<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Triple Threat]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/blogs/triple-threat http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sun, 02 Aug 2015 15:36:05 -0700 Sun, 02 Aug 2015 15:36:05 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Lottery Day: Lakers Look to Get Lucky]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 13:05:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Julius-Randle-NBA-Draft-Lottery_451291514.jpg

On Tuesday, the NBA Draft Lottery will be held in front of an audience of reporters who nervously fidget as they are trapped in a room and shut off from the world until the results have been revealed to the public. After a couple years of bad luck and even worse basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers will be chattering at their fingertips hoping to finally get a lucky bounce.

In the 2014/15 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers finished with the worst record in franchise history. Sixty-one painful losses promised the Lakers the fourth best odds of winning the lottery, 11.9 percent. Twenty-one victories sprinkled over six months of the NBA season gave the Lakers an 82.8 percent chance of finishing in the top five, and finishing in the top five is critical for a franchise attempting to rebound from two historically bad seasons.

As part of the trade for Steve Nash, the Lakers sent the rights to their first round 2015 draft pick to the Phoenix Suns with the stipulation that LA keeps the pick if it falls in the top five. Phoenix has since traded away the rights to that pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, but the Lakers would prefer not to even entertain those thoughts. If the Nash trade has already been declared a disaster, falling out of the top five would officially label it a nuclear bomb.

Winning the lottery would be welcome, but not losing the lottery is imperative.

In order for the Lakers to drop out of the top five, two of the three winning combinations of ping pong balls would need to belong to teams below the Lakers in the lottery order. For those wondering, there is a 17.2 percent chance that the Lakers will fall out of the top five. If this scenario plays out, a collective groan may well be audible in Los Angeles when NBA commissioner Adam Silver reads out the results of the lottery.

Of course, Monday's news that Jordan Clarkson, who was drafted with the no 46 overall pick, had become the first Laker to earn NBA All-Rookie First Team honors in 20 years served as a reminder that draft position does not always beat out good scouting. However, Clarkson's award also provided a reminder that the Lakers could just as easily have lost a couple extra games-- two games against the Philadelphia 76ers, in particular--and snatched the third worst record in the NBA. Actively tanking with that slight bit of extra emphasis would have provided the Lakers far better odds of holding onto their pick, 96 percent.

However, the reality is that the Lakers will be nervously staring at the television screen rubbing their sweaty palms. The no. 1 pick would be celebrated with screams of jubilation, but more than anything, the team could just use any positive outcome that results in a relieved sigh. It would take a powerful stroke of bad luck to lose this draft pick, and the Lakers are hoping they are finally all out of bad luck.

One good bounce of a ping pong ball would go a long way to forgiving the last two years of unwatchable basketball. Perhaps, the Clippers crashing out of the playoffs in fall-on-your-face fashion serves a good omen that order is restored in Los Angeles. Before going too far down that rabbit hole, we should probably keep in mind that the NBA is just pulling ping pong balls out of a lottery machine.

The 2015 NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled to take place prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, which means results should be revealed between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clarkson Named NBA All-Rookie 1st Team]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 17:43:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jordan-Clarkson-NBA-All-Rookie_466556098.jpg

After a surprisingly strong rookie season, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jordan Clarkson earned NBA All-Rookie First Team honors despite being selected in the middle of the second round with the 46th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Clarkson joined Andrew Wiggins, Nikola Mirotic, Nerlens Noel and Elfrid Payton on the 2014/15 All-Rookie First Team. Three of the four players joining Clarkson on the All-Rookie First Team were lottery selections, meaning they were picked in the first 13 picks of the NBA draft. Mirotic was originally drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall selection of the 2011 draft, but the power forward opted to stay in Spain until the start of the 2014/15 season.

Clarkson narrowly edged out Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart in the All-Rookie First Team voting despite being selected 40 picks lower than the Celtics rookie. Other notable players Clarkson edged out included Aaron Gordon (picked 4th), Dante Exum (picked 5th) and Zach LaVine (picked 13).

Described as a humble gym rat, Clarkson earned heavy praise from his teammates and coaches throughout the season. Incidentally, Clarkson joined Lakers coach Byron Scott as one of only 11 Lakers to ever earn the first year honor. Fan favorite Eddie Jones was the last Lakers' rookie to be named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and Jones earned the honor two decades earlier in the 1994/95 NBA season.

Along with his fellow coaches and teammates providing guidance, Clarkson also began working with Steve Nash in one-on-one sessions designed to help the young point guard develop his game and build positive habits during the season. Clarkson jokingly referred to Nash as "Professor Steve" during the season, highlighting the student and teacher relationship between the two players on opposite sides of the NBA timeline. Nash, who did not play in a single game of the 2014/15 NBA season, announced his retirement shortly before the end of the 2014/15 season.

Clarkson grew up in San Antonio and went to Tulsa for two years before transferring to Missouri for his junior season. The Lakers acquired Clarkson's draft rights via the Washington Wizards, who sold the Lakers the no. 46 pick for cash. No coincidence, Clarkson made his first NBA start in his hometown against the world champion San Antonio Spurs.

In 38 games as a starter, Clarkson averaged 15.8 points, 5.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds. Whether he stays on as a starter or moves to the second unit is up for debate, but the 22-year-old has already shown enough to warrant consistent playing time.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bolsinger is Brilliant as Dodgers Defeat Rockies 1-0 on Sunday]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 10:55:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/bolsinger.jpg

One is the loneliest number…unless it's a run and you shutout the opposition. Mike Bolsinger pitched six strong innings of scoreless ball and the Los Angeles Dodgers needed just one run to defeat the Colorado Rockies 1-0 on Sunday.

Yasmani Grandal knocked in Adrian Gonzalez for the game's only run as the Boys in Blue split their four-game series with Colorado to keep them unbeaten (5-0-2) in their last seven series.

"I thought we would get on them that inning," Grandal said about only scoring one run. "But they [the Rockies] were really good today."

The Dodgers did threaten that inning and again in the sixth, but Andre Ethier lined out to center field with the bases-loaded and two outs.

Bolsinger (2-0) was brilliant allowing no runs on three hits with six strikeouts doubling his win total from all of last season and dropping his ERA to 1.04.

"I just go out there and nibble at the corners and make the hitters think when they get up there," Bolsinger said. "I'm not going to be a guy who's just going to go out there and throw it down the middle. I don't throw hard enough to get in people's heads."

Bolsinger did not allow a runner to reach further than first base and made his first quality start of the season.

Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher, and Kenley Jansen combined to pitch perfect 7th, 8th and 9th innings respectively as the four pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout.

Jansen appeared for the first time all-season in his usual role of closer for LA striking out the final batter, earning his first save of the season.

"Since I got that first one out of the way, I feel more comfortable," said Jansen talking about his 8th inning appearance on Friday night. "I was more ready mentally to come in the ninth inning today."

Kyle Kendrick (1-5) pitched well for the Rockies allowing just one run three hits, but was the hard-luck loser, falling for the fifth consecutive time this season.

Daniel Descalso wishes he could play against the Dodgers every series. The shortstop filled in for Troy Tulowitzki for the second consecutive game and went 2-for-3, totaling six total hits in the series. Before that, he was 3-for-35 coming into the weekend.

Charlie Blackmon struck out in the third inning and was ejected by home plate umpire Marty Foster. The Rockies struck out 54 times in the four-game series, with Blackmon representing nine of them.

The Dodgers are second in the league in strikeouts with 343, just two behind the Cleveland Indians (345) for the most in the majors.

Howie Kendrick's eight-game hitting streak was snapped.

Game Notes:
The Dodgers honored Clara Gonzalez a lifetime Los Angeles Dodgers fan and breast cancer survivor before the game.

44,490 were in attendance for the Sunday afternoon game, and the Dodgers eclipsed the one million attendance mark on the season. They are the first MLB team reach the milestone this year.
 

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<![CDATA[Ducks Beat Blackhawks 4-1 in Game 1 ]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 15:12:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/473779886.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks took Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Final over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Sunday afternoon.

The Ducks had a late insurance goal from Nate Thompson and also got an empty netter from Jakub Silfverberg as they won their sixth consecutive home playoff game. Frederik Andersen made 32 saves as he helped the Ducks to a 1-0 series lead. 

The Blackhawks got a power play just over a minute into the game when Corey Perry slashed Patrick Kane in the neutral zone, but it was Anaheim that had the first good scoring chances. Jakub Silfverberg nearly scored a short-handed goal off a Ryan Kesler rebound, but Corey Crawford made the save as the net came off the moorings to keep it scoreless.

After that failed power play, the Blackhawks seemed to take control of the tempo of the contest. Patrick Sharp had a nice one-timer from the slot off of a feed from Teuvo Teravainen, but Frederik Andersen made the save. Kane then got a loose puck in the middle of the ice and nearly scored into an empty cage, but Andersen hit the shot up over the net. Off the ensuing face-off, Sharp got another shot off at the net, but Andersen made the save once again.

The Ducks started pushing back a bit after the midway point of the period, and they ultimately scored to take the lead. David Rundblad failed to break up the zone entry by the Ducks, and Jakub Silfverberg made a gorgeous play as he circled around to the boards and fired a pass back to the point. Hampus Lindholm then ripped a shot in toward the net that evaded Crawford, and the home team grabbed a 1-0 lead.

The Blackhawks had a few more good chances to score late in the first period, but the game-tying goal wasn’t coming. Teravainen established possession through the middle of the slot, but the Hawks couldn’t force in a shot through traffic as the Ducks held onto their lead through 20 minutes of play.

After the intermission, the Ducks started pushing back at the Blackhawks, and they were rewarded with a goal. Johnny Oduya and Rundblad both failed to clear the puck from behind the net, and then Nate Thompson’s shot toward the front was kicked out by Crawford. Kyle Palmieri then picked up the rebound and rifled a one-timer over the goaltender’s shoulder, and Anaheim seized a 2-0 advantage.

