Furcal finished off a win against the Expos with a bases loaded walk on July 5, 2003.
Today would have been Don Drysdale's 75th birthday, and he was honored before the game. His sons D.J. and Darren threw out ceremonial first pitches and more than 50 members of the Drysdale family were in attendance. The Dodgers also produced a nearly four-minute video tribute, which is just magnificent, and includes, among other things Drysdale's call of Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series.
For more news and information on the Dodgers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.