Tonight's game at Dodger Stadium between the Dodgers and the Rockies was almost two games, or at least two stories. The lead story was the Dodger offense breaking out for eight runs, their most at home since May 31, which led them to an 8-1 lead after eight innings. The backup tale, or B story if you will, came in the top of the ninth, when the Rockies came dangerously close to tying the game, only to be thwarted by an unlikely new bullpen savior for the Dodgers.
Andre Ethier hit his 10th home run of the season, a no-doubter into the right field pavilion to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in the third inning. They tacked on two runs in the sixth and three more in the eighth, building an 8-1 lead. Rubby De La Rosa was effective in his six innings of work, allowing one run and seven baserunners while striking out five, and was thankful for the runs of support, as the Dodgers had only scored nine total runs in his previous six starts.
Hong-Chih Kuo and Mike MacDougal combined to face eight batters in the top of the ninth, but were only able to record one out. Granted, they weren't helped by an error by Jamey Carroll on a potential game-ending double play ball. The molasses-footed Jason Giambi hit a slow ground ball to Carroll with one out, but the second baseman booted it, then rushed to throw to first, forgetting Giambi was running. The throw pulled James Loney off the bag, and helped prolong the inning. But back to Kuo and MacDougal for a moment, they also walked two batters each so they don't get the benefit of the doubt.
Enter Javy Guerra, who began the season in Double A and has almost fallen into the closer role. Guerra earned saves on Saturday and Sunday, and was brought into an 8-5 game with one out, facing Troy Tulowitzki with the bases loaded. Now, FanGraphs tells us the Dodgers' win expectancy at this moment in the game was 84.3%, but it sure seemed like a lot less than that, especially with Tulowitzki at the dish. However, Guerra got him to pop out on one pitch, then got Seth Smith to ground out to end the game.
Three straight saves by Guerra give him the team lead with eight this year. The Dodgers have split 10 games with the Rockies this season. Rafael Furcal had two hits, and has reached base eight times in 15 plate appearances over the last three games. Clayton Kershaw and Jhoulys Chacin face off Tuesday night in the second game of the 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.