The damage could have been even worse for the Blackhawks later in the period as Niklas Hjalmarsson was sent off for tripping, but the Hawks’ penalty kill came up big against the league’s top-ranked power play as they killed off the infraction. Matt Beleskey did have one good shot on goal during the man-advantage, but Crawford blocked it away to keep it a two goal game.

With less than a minute to go in the period, the Blackhawks finally were able to solve Andersen as they scored a key goal. Brad Richards made the play happen as he wrestled the puck away from Francois Beauchemin at the blue line, and then his breakaway ended with a goal as he snuck a shot between Andersen’s blocker and chest to make it a 2-1 game after two periods of play.

As the third period got underway, the Blackhawks got a pair of power plays but were unable to convert on either of them. Richards did come close to getting his second goal of the day on the first man-advantage situation, and Brandon Saad had a killer rebound chance as well, but Andersen made some good saves as he kept his team in front despite the pressure.

Just after the halfway mark of the period, the Ducks got an odd-man rush scoring chance thanks to a missed play by Duncan Keith, and they made Chicago pay. Crawford was able to stop the initial shot off the stick of Andrew Cogliano, but Thompson picked up his second point of the day as he flipped the puck past the sprawled out goaltender to give Anaheim a 3-1 lead with about eight minutes to go.

The Blackhawks had a few more chances late in the game, but they weren't able to convert and Anaheim ultimately finished off the victory with an empty net goal. After a shot from the blue line rang off the post, the puck bounced into the net off of Jonathan Toews' skate and slid into the cage to give Anaheim their 4-1 margin of victory. 

The Hawks will try to even up the series on Tuesday night as the teams reconvene for Game 2 of the series in Anaheim. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks vs. Ducks: Five Chicago Players to Watch]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 10:16:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/218*120/ducks7.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks have had a relatively simple road to the Western Conference Final, losing only once as they dispatched the Jets and the Flames, but the road will get a lot tougher starting on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 at the Honda Center.

Before the game gets underway (puck drop is scheduled for noon), we have five Blackhawks players that the Ducks will have to focus their efforts on if they want to be successful in this series.

Niklas Hjalmarsson

There is plenty of attention paid to the Blackhawks’ top forwards, but an underrated part of their offensive success is their ability to start plays in transition. Hjalmarsson is a big part of that push forward up the ice, as his stretch passes and ability to effectively steal the puck deep in the defensive zone really help put teams on edge.

The Ducks have to be cognizant of his ability to get the play going the other way, and they’ll have to make sure to play just a bit more conservatively when the talented defenseman is looking up ice to make a play.

Patrick Kane

As the legendary Dan Patrick axiom goes, “you can’t stop him. You can only hope to contain him.”

Kane has been romping through the playoffs so far this year, scoring seven goals (including tallies in five straight games coming into this series) and looks to be fully healed from the collarbone injury that ended his regular season back in late February.

Kane’s speed is one thing to defend, but his ability to fire off quick and accurate shots in space is another. The Ducks are going to have their hands full in this series with him, and the only way to really be successful is to try to limit the amount of time he has to react with the puck and to try to force him to the outside of the ice.

Duncan Keith

The Blackhawks have talented players all over their roster, but Keith is arguably their top Conn Smythe candidate during this postseason. With the Hawks’ lack of defensive depth, Keith has been rock steady on the blue line despite having to play extra minutes, and he has also been a huge help on the offensive side of things, scoring twice and dishing out eight assists in the postseason.

The only real hope that the Ducks have of stopping Keith is to be as aggressive as possible with their forecheck through the neutral zone, and to get him skating as much as possible when on the attack. Keith is a workhorse but a prolonged series and tons of work could make him vulnerable, so the Ducks will have to try their best to outwork him.

Brandon Saad

When talking about the Blackhawks, the first two guys that come up are inevitably Kane and Toews, but Saad is proving this postseason that he can be just as viable a weapon. His speed is dangerous, his vision has proved problematic for the Wild and Predators and he plays some of the most responsible defense that fans are liable to see from a forward of his youth.

Just like with Kane, the Ducks will have to make sure that they keep Saad to the outside of the ice as much as possible, and they also have to focus on disrupting his zone entry whenever possible. He is capable of creating havoc when he brings the puck into the offensive zone, so challenging him at the blue line will be critical for the Ducks in this series.

Jonathan Toews

The Blackhawks’ success over the past six seasons has come as a direct result of Toews’ maturation into a dynamic leader and a stellar player at both ends of the ice. He can win faceoffs, score highlight reel goals, play Selke-caliber defense, and never seems to lose his cool even when the pressure is at its highest.

The Ducks will have an interesting time trying to decide which line to use to stop Toews in this series, but the responsibility will likely fall to Ryan Kesler and the second line. That group has been solid offensively, but can they handle Toews, Saad, and Marian Hossa? Only time will tell, but that might well be Bruce Boudreau’s best option.

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<![CDATA[Rockies Hit Three Homers, Beat Dodgers 7-1]]> Sat, 16 May 2015 23:09:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/473667212.jpg

Carlos Gonzalez, Daniel Descalso, and Nolan Arenado all homered for Colorado and the Rockies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 on a night the organization honored the 1965 world championship team led by Sandy Koufax.

Gonzalez has been in hibernation to start the season, but is finally heating up for Colorado. Just 48 hours after hitting the game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning of Thursday's game, Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs scored on Saturday.

"Anybody can have bad months," said Gonzalez of his slow start to the season. "I've seen myself hit .200 and then hit .300 by the end of the season. That's my goal now. I'm going to do my best, and whatever happens, happens.

Gonzalez underwent season-ending knee surgery last August and hadn't faced big-league pitching in nearly six months before the season began.

"He's one of the best in the game, but he hasn't been doing as good this year," said Dodgers starter and former 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. "I didn't want to nibble around him that early, so I threw him a fastball and it was a terrible idea.

Jorge De La Rosa was resplendent for the Rockies pitching a two-hit shutout over 7.1 innings for his first win of the season.

"I was attacking the hitters more aggressively today," De La Rosa said. "The way I threw against them last time I was a little wild. My changeup was working, but I mixed up all my pitches."

De La Rosa (1-2) was dominant retiring 18 consecutive batters after giving up a leadoff double to Kike Hernandez to start the game. De La Rosa had a chance to go for the complete game shutout, but appeared to pull his groin after fielding a grounder in the eighth inning.

"He [De La Rosa] was throwing all his first pitches for strikes and mixing them up really well," Hernandez said. "He did a good job tonight and we couldn't make the adjustments."

Hernandez made an incredible play in center field in the top half of the 4th inning when he tracked down a deep fly ball on the warning track before crashing face first into the wall.

"My face feels fine," joked Hernandez. "But we're still waiting on the MRI results on the wall itself, so hopefully the wall will be OK."

Greinke suffered his first loss of the season allowing just one run on four hits in six innings.

Greinke (5-1) received no run support for his efforts on Saturday. Other than the first inning homer he allowed to Gonzalez, Greinke was once again in Cy Young form striking out five before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth.

Coming into the game, Greinke was riding a 10-game winning streak and had not lost since August 9th of 2014. In addition to having his career-best winning streak snapped, Greinke's phenomenal 20-start unbeaten streak and 16-game winning streak against National League West opponents also came to an end.

Greinke's last loss within the division was also against the Rockies back on September 28, 2013. Making it nearly two years since the right-hander lost to an NL West opponent. Despite the loss, Greinke still leads the major leagues in ERA at 1.52 on the year.

The Rockies did most of their damage off Southern California reliever Sergio Santos. Santos pitched the sixth and seventh allowing five runs on three hits (two of them homers). He did finish the inning with four strikeouts, becoming the sixth player in Dodgers history to accomplish the feat.

Kenley Jansen also struck out four albeit on 14 pitches a night earlier.

"His [Jansen's] was the better way to do it," joked Santos after the game. "Better to do it with no runs coming across."

Howie Kendrick hit a single in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

The Dodgers streak of 10 consecutive home series win was snapped with the loss as the best Los Angeles can do is tie the series at 2-2 tomorrow.

Game Notes:
The Dodgers honored the 1965 World Series Championship team before the game as all fans in attendance received a replica World Series Ring. Members of the team including the great Sandy Koufax, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills, Wally Moon, Ron Perranoski, Wes Parker, Jeff Torborg, Ron Fairly, Jim Lefebvre, Al Ferrara and Sweet Lou Johnson all took part in the Old Timers Game.

Colorado's manager Walt Weiss returned to the Rockies dugout just three days after an emergency appendectomy had him in a local Los Angeles hospital.

Alejandro González Iñárritu the Oscar-winning director of Birdman was in attendance for the game.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodger Legends at Old Timers Game]]> Sat, 16 May 2015 18:40:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/Magic+Johnson+and+Sandy+Koufax.jpg Former Dodgers' players, Hall of Famers, and legends came out to the stadium on May 16, 2015 for the annual Los Angeles Dodgers' Old Timers Game.

Photo Credit: Ron Cervenka]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Collects 100th Career Win as Dodgers Hold on to Beat Rockies 6-4]]> Sat, 16 May 2015 01:46:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/kershaw2.jpg

Clayton Kershaw fanned 10 batters and finally collected his 100th win of his career in his fifth attempt and the Los Angeles Dodgers held on to defeat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Friday night.

The game marked the return of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen who was reinstated from the disabled list on Friday morning after he spent the last 12 weeks recovering from foot surgery.

"It was a relief just to be back out there," said Jansen of his return. "12 weeks is a long time. I had to be very patient. I had to listen to everything the trainers wanted me to do. It was a very rare injury."

Jansen entered into the game in a setup role in the 8th inning and remarkably struck out four batters on 14 pitches in his first big league action since the 2014 NLDS last year.

Jimmy Rollins got the Dodgers rolling in the first inning when he hit a rocket into the Rockies bullpen for his fourth homer of the season. Rollins had a season-high four hits on the night and was a triple shy of the cycle.

Justin Turner went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a run scored and hit a two-run double in the bottom of the third. Andre Ethier singled him home later in the inning to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.

Rollins picked up his 900th career RBI in the bottom of the 5th inning when he singled home Kershaw and it seemed like Kershaw would coast to his 100th career victory from there.

However, after a leadoff single to Carlos Gonzalez to start the seventh inning Kershaw was chased after D.J. LeMahieu singled him home three batters later. Despite leaving the game with runners on 1st and 2nd and two-outs, Kershaw seemed to be in a perfect position to pick up his century-mark win.

But, Paco Rodriguez came out of the pen and surrendered a bases clearing double to Daniel Descalso and suddenly the lead shrank to 6-4 heading into the 7th inning stretch.

Descalso went 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Rockies.

The Dodgers bullpen has struggled lately allowing three runs or more in the late seventh inning or later in four of their last five games.

Jansen came out to his ceremonial "California Love" by 2Pac in the top half of the 8th and received a thunderous roar from the hometown crowd. Jansen did not disappoint in his 2015 Dodgers debut striking out four batters on 14 pitches after Carlos Gonzalez reached base on a strike-three passed ball.

"It felt great to see the crowd get into it when I came out," Jansen said. "It got me excited. I just wanted to go out there and do my best."

Jansen became just the fifth Dodger in franchise history to record four punch-outs in one inning, but more importantly, he kept the game at 6-4 for Kershaw.

"That was an amazing inning. That doesn't happen too often," added Jansen of the historic four strikeouts.

Juan Nicasio worked out of a 1st and 2nd and one out jam to get his first save of the season and first career save which comes against his former team.

Kershaw becomes the second youngest to 100 career victories at the age of 27 years and 57 days, behind only Felix Hernandez (27 years, 14 days).

"It's cool, it's something to celebrate I guess," said Kershaw of the milestone. "Hopefully, I'm just getting started but it's pretty cool.

Kershaw allowed three runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts over 6.2 innings of work and improves to 7-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his last eight starts against Colorado.

"Not winning bothers me," chuckled Kershaw when asked if it bothered him that it took him five attempts to get his 100th win. "I would have been okay tonight if I didn't get it. I just wanted to pitch well."

Eddie Butler made his 10th career start on Friday and shockingly, his 5th against the Dodgers. Butler allowed three runs on six hits, lasting only 2.2 innings, his shortest start of his career. Butler falls to 0-4 with a gaudy 7.04 ERA against the Dodgers.

"I was throwing the ball down and keeping it down, but they weren't being called strikes," complained Butler of his short outing. "Then a couple of guys had some long at-bats and were fouling balls off and that elevates the pitch count really fast."

Kershaw becomes just the 10th pitcher in Los Angeles Dodgers franchise history to reach 100 wins in his career. His 10 strikeouts tonight marked his 31st career double-digit strikeout game.

Game Notes:
Howie Kendrick extended his hitting streak to a season-high seven games.

Troy Tulowitzki left the game for Colorado in the third inning after experiencing tightness in his left quadriceps.

The last Dodger to strikeout four batters in one inning like Jansen did tonight was Zack Grienke on July 25th, 2014 against the San Francisco Giants.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats and player reactions…

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<![CDATA[Rockies Rally in 9th to Shock Dodgers 5-4 in Rain-Soaked Game]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 20:22:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rosario.jpg

When the Dodgers and Rockies get together weather seems to get the better of both teams.

Five days after their game in Colorado was postponed due to rain and snow, Thursday's game was delayed an hour and twenty-five minutes before play continued and the Dodgers wish it wasn't.

Carlos Gonzalez hit a game-winning three-run homer with two outs in the top of ninth and the Rockies rallied off Dodgers interim closer Yimi Garcia to stun the Boys in Blue 5-4.

"It took longer than expected, with all the rain, but we kept grinding," said Gonzalez who helped end the Rockies 11-game losing streak. "That shows a lot of respect. Everybody pushed all the way until the end."

The Rockies themselves were shocked by the rare rain delay at Dodger Stadium. In the past week, the Rockies had been rained out three times, including last Saturday's game against the Dodgers which has been rescheduled for June 2nd at Coors Field.

"That rain cloud has been following s everywhere we go," joked Gonzalez pointing to the sky. "We've had to battle against other teams and weather conditions and rain delays, so it's hard to keep your body in the game. I'm sure it affects the other team too. You just try to keep your body and your mind in the game."

After scattered showers surprised residents of Los Angeles throughout the day, the game started on time before rain fell in the third inning.

Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run double in the bottom of the 1st inning to give the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead.

"We're used to it," said Gonzalez of the rain-delay. "It's actually an opportunity for team bonding. We were all in here playing cards."

Willin Rosario hit a first-pitch fastball off Anderson to right-center in the top half of the second inning to put the Rockies on the board. Rosario went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on the night.

Dodgers' starter Brett Anderson helped himself out with an RBI-double in the bottom of the third.

"I closed my eyes and blacked out," joked Anderson of his extra base hit. "I knew I hit it pretty good and was just trying not to get thrown out at second. My biggest fear in life is base running."

Anderson allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts before the rain shortened his start after 5.1 innings.

"I felt pretty good tonight. Unfortunately, I've had to pitch in bad weather my last two times out. Fortunately, the outings have been fairly decent. I'd rather pitch in dry conditions, but I'll take what I can get."

With runners on 1st and 2nd and one out, the umpire called for the tarp as the rain began to fell harder. The game would be delayed for an hour and a half, and was almost nearly called, but the rain let up and they teams returned to the field.

There hasn't been a halted game or postponed game at Dodger Stadium in 15 years, and the last rain delay occurred on May 23rd, 2008 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Dodgers were seeking their ninth win in a row over the Rockies, which would have tied them for the longest active streak against any opponent.

Rockies manager, Walt Weiss, was not with the team as he underwent an appendectomy on Wednesday.

Garcia, who has been filling in as closer with Kenley Jansen on the disabled list, blew his second consecutive save, and third in his last four appearances, allowing singles to D.J. LeMahieu and Drew Stubbs before CarGo's blast ruined the rain-soaked party.

"I was watching Garcia warming up and he was throwing a lot of fastballs, so I was ready to swing at a good fastball," said Gonzalez. "I just wanted to be patiend and tried to see a good pitch to drive. Luckily, I was able to take advantage."

Chad Bettis was called up from triple-A Albuquerque before the game and made his first start since Sept. 8th 2013. Bettis was formidable allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings before the delay.

Jon Axford worked the ninth for the Rockies picking up his fourth save of the season.

Game Notes:
Right-handed reliever Pedro Baez was placed on the 15-day DL before the game.

It was the first time all season the Dodgers lost consecutive games at home.
 

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<![CDATA[Dodgers Hit Homers, Marlins Avoid Sweep in 5-4 Win]]> Thu, 14 May 2015 00:03:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/172*120/473221062.jpg

Young sluggers Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson both hit homers in the fifth inning, but Miami rallied off the Dodgers bullpen defeating Los Angeles 5-4 to avoid the three-game sweep.

Dee Gordon went 4-for-5 against his former team and Giancarlo Stanton hit a go-ahead two-run single off Former Marlins' pitcher Chris Hatcher that capped off a three-run seventh inning.

"He was hitting mistakes over the plate," said Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal of Gordon. "First two games we made really good pitches against him, but today he capitalized off of every mistake."

Heading into the seventh inning trailing 4-2, the Marlins scored three-runs off three different Dodgers pitchers by hitting five consecutive singles.

After Carlos Frias allowed a leadoff single, he was lifted for Adam Liberatore who gave up a bunt single to Ichiro Suzuki. Five pitches later Gordon singled to right and Hatcher came in from the bullpen with the bases-loaded and no outs.

Hatcher couldn't escape the jam surrendering back-to-back singles to Martin Prado and Stanton who now leads Adrian Gonzalez in the RBI race with 36.

Gonzalez went 0-for-4 on the night and his hitting streak was snapped at 11.

Hernandez hit a two-run blast to left field for his first homer of the season and first as a Dodger. Three pitches later, Pederson followed with a solo shot to right center that landed half way into the pavilion.

"I played with Coasrt with the Astros and the Marlins so I know his tendencies," Hernandez said. "He made a mistake and I took advantage of it."

After back-to-back blown saves, the Marlins inserted right-hander A.J. Ramos into the closer role and he pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save.

"It was a good feeling," said Ramos whose parents watched him from the stands. "I definitely had to hold the reins back. If not, I would have been wild. So I was easy as possible and able to get the job done."

Frias made his third start of the season going six strong innings allowing three runs on six hits before being lifted in the seventh inning.

"Everything went pretty good," said Frias. "I was able to compete. I was struggling with my command, but I came back the next couple innings and was able to compete."

Jarred Cosart left the game in the sixth inning with a tight right hamstring. Cosart allowed four runs on five hits in 5.1 innings before leaving the game with the injury.

"I felt like something was grabbing me," Cosart said. "I've never had an issue before, so it's new to me."

Don Mattingly was ejected from the game in the fourth inning for throwing his hat in the dugout after a replay review was upheld on a diving catch in right by Stanton.

"I shouldn't talk about it, I really shouldn't. I've expressed my opinion," said Mattingly right before he began to talk about it. "I don't know why we can't take the human element out of it and just make the simple call: safe or out."

It was the 17th time Mattingly has been tossed in his managerial career and the second time this season.

The Marlins end their 10-game road trip on a high note and potentially with a new closer in Ramos. The Marlins snapped their three-game losing streak while simultaneously snapping Los Angeles' five-game winning streak.

"That was huge for us," Stanton said after the game. "One, not to get swept, and two, to come back. It's definitely one we needed going into the off day and to end this ugly road trip."

Despite the loss, the Dodgers clinched their 10th consecutive series win at home dating back to last season.

Game Notes:
The Dodgers two home runs today give them a league-leading 53 on the season which is second all-time in franchise history through 33 games (2000).

Dodgers closer since 2012, Kenley Jansen made his sixth rehab appearance tonight striking out two batters in a scoreless inning in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. He could be reinstated from the DL as soon as Saturday.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Have Diamond in the Rough in Liberatore]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 19:11:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150510-dodgers-adam-loberatore.jpg

After Tuesday's 11-1 victory over the Miami Marlins, the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers are firing on all cylinders and their bullpen is posting zeroes quicker than fans can consume Dodger Dogs.

Los Angeles relievers fired another 3.1 scoreless innings last night and now post the second lowest bullpen ERA in the league at 1.94 (21 runs in 97 2/3 innings). Their ERA puts them behind their postseason rivals the St. Louis Cardinals, ironically the only team in baseball with a better win percentage than the Boys in Blue.

The Dodger bullpen leads the National League in opponents' batting average (.182), strikeouts (112), and WHIP (1.02). At home, the pen is even better as their 0.80 ERA leads the majors and is the monumental reason why they are a franchise best 15-2 at Chavez Ravine to start the season.

What makes the relievers success all the more surprising is that they've posted these numbers without setup man Brandon League and Kenley Jansen who have been out with injuries since early February. 

Jansen has been the team's closer since 2012, and his strikeout rate is the second highest in history behind only San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel. Yet with Jansen sidelined, the Dodgers bullpen hasn't skipped a beat striking out an average of 10.4 batters per nine innings.

One of the reasons's for the relievers' success is the meteoric rise of rookie Adam Liberatore. The Bellflower native turned 28 years old yesterday (May 12th) and has pitched 9.2 innings of scoreless baseball retiring 28 of the first 29 batters he's faced to start his major league career.

In his Dodgers debut, Liberatore struck out Colorado catcher Michael McKenry on a sneaky slider to close out the game and seal the 7-3 victory for Los Angeles on April 17th.

"That was the biggest crowd I've ever been in front of," said a smiling Liberatore still soaking in the moment.

His mixture of well-located fastballs that range anywhere from 93-97 MPH and sliders has baffled some of baseball's bests this season. His cool demeanor and composure on the mound is the main factor in why former Rays' Vice-President of Baseball Operations and Current Dodgers President, Andrew Friedman, brought him to LA in his first move after taking over.

"It's very rare in life when you have incredibly high expectations for someone and they actually exceed them," Friedman said.

Liberatore was acquired on Nov. 20, 2014 from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris. After six years in the farm system he finally took a giant step forward in 2014. Liberatore went 6-1 with a 1.54 ERA and four saves in 54 games with the Triple-A Durham Bulls. His 86 punch-outs and 15 walks garnered him a Triple-A All-Star selection.

"It's been a long journey to get here. I've been getting ready for this moment for a while," said Liberatore of pitching in the majors this season. "The throwing part is easy."

Left-handers are hitting a paltry .176/.228/.243 against Liberatore and are striking out at an astronomical rate of 43 percent. In the last three seasons he has surrendered only one homer to a left-handed hitter and so far in 2015, he has not allowed a run on any level (spring training, Triple-A, and the major leagues).

When asked what the secret to his success was, the humble California boy smirked and said:

"There's no secret formula. I just try and go out and make good pitches. It's about knowing who you are, staying within yourself and not trying to do too much."

Liberatore is truly a diamond in the rough and could play a vital role in the Dodgers quest to reach the World Series this fall.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers in the Playoffs]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 11:36:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/topSports-clippers-AP163870212733.jpg The Clippers make their run for an NBA championship

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks in the Playoffs]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 10:46:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ducks-Flames2-8-May-2015.jpg The Ducks make a run for the Stanley Cup

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rockets Beat Clippers in Game 5]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 21:31:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Clippers-vs-Rockets-Game-5_473095892.jpg

The Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 124-103 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals to avoid elimination and force a Game 6. The Clippers still lead the series 3-2.

To start Game 5, the Clippers looked sluggish and came out of the gates a bit slow. In his pre-second quarter interview with TNT, Clippers coach Doc Rivers lamented his team being slow to the ball and lacking the necessary energy required to close out the Rockets in Houston in Game 5. In the coach's mind, the Rockets were playing harder.

In the first 12 minutes, the Rockets set the tempo with James Harden drawing fouls and Dwight Howard dominating the paint. At the end of the first quarter, Howard had nine points, but most of those came after the referees hit Clippers center DeAndre Jordan with two quick fouls.

With Jordan out of the game, Howard and the Rockets would control the paint and hold a five-point advantage on the score board at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter followed the same script as the first quarter. By halftime, Howard already had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Jordan's third foul early in the third quarter meant that the Clippers' primary presence in the paint only played 9:27 in the first half. At the break, Jordan's plus-minus was +2, meaning the team was up by two points with their burly center on the court. Unfortunately for the Clippers, they were minus-17 without Jordan on the court entering the locker room.

At the half, the Rockets led 63-48, and Harden led all scorers with 17 points.

Not surprisingly, the Rockets' point guard made himself at home at the free throw line. At the half, Harden had attempted two more free throws than the entire Clippers' team. In total, the Rockets attempted 15 more free throws than the Clippers in the first 24 minutes, and Houston scored 11 extra points from the foul line.

Fortunately for the Clippers, Spencer Hawes scored nine points to add to a pot primarily composed of 14 points from Blake Griffin and 10 points from Chris Paul. Thanks to Hawes' unlikely contribution, the Clippers remained within striking distance despite a poor display.

In the third quarter, the energy of the Rockets would overcome the visitors. Only one minute into the second half, the Rockets led by 20 points. Also, Jordan would pick up a soft fourth foul, but Rivers opted to leave his big man in the game.

On the TNT television broadcast, Rivers begged his team to cut the lead to 10 points by the start of the fourth quarter. When the Clippers drew within 13 points, the Rockets decided to intentionally foul Jordan. By the end of the third quarter, the shifting strategies had the home team ahead by 14 points.

The Clippers would need an unlikely comeback on the road in order to send the Rockets on vacation and avoid Game 6 at Staples Center on Thursday. However, the fourth quarter would continue the slew of slow starts on the night. Four minutes into the fourth quarter, the Rockets led by 19 points. At the six-minute mark, the home team still led by 18 points. Effectively, the game was over.

Game Six will be at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Clippers lead the series 3-2 and hope to close out the Rockets on Thursday night. If not, the series would play a decisive Game 7 in Houston.

Notes:  Harden finished with a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Griffin finished with 30 points and 16 rebounds. Paul finished with 22 points and 10 assists. Howard finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins' Slugger Hits Historic Home Run at Dodger Stadium]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 19:06:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/473100974.jpg

It was a historic home run that you had to see to believe. Just ask the 49,628 in attendance at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday whose collective gasp could be heard from the homes atop Chavez Ravine.

Miami Marlins' slugger Giancarlo Stanton became just the fourth player in Dodger Stadium's 53-year history to hit a homer out of the entire ballpark.

The 478-foot blast is the longest of the season and the fourth longest in the storied stadium's history behind Willie Stargell, Mark McGwire and Matt Holliday.

Stanton hit the mammoth shot off of Mike Bolsinger who tried to throw an 85-mph cutter past one of the best and most powerful hitters in the game.

"That's the hardest and longest ball I've ever seen hit off of me," said Bolsinger smiling. "That home run was something else, you just have to look back and say 'that's awesome' and go back to the game."

The Dodgers did get back to the game, scoring 11 unanswered runs on 21-hits to defeat the Fish 11-1 guaranteeing they would win their 10th consecutive series at home. But it was the titanic blast that had people talking after the game.

"It was such a loud boom, it scared me," said Manny Colon, the traveling secretary for the Marlins who was walking just feet from where the ball eventually landed.

The ball took off like a rocket on impact, so much so that Dodgers left fielder Scott Van Slyke never moved his feet. He merely craned his neck to see where and if the ball would eventually land.

"He crushed that ball," said Stanton's manager Mike Redmond. "He's hit a couple like that in batting practice, but he hammered that thing."

Stanton's shot heard round Los Angeles is special for the LA native who used to sit in the Dodger Stadium bleachers as a kid dreaming of becoming a professional baseball player. Never in his wildest dreams did he think he would return to hit one out of the stadium itself.

According to the Dodgers unofficial record keeping, Stanton's shot was the fourth longest homer in the history of the stadium. Willie Stargell hit one 506 feet off of Alan Foster in 1969, Dodgers' hitting coach Mark McGwire launched a long ball 483 feet in 1999, and Mike Piazza became the only Dodger to do it in 1997.

If you haven't seen it yet, you can watch the video of the colossal home run here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Win Game 4, Lead Rockets 3-1]]> Sun, 10 May 2015 21:36:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DeAndre-Jordan-Clippers-vs-Rockets-Game-4.jpg

On Sunday evening, the Los Angeles Clippers convincingly beat the Houston Rockets 128-95 in Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series. 

In the first quarter, the Houston Rockets dulled the home crowd and created one of the most visually painful starts to an NBA game. Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale went to the "Hack-a-DJ" strategy, which features intentionally fouling DeAndre Jordan at every free throw shooting opportunity.

In a first quarter that seemed to last forever, Jordan attempted 14 free throws and made seven of them. In the regular season, the Clippers' center shot 39.7 percent from the foul line, and the post-season featured only a slight improvement on that mark. Entering Game 4, Jordan averaged 42.6 percent from the foul line in the 2015 Playoffs.

Despite the depressingly slow pace of play and the eye sore that played out in the first 12 minutes, the Rockets only held a slight three-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second period, the Clippers and Rockets would continue to bore fans with foul shots. By halftime, Jordan would hold the NBA record for most foul shots in a half. The Clippers' center attempted 28 foul shots in the first 24 minutes of Game 4. With only 10 makes for the Clippers' center, the strategy appeared to be working for the visitors.

However, the scoreboard disagreed with that assessment. At the intermission, the Rockets trailed by six points. The constant fouling had disrupted the game flow for both teams, and the Rockets went long stretches without making baskets to punish Jordan's poor foul shooting.

Normally, Clippers coach Doc Rivers would have countered the intentional fouling on Jordan with intentional fouls on Dwight Howard. However, Howard found himself in early foul trouble and only played about seven and a half minutes in the first half.

In the third quarter, the Clippers would come out intent of creating separation in a hurry. Two minutes into the second half, the Clippers had extended their lead to 13 points to put Houston into a panic. Six minutes into the second half, the home team built a 23-point lead with Jordan scoring on consecutive alley-oop dunks to send the crowd into a frenzy.

With frustration mounting, Howard would foul Blake Griffin in dramatic fashion. With the crowd reacting to the heavy aerial contact, the players did well to keep their collective composure. With his hard foul on Griffin, Howard collected his fifth foul and returned to the bench with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter. The Rockets' star center had played only 16 minutes and 14 seconds in the contest to that point with just seven points and five rebounds to his name.

At that stage, the Clippers still held a 23-point lead. When the fourth quarter started, the Clippers led by 24 points and showed no signs of allowing the Rockets back into the game. Howard would re-enter the game and last exactly two minutes and eight seconds before earning his sixth foul. the 29-year-old provided enough of a reaction to the foul call that he earned his second technical foul, which meant the center had been ejected.

After the free throw for the technical foul, the Clippers led by 30 points. The game had effectively ended. The Clippers took a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 scheduled for Tuesday night in Houston. With a win on Tuesday, the LA Clippers can advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Blow Out Rockets in Game 3]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 22:15:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clippers-Rockets-Game-3-472732336.jpg

The Los Angeles Clippers handily beat the Houston Rockets on Friday night at Staples Center to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven series.

After missing the first two games of the series, Chris Paul shrugged off his hamstring strain and started for Clippers in Game 3. Before the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he would be monitoring Paul’s minutes closely. After roughly five and a half minutes, Rivers stayed true to his pregame comments and gave the Clippers point guard an early rest.

At that stage, the Clippers led the game by four points after a back-and-forth start that featured six ties on the scoreboard. The game would never again be tied, as the Clippers would take control of the contest and push their lead to nine points after one quarter. Fueling the early lead, Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick made a fast start with four three-point makes in the first quarter.

Dwight Howard, who made his first NBA Playoffs appearance at Staples Center since leaving Los Angeles, led the Rockets with four makes in his first five shots. By halftime, the Rockets center already had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Not far behind Howard, Blake Griffin had 13 points and eight rebounds at the intermission, as the Clippers led by seven points in a high scoring game. Redick led all scorers with 16 points, and Paul contributed six points and six assists at the break.

Surprisingly, James Harden did not attempt a single foul shot in the first half, but the NBA Most Valuable Player runner-up was one of four Rockets in double figures. Also, Harden contributed seven assists, which was a game-high, and a last-second shot at the buzzer to keep the Rockets optimistic entering the locker room.

At the start of the third quarter, the Rockets continued to surge and immediately cut the Clippers' lead to only three points. Griffin and Paul responded immediately and again suppressed the Rockets surge. By the six-minute mark in the third quarter, though, the home team had reestablished an 11-point advantage. Of course, Harden and the Rockets would continue to jockey for position, but the visitors were unable to grab hold of the lead.

To make matters worse for the visitors, Austin Rivers blew up in the third quarter to give the Clippers a sizable advantage. Rivers scored 15 points in an inspired third period, which helped the Clippers build a 23-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Rivers' third quarter performance helped the 22-year-old edge Redick as the game's top scorer through three quarters. To that point, Rivers had 22 points in only 18 minutes off the Clippers' bench. 

Entering the fourth quarter, the lively crowd at Staples Center chanted the backup point guard's name. After hitting a three-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter, Rivers stirred up an imaginary pot to the amusement of fans in attendance and on social media. When Rivers eventually went to the Clippers' bench, the crowd acknowledged the backup's performance with a standing ovation.

At that point, the Clippers led by 27 points. In the fourth quarter, the Clippers would play most of their starters for longer than most would expect. At one point, an altercation between Rockets guard Jason Terry and Blake Griffin featured the Houston player shoving the Clippers' forward in the back. Terry would be ejected to add drama to a game that had ceased being competitive a long time earlier.

The Clippers lead the series 2-1. Game 4 will be on Sunday at Staples Center.

Notes: Cameras and microphones caught Paul speaking with Clippers coach Doc Rivers when the coach's son was setting fire to the nets. The point guard, who prominently brings his own young son to postgame press conferences told his coach, "This is one time where you can be a Dad and not his coach."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rockets Beat Clippers in Game 2]]> Wed, 06 May 2015 22:10:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Clippers-Rockets-Blake-Griffin_Game-2.jpg

The Los Angeles Clippers lost 115-109 to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night in Game 2 of their best-of-seven NBA Playoffs series.

With the crowd responding to a shocking Game 1 defeat, the Houston Rockets started Game 2 with energy and jumped out to an 11-point lead. Early foul trouble for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan allowed Rockers center Dwight Howard to catch lobs at the basket and score with ease. In building the early 11-point lead, Howard collected 11 points on 5-6 shooting.

In the face of Howard's athleticism, Blake Griffin jumped into action. The forward continued to showcase why he was drafted with the no. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. In the first quarter, Griffin jockeyed for 14 points, which was more than half of the team's total. The 26-year-old forward had collected triple-doubles in back-to-back games entering Game 2.

On Wednesday night, Griffin continued his elite play. With Jordan back on the court in the second quarter, the Clippers would ride their big men into the lead. Jordan would make all four of his field goals and both of his free throws for 10 points in the second period. Griffin would score another 12 points in the second period by hitting all six of his shots and making both of his free throws, too.

Shooting 76.2 percent from the field in the second quarter, the Clippers scored 41 points in the second quarter and took a nine-point lead into the halftime break. Griffin had 26 points at that stage. The Rockets particularly struggled with hitting three-point shots, as the home team entered the intermission with only two long-range makes in 14 attempts. Also, Houston had been sloppy with the ball, as the Clippers' active hands had collected six steals and forced 10 turnovers in the first 24 minutes.

In the third quarter, the Clippers would experience highs and lows. First, the visitors would extend their lead to 13 points within the first couple minutes of being out of the locker room. Rockets star James Harden would earn his fourth foul and head to the bench. However, the Rockets' defense would pick up, as the Clippers slumped to shooting only 29.4 percent in the third quarter.

Harden would eventually return, and the attacking guard would lead a parade of trips to the foul line in order to close the gap. In the third quarter, the Rockets shot made 15 free throws on 25 attempts. In contrast, the Clippers only shot seven free throws, making six of them. Entering the fourth quarter, the visitors still led by two points.

Without Chris Paul for the second game in a row, the Clippers were only 12 minutes from taking a 2-0 lead in the series. At the start of the fourth quarter, a clock malfunction would momentarily delay the game until two shot clocks were placed on each baseline. The delay, however, did not change the trend of the game. The Rockets continued to get to the foul line. Add in a couple three-pointers, and Houston took a five-point lead with 9:45 left in the game.

The trips to the foul line appeared to help Harden, as he began to hit from range. With 6:45 to play, the Clippers trailed by six points. At that stage, coach Doc Rivers decided to intentionally foul Howard. After a couple round of free throws, Houston took an intentional foul and sat their center down. At that stage, the Rockets had already shot over 50 free throws.

When the game counted down to three minutes, the Rockets led by eight points and appeared en route to a comfortable win. However, the game would get a bit more interesting when the Clippers cut the lead to only four points after Griffin and Matt Barnes made a couple buckets. Harden, however, would respond and extend the lead to six points.

The Clippers would eventually fight back to trail by only four points and corralled a rebound with 41.9 seconds to play. Had they scored, they would be in position to steal the game. Instead, Austin Rivers attempted a behind the back dribble and fell flat on his face, literally. The Rockets got the ball and Howard hit two free throws to ice the game.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Rockets had won 115-109 with Harden finishing with 32 points, seven assists and seven turnovers. Fifteen of Harden's points came from the free throw line, as the Rockets attempted 64 free throws in the game. The Clippers attempted half as many foul shots, 32.

With the series tied at 1-1, Game 3 will be played back in Los Angeles on Friday night. Paul's involvement for Game 3 remains questionable.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clippers Beat Rockets 117-101]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 21:53:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NBA-Clippers-vs-Rockets-Game-One-2015.jpg

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals, 117-101, with Blake Griffin recording his second consecutive triple-double.

At the onset, the Rockets showed a bit of rust when they turned the ball over nine times in the first 12 minutes. Off those early turnovers, the Clippers converted an extra 12 points. Despite the gifted points, Houston still led by six points at the end of the first quarter.

After hitting the dramatic game winning shot in Game Seven of the opening round, Chris Paul sat out of the series opener against the Rockets with a strained hamstring. The 29-year-old point guard suffered the strained hamstring during the first half of Game Seven but managed to play through a couple instances where he came up lame.

Considering the short turnaround and travel, Clippers coach Doc Rivers seemed comfortable with sitting down his superstar point guard, even leaving open the door for Paul to sit out a second game.

With Paul out, the Rockets should have run away with the contest early. And in the second quarter, Houston jumped out to a 13-point lead fairly quickly. At that moment, the home team should have been able to roar past the exhausted and short-handed visitors. However, Griffin would lead the Clippers into the halftime intermission trailing by only four points.

At the break, Griffin had 16 points, which was a game high, to go along with his six rebounds and three assists. For the Rockets, Trevor Ariza scored 11 points in the first quarter with Dwight Howard adding 11 points of his own in the second quarter. The duo led the Rockets in scoring at the break, as MVP runner-up James Harden entered the locker room with eight points and six assists, but he also accounted for four turnovers.

To be fair, the Clippers also played a sloppy half, as Jamal Crawford committed six turnovers to help the visitors to 13 turnovers at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Clippers caught fire from beyond the arc with J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers helping the visitors make all six of their long-range shots in the quarter. The Clippers would pour in 37 points in the third period, which added up to the Clippers' highest scoring quarter in the 2015 NBA Playoffs. Entering the fourth quarter, the Clippers led by six points.

On the road on short rest and without their star point guard, the Clippers felt great about where they stood entering the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Clippers would not let up. After the Rockets made a push to draw within one point at the 7:20 mark, the Clippers responded with three triples over the next two minutes. With 4:24 to play, Redick would hit a jump shot to extend the game to 13 points. The crowd in Houston seemed stunned, as the clock slowly counted down.

Free throws and intentional fouls turned the game into an ugly affair for a stretch of the fourth quarter. Eventually, Griffin would earn his second consecutive triple-double and third of the postseason. To this point, the 26-year-old forward has been the standout performer of the 2015 NBA Playoffs. For Game One, Griffin finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists.

Game Two will be in Houston on Wednesday night.

Notes: Austin Rivers, who started in place of Paul, finished with 17 points, four steals and three assists. Dwight Howard finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Destroy Marlins 11-1 on Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead Night]]> Wed, 13 May 2015 01:04:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/187*120/473099394.jpg

Dodger Stadium is historically known as a "Pitcher's Park," but it acted as anything but for the boys in blue on Tuesday night.

After a colossal home run by Giancarlo Stanton to start the game, it was all Dodgers after that as the Blue Crew banged the ball around the ballpark to the tune of 21 hits in an 11-1 destruction of the Miami Marlins.

"We started off with a bang and then just fell apart," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond.

Andre Ethier tied a career high with five hits, going 5-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Ethier was in the zone inside the batters box, as he became just the fourth player this year to have fight hits in a game.

"As the night keeps going, you realize your more dialed in," Ethier said. "I've been taking good quality swings. Sometimes you get hits and find a hole, sometimes you don't."

One of the other players to have five hits in a game is former Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon went 0-for-4 again on Tuesday and the Major League leader in hitting is now 0-for-8 in his return to Los Angeles since being traded last winter.

Howie Kendrick had a season-high four hits and went 4-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored as every position player on the team got at least one hit.

"Tonight everybody was hitting well at the same time," said Kendrick. "With men on base we got the job done, especially after the fourth inning."

The ball carried in the first four innings as the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead into the 5th with every run coming on the long ball.

Stanton's mammoth blast was the longest home run in the majors this season and one of the longest in the history of Dodgers Stadium. The ball was hit out of the stadium and into the parking lot and was estimated at a distance of 478 feet.

"He crushed that ball," said Redmond. "He's hit a couple like that in batting practice, but he hammered that thing. I just wish we could have tacked on a few more."

Dodgers' starter Mike Bolsinger was responsible for serving up the meatball to Stanton, and said all he could do was laugh about it after the game.

"That's the hardest and longest ball I've ever seen hit off of me," said Bolsinger smiling. "That home run was something else, you just have to look back and say 'that's awesome' and go back to the game."

Bolsinger (1-0) picked up his first win of the season in just his second start for the Dodgers. The only run he allowed was on Stanton's homer as he yielded five hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Bolsinger settled into the game after surrendering Stanton's titanic blast and walked off the field to a standing ovation by the Dodger Stadium crowd.

"That was awesome," said Bolsinger of the ovation. "There was a lot of people here tonight and it's a great feeling to have them behind you. It was an awesome feeling."

The Dodgers batted around in the fourth and fifth innings putting up nine runs between the two.

Former Dodger, Dan Haren, was roughed up in his return to Los Angeles as he allowed a season-high six runs, on 11 hits in just 4 1/3 innings.

Alex Guerrero started at third base and tied a career high with three hits. The Cuban rookie went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored as he hit a double off the wall in the fifth.

Adrian Gonzalez was 1-for-3 with an RBI double of his own to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.

The Dodgers have now won five consecutive fames and are a franchise record 15-2 at home to start the season. With the victory, they are guaranteed to win their 10th straight home series, the longest run since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.

Game Notes:
It was "Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead" night as all 49,000 fans in attendance received the reigning MVP's likeness with Cy Young trophy in tow.

Mexican horse jockey Victor Espinoza threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Espinoza was aboard Kentucky Derby Winner American Pharaoh and will ride him again at the Preakness this Saturday.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Van Slyke Strikes Again! Dodgers Walk Off]]> Tue, 12 May 2015 22:43:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/473028482.jpg

With fans headed to the exits and the Dodgers down to their last two outs, Scott Van Slyke struck the Marlins right where it hurt -- their closer. Van Slyke hit a three-run blast to center in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers walked-off with a 5-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday.

"Definitely this is my most memorable game in the big leagues," said Van Slyke.

Just 24 hours after blowing the save in San Francisco, Steve Cishek, blew his second consecutive save and fourth of the year when he surrendered the game winning shot to Van Slyke.

"It sucks. That's back-to-back games we had opportunities to win and we couldn't lock them down," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. "You gotta win the games you're supposed to win. It crushes you. We can't keep going the way we've been going lately."

Christian Yelich hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the top half of the ninth to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead, prompting many fans in attendance to head for the parking lot as it appeared the Marlins had stolen game one of the three-game series.

But Van Slyke didn't want everyone to go home like that. Just two innings after he threw out Yelich at the plate to keep the Dodgers deadlocked at 1-1, Van Slyke hit a 1-0 slider over the left-center wall for his second career walk-off home run.

"Luckily he threw me a first pitch ball with that slider," Van Slyke said. "So I got a good luck at it and the next one he threw over the plate."

J.P. Howell (2-1) got the vulture win after making just five pitches, retiring former Dodgers All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon with a fly ball to left with the bases loaded.

Monday marked the return of Gordon to Dodger Stadium where he spent the first six years of his major league career. Gordon received a standing ovation by the crowd before his first at-bat of the game as the 27-year-old tipped his cap in appreciation.

There wasn't much to applaud after that as Gordon went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout, snapping his career-high 13-game hitting streak in the process.

Marlins' starter, Tom Koehler, had no-hit stuff for the first three innings striking out five while not allowing a Dodger to reach base until the fourth.

Kendrick broke up the no-hitter in the bottom half of the inning with a double over the head of Giancarlo Stanton. Gonzalez followed with a single and Los Angeles took the lead 1-0.

Koehler allowed just one run on three hits in six innings and received a no-decision for his efforts.

A great play defensively by Stanton and a lack of hustle by Van Slyke cost the Dodgers a run in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, Jimmy Rollins hit a rope to deep right field that Stanton was able to leap up and snag while on a dead run. Van Slyke trotted home from third, but not before Pederson was forced out at first base for the inning-ending double play.

"I initially ran hard, but then I figured I would be safe easily," said Van Slyke of the baserunning blunder. "Then I saw Joc was off the base and I tried to pick it up, but it didn't work because I'm not that fast. I was just three steps away."

Marcell Ozuna went 1-for-3 and hit a game-tying solo shot to left center in the seventh inning.

Van Slyke had a sensational seventh inning sparked by a 7-2 double-play as he threw a dart to catcher Yasmani Grandal who tagged Yelich out at the plate. It was Van Slyke's team-leading third outfield assist of the year.

"Yasiel [Puig] has been out for a couple weeks so give him time to come back and he'll overtake me," joked Van Slyke. "It surprises me. I don't have a strong arm, but I pride myself on throwing it to the glove."

In the bottom half of the inning, Van Slyke hit a one-out single, but wisely took second on the play after Yelich bobbled the ball. Van Slyke would later score and finished with three hits, a double, a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.

Dodgers' starter Zack Greinke was in line for his sixth win of the season as the right-hander allowed one run on six hits over seven innings but did not factor in the decision after Yelich's homer. Greinke remains unbeaten in his last 15 starts dating back to August of last year.

"That was a lot of fun," said Grienke after the game. "I'm always confident we're going to win when I go out there. It ended up working out good. Slyke [Scott Van Slyke] did it all today."

Adam Liberatore worked 2/3 of an inning; striking out both batters he faced and has now retired 28 of the last 29 hitters.

Former Marlin, Chris Hatcher, made an appearance in the bottom of the eighth and induced Martin Prado into an inning-ending fly ball to right field. Hatcher was involved in the trade that sent Dee Gordon, Miguel Rojas and Dan Haren to Miami in exchange for Hatcher, Kike Hernandez and Andrew Heaney (who eventually was dealt to the Angels for Howie Kendrick).

Yimi Garcia blew the save in the top of the ninth and looked awful for the first time all season. After striking out Stanton to start the inning, Garcia allowed three hits, a home run and two walks before being replaced by Howell. Yelich's homer was his first of the season and the first allowed by Garcia on the season. It also snapped his 12 1/3 scoreless innings streak.

"He was due for one of those," said Mattingly of Garcia's struggles. "Everyone is going to have a night like that at some point. He's confident and he'll bounce back just fine."

Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the fourth inning. The Dodgers have now won five consecutive games at home and four straight overall. Their home record improves to 14-2 their best start since 2009.


Game Notes:
It was "Cuba Night" at Dodger Stadium on Monday as many Cuban players, including superstar Yasiel Puig, met with fans before the game. Cuban actor Andy Garcia threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dee Gordon Returns to Dodger Stadium to Face Former Team]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 20:39:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/471565320.jpg

They say you always remember your first. Whether it's your first kiss, first love or in the case of Dee Gordon, your first team. Gordon returns to Dodger Stadium on Monday to face the team that drafted him for the first time since being traded to the Miami Marlins in the offseason.

The Dodgers host the Marlins for a three-game series that centers around a handful of players who have played for both teams. The Dodgers shipped Gordon, Dan Haren and Miguel Rojas to Miami last December, and received relief pitcher Chris Hatcher, Kike Hernandez, Austin Barnes and Andrew Heaney (who was immediately sent to the Angels in exchange for Howie Kendrick) in return.

Despite the bevy of players playing against their former teams, all eyes will be on Gordon who comes into the game as the hottest hitter in baseball. Gordon is riding a 13-game hitting streak and is leading the league in batting average at an eye-popping .439. Gordon also is second in the league in stolen bases with 12.

"I don't like the thought of Dee Gordon on base, once he gets on base we know he creates a lot of havoc," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly of facing his former second baseman. "It will be good to see Dee, I know he's off to a great start, but we need to focus on keeping him off the base."

Gordon was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. He was named MVP of the Midwest League, Prospect of the Year and Minor League Player of the Year that summer and immediately rose through the minor league ranks. He made his debut as a pinch-runner on June 6, 2011, and after multiple stints in the minors, he won the starting second base job before the 2014 season. That year, Gordon hit .289 with a league-leading 12 triples and 64 stolen bases. He was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time in his career.

The Dodgers are happy to have Howie Kendrick, but might regret moving the 27-year-old leadoff man known as "The Flash." Kendrick is ranked No. 112 in the ever-import WAR stat – "Wins Above Replacement." Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez are third and fourth respectively, but guess who is number one on the list? You guessed it, Gordon.

"He's been everything we could have imagined and could have hoped for," said Marlins General Manager Michael Hill before Monday's game. "We knew that the speed was a game-changer. We knew that his speed would affect the defense. That was something we wanted to inject into our lineup."

To top it off, the Dodgers are paying Gordon AND Haren's nearly $12.5 million in salary this season. So not only did you trade away an All-Star second baseman and starting pitcher, you are paying them to play against you and light the league on fire.

As for Gordon himself, he's more focused on the reaction he's going to get from the fans and how many bases he's going to steal.

"Five or six, I think," said Gordon when asked how many bags he'd take in the series. "If they give me a good ovation, I would appreciate it."

Gordon reunited with teammates Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez and coaches Tim Wallach, Davey Lopes and Mattingly before the game and talked about how good it felt to be back in LA. But if you're a Dodgers fan, don't let Gordon's 170-pound frame and big smile fool you. Once play starts and the first pitch is thrown, he'll be looking for retribution.

"It's human nature," said Marlins manager Mike Redmond. "Dee wants to come out here and have a monster night, a monster series. He wants to prove to be people that they [The Dodgers] made a mistake. That's what motivates a lot of guys."

And that's the last thing the hottest hitter in the league needs, more motivation. The Marlins and Dodgers kick off Monday night at Dodger Stadium with first pitched scheduled for 7:10PM.

Reunited and it feels so good...

A photo posted by Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) on



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks vs. Blackhawks: First Thoughts ]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 11:01:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/blackhawks-wild-G1-1.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks helped head coach Bruce Boudreau to a career first on Sunday night as Corey Perry’s overtime goal lifted the team to the first Conference Final appearance of the veteran bench boss’s career.

While the road thus far in the playoffs has been relatively easy for the Ducks, losing only once in nine games and only allowing nine goals in five games to the Calgary Flames in their second round victory, things are about to get a lot tougher as they prepare to face off against the Chicago Blackhawks with a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Final on the line.

Whereas the Flames were intimidated by the constant forechecking pressure that Anaheim applied with their forward group, the Blackhawks cannot only thwart that strategy, they can turn it around and apply it themselves. They have some of the best defensive forwards in the league, with guys like Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Marcus Kruger all carrying reputations as elite forecheckers and disciplined players on both ends of the ice.

Along with that quality defense up front, the Blackhawks have some of the best defensemen left in the postseason. Duncan Keith is a surefire contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy with his play over the first two rounds, and guys like Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson have been locked down thus far in the postseason.

To make matters even worse, the Blackhawks have some of the best scorers the Ducks will face all year. Patrick Kane has been an absolute monster for Chicago so far in the postseason after sitting out the final seven weeks of the regular season with a broken collarbone, and his speed and on-ice vision are a nightmare for opponents on a nightly basis. Add in secondary scorers like Patrick Sharp and Brad Richards and the Blackhawks have threats all over their lineup.

Fortunately for the Ducks, there are areas that the Blackhawks find themselves deficient in. The injury that defenseman Michal Rozsival sustained during the Hawks’ Game 4 win over the Minnesota Wild will keep him out for the remainder of the playoffs, and that means that David Rundblad will have to slot in for some playing time. The Hawks ride their top four defensemen hard, but that lack of depth and the fact that Rundblad and Kimmo Timonen are both exploitable could give the Ducks an edge with their top six forwards playing as well as they have recently.

In addition to that lack of defensive depth, the Ducks could also benefit from the Blackhawks’ anemic power play. Despite having all sorts of talented forwards, the Hawks can’t seem to find the right combination or strategy to use and they’re frequently thwarted even when they have the man-advantage on the ice.

The road thus far has been relatively smooth for the Ducks as they dispatched the Flames and Jets with ease but the Blackhawks pose all sorts of unique and interesting challenges. Both teams will be well-rested by the time the series gets underway, and fans should be in for a treat as two of the best teams in the Western Conference square off



Photo Credit: File (Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Defeat Flames, Advance to West Final]]> Sun, 10 May 2015 22:17:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150510-ducks-flames.jpg

The Anaheim Ducks put forth a dominant effort in Game 5 of their series against the Calgary Flames, and a Corey Perry goal in overtime propelled them to the Western Conference Final as they picked up a 3-2 victory.

The Ducks will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the next round of the postseason, which will begin later this week.

After the game got off to a sluggish start, the action picked up when Ryan Kesler was sent off on a double-minor about halfway through the first period. The Ducks were able to kill off the first half of the infraction, but with about nine minutes remaining in the frame the Flames scored. Jiri Hudler grabbed a pass from Dennis Wideman, and he eventually wristed a shot from the slot in past Frederik Andersen’s blocker to make it a 1-0 lead for Calgary.

The Ducks got a power play of their own a few minutes later thanks to a Joe Colborne penalty, but they were held without a shot on the man-advantage by a stout defensive effort from Calgary. The Flames got a power play just after the Colborne penalty expired, but it was Anaheim that had the best scoring chance as Andrew Cogliano got a shot off from in close. Karri Ramo did stop it however to keep his team in front.

After the Calgary penalty expired, Anaheim got another power play as Johnny Gaudreau committed an offensive zone penalty, but the Ducks were unable to capitalize as Calgary held onto their lead after the first period of play.

The Ducks couldn’t score on that power play, but when Colborne was sent back to the box early in the second period, Anaheim was able to tie things up. Jakub Silfverberg made the play happen as he won a puck battle behind the net and feathered a pass to the front of the cage. There, Ryan Kesler grabbed the puck and ripped a shot past Ramo to tie things up at 1-1.

About six minutes into the period, the Flames took the lead right back. Ryan Getzlaf had a pass from Hudler bounce off of his skate, and the bounce took it right to Gaudreau’s stick. The young Flames forward then ripped a shot toward the net, and it deflected off of Getzlaf’s stick and in past Andersen to make it a 2-1 game.

The second period ended with a scare for the Ducks as Corey Perry was sent sprawling to the ice by a hit from Matt Stajan. He was immediately helped off the ice, but he was able to return to the bench before the end of the period.

As the third period got underway, the Ducks took advantage of a power play and scored quickly. Francois Beauchemin fired in a shot from the point about a minute into the frame, and Matt Beleskey got his stick on the puck and deflected it past Ramo to tie things up at 2-2.

The Ducks continued their dominance throughout the third period of the game, racking up shot attempts against Ramo and frequently setting up possessions in the offensive zone. All total, the Ducks ended up totaling 14 shots on goal in the third period as they outshot the Flames by a wide margin, but none of those shots could finish off the game as the Flames forced overtime in the contest.

The overtime period featured a slew of scoring chances by the Ducks, with Beleskey getting denied on a breakaway and Ryan Kesler firing a shot off the post. Ultimately though it was Perry who proved to be the hero, as he grabbed the puck in a mad netfront scramble and flipped it home to send the Ducks to the Western Conference Final.

That series will begin later this week, with the Chicago Blackhawks heading to Anaheim for the first two games of the series.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Offensive Avalanche Crushes Rockies 9-5]]> Sun, 10 May 2015 21:56:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472906612.jpg

 

After six-inches of snow fell overnight, the Dodgers provided an avalanche on Sunday afternoon as they beat up the Rockies 9-5 to sweep the weather shortened two-game series and send Colorado to their ninth consecutive loss.

Adrian Gonzalez knocked in four runs and Justin Turner hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the top half of the eighth as Los Angeles broke a 5-5 tie with a four-spot in the inning.

Not sure if it was the cold weather, or the home plate umpire, but walks were a plenty on the afternoon as the two teams combined for 14 free passes on the day.

"We took 10 walks today, so guys are taking good at-bats every time, not trying to do too much just get on base." Turner said.

Reigning National League MVP Clayton Kershaw was responsible for four of those base-on-balls and struggled through 5 2/3 innings allowing five runs on eight hits with just five strikeouts.

"Some years it doesn’t go the way you want it to," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly of his ace. "Early on it probably hasn't gone the way he's wanted it to. But it will return and it will be just as dominate as it's always been."

Kershaw missed picking up his 100th career win for the fourth consecutive start. Once he does pick up the century-mark milestone, he will become the second youngest pitcher in Major League history to reach such a feat, behind only Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.

Kershaw was in Cy Young Award winning form through the first three innings, but he struggled in the fourth as it seemed like every Rockies batter to come to the plate hit a single off the Dodgers superstar.

"I walked some guys, and gave up a few hard hit balls," said Kershaw of the fourth inning. "You see five runs on the board so it was not a good start. It was a tough day."

Wilin Rosario, Nick Hundley and Jorge De La Rosa all singled in runs off Kershaw to give Colorado a 5-2 lead heading into the fifth. For Hundley, the single extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

De La Rosa was unable to keep the momentum and hold off LA as he walked the bases loaded before surrendering a bases clearing double to Gonzalez that tied the game at 5-5.

De La Rosa allowed five runs on five hits with six walks in four innings.

Gonzalez was named the Lexus Player of the Game with two doubles and four RBIs giving him 29 on the season, tied for the Major League lead with Giancarlo Stanton.

Turner hit the Dodgers league-leading fourth pinch-hit home run of the season off Scott Oberg (1-1) in the 8th inning, to put the Dodgers ahead for good 7-5.

"I was looking for something up and out of the zone to drive," said Turner of the at-bat. "He left a curveball up. I didn't know it was a homer, but I knew I got enough for it to at least be a sac fly."

The Dodgers would tack on two more and Adam Liberatore and Yimi Garcia combined for two perfect innings in the 8th and 9th to shut the door on the Mile High Men.

Liberatore has been amazing for Los Angeles out of the pen as he has retired 26 of 27 batters he's faced on the season which coincides with the beginning of his MLB career. Liberatore has eight strikeouts and no walks on the year and has not allowed a run at any level of play (Spring Training, Minors and the Majors).

"We have a pretty complete team," added Kershaw. "If I start doing my part we'll be pretty good."


Game Notes:
Clayton Kershaw recorded his 1,500th career strikeout. At 27 years old he becomes one of the youngest pitchers in history to reach the milestone.

The Dodgers players honored Mothers Day by wearing a pink breast cancer patch on their uniforms and many players wore pink armbands, gloves, undershirts, bats, socks and more during the game.

Los Angeles patiently walked a season-high 10 times.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Top Rockies 2-1 in Rain-shortened Game]]> Sat, 09 May 2015 05:12:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472650160.jpg

It seems like it's been raining for weeks in Colorado. After two games earlier in the week were postponed due to rain, the Rockies and Dodgers were delayed nearly 65 minutes before the tarps came off. The rain let up for about an hour, just enough time for Los Angeles to score a couple runs.

Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI-double, then threw out a runner at home in what turned out to be the play of the game and the Dodgers topped the Rockies 2-1 in a game that was called by the umpires in the top of the sixth inning as the rain returned.

It was an unfortunate outcome for the Rockies who have now lost eight consecutive games. Due to the rough weather, Colorado hasn't had much time to get games in, let along get a rhythm. On Friday, after the rain-delayed start, Rockies starter Eddie Butler walked the first two batters he faced before giving up a ground-rule double to Gonzalez.

The next batter was Yasmani Grandal who bagged eight RBIs the day prior. Grandal popped up into foul territory, but Justin Turner smartly tagged on the play and the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead before the Rockies knew what hit them.

"I hadn't quite gotten a feel for it, the ball was moving more than it normally does," said Butler about the first inning. "Later, I was staying behind the ball a little bit better, getting some extra movement to it. I started feeling it out and I started to get back in a zone and get guys to swing."

Butler (2-3) allowed two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He was still on the hill with the bases loaded and one out when the umpires called the game in the top of the sixth.

Former Rockies pitcher, Brett Anderson, got the start for Los Angeles and allowed just one unearned run on six hits in five strong innings against his prior team. Anderson (2-1) made only eight starts for Colorado last season due to injuries, a point that the press made sure to bring up after the game.

"You can't really think about that because then you're hesitant and you're just going to end up hurting yourself more," said Anderson about his injury history in Colorado. "I just go out there and try and get people out and do my best. And fortunately in weird circumstances, I was able to pitch pretty good and get us a win."

The unearned run came in the bottom half of the fourth inning when Troy Tulowitzi leadoff with a double. Two batters later, Nolen Arenado singled to left field and Alex Guerrero bobbled the ball, causing Tulowitzi to score.

The game-saving play came as the rain returned in the bottom half of the fifth inning. With the downpour driving down upon them, the Dodgers knew they needed to get out of the 5th inning in order for the game to officially go into the books. With Charlie Blackmon on second base, and two outs, Corey Dickerson hit an infield single up the middle. Dickerson beat the throw to first, but Blackmon tried to take home on the play.

Gonzalez saw Blackmon heading for home and quickly threw a strike to the plate, and Grandal was able to apply the tag just as Blackmon's foot slid into home. Blackmon was called out, but the play was reviewed and upheld after further replay.

"Obviously, he's got to try and make that play," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "You never know what happens that inning, if that thing gets extended. This is a weird day. Sounds like they've been having a weird week."

Game Notes:
Rockies catcher Nick Hundley singled in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Jameson Axford, the two-year old son of Colorado closer, John Axford, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Jameson was bit by a rattlesnake in Arizona during spring training.

Yasiel Puig re-aggravated his left hamstring strain while on a rehab assignment in Class-A Ranco Cucamonga.



Photo Credit: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Win Game 4 Friday ]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 21:27:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ducks-Flames-8-May-2015.jpg

Matt Beleskey’s third period goal broke a 2-2 tie, and Patrick Maroon’s empty net goal sealed the victory as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-2 in Game 4 Friday night.

The win moves the Ducks to within one victory of a Western Conference Final showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks, who finished off a sweep of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

The third game of the series saw precious few scoring opportunities, but the opening minutes of Game 4 had the feel of an Oprah Winfrey special as the goals were scored in fast and furious fashion. Jakub Silfverberg opened up the scoring for the Ducks on an early power play, with Francois Beauchemin’s stretch pass setting everything up and Ryan Kesler eventually finding the winger on the edge as the Ducks took a 1-0 lead.

Just a few moments later, the Flames scored to tie things up. Johnny Gaudreau hit the blue line with speed on the play, and even though his rush to the net was stopped by Frederik Andersen, Sean Monahan was there to clean up the mess as he lifted a rebound shot into the back of the cage to make it a 1-1 game.

The Flames once again used their speed around the edge a few minutes later as they grabbed the lead. Micheal Ferlund got the puck just inside the offensive blue line for Calgary, and his shot beat Andersen shortside as the Flames seized a 2-1 advantage.

After the wild and crazy start to the game, things began to settle down as the first period ended, but the second period saw a nasty, physical edge take hold. The hits flew and the shot totals dropped considerably over that frame, and even matching minor penalties to Deryk Engelland and Nate Thompson didn’t seem to cause the offenses to come back to life.

The Flames committed another penalty with about six minutes to go in the period as they were whistled for too many men, and this time the Ducks made them pay as they tied the game up just after the infraction expired. Gaudreau tried stick-handling the puck in front of his net, and Andrew Cogliano forced a turnover. Kyle Palmieri pushed the puck back to him in the slot, and Cogliano flipped home a shot to make it a 2-2 game after 40 minutes of play.

As the Ducks started their power play in the third period, they got a couple of good scoring chances and were able to convert to take the lead. Silfverberg fired in a shot from the left face-off dot, and when his attempt was stopped, Matt Beleskey netted his fourth goal of the series as he tossed in the rebound to give the Ducks a 3-2 edge.

The Ducks weren’t able to convert on the other half of the double-minor penalty to Colborne, and things went from bad to worse as Palmieri and Cogliano were each sent off for minor penalties. In spite of a nearly minute-long 5-on-3 situation, the Flames were unable to score, and Anaheim maintained their lead.

The Flames started to generate more opportunities at even strength late in the game, but ultimately it wasn’t enough as Maroon’s empty net goal sealed the victory and put the Ducks within one win of advancing.

Game 5 will take place on Sunday night at the Honda Center, with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 p.m. local time.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grandal Hits Two Homers, Dodgers Rout Brewers 14-4]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 18:55:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472439050.jpg

Yasmani Grandal hit a pair of three-run home runs and Alex Guerrero hit a solo shot of his own and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 14-4 to split their four-game series in Wisconsin.

Grandal went 4-for-4 with two home runs and eight RBIs, as his offense has emerged over the past week.

"I needed to be more aggressive and start swinging," said Grandal of his slow start. "If I don’t swing, I don't hit the ball. Ever since I've been more aggressive I've been hitting the ball and finding holes."

Adrian Gonzalez knocked in two-runs and Juan Uribe and Andre Ethier got an RBI each as well. The Dodgers 14 runs on Thursday were the most they have scored the entire season.

Rookie Joc Pederson hit an RBI single in the top of the ninth inning. It was Pederson's first hit that wasn't a home run since April 25th against the San Diego Padres. Pederson's last seven hits were home runs heading into the game.

Carlos Frias made his second start of the season for Los Angeles and picked up his second win in as many starts and third win overall. Frias allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in five innings of work.

"I was able to control both sides of the plate," Frias said. "I felt good. It feels great when you're able to go out there and compete and get the W."

Following a night game a day earlier, the Dodgers "Breakfast Baseball" saw some significant changes in the lineup. Four normal starters were removed from the Dodgers every day lineup and the bats didn't miss a beat.

Grandal replaced Ellis at catcher, Guerrero took over in left field, Uribe started at third, and Kike Hernandez made a spot start at short.

Mike Fiers (1-4) lasted six innings allowing five runs on five hits with five walks.

Adam Lind continued to be the MVP of Milwaukee through the first 25 games of the season. Lind went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIS in the loss.

Chrs Heisey was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City before the game and had a pinch-hit walk in the top half of the ninth inning with two outs and a runner on first.

Game Notes:
Former Dodgers pitcher, Jonathan Broxton appeared in the ninth inning for Milwaukee. Broxton played for Los Angeles from 2005 to 2011 eventually becoming the team's closer and a two-time All-Star.
 



Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis / Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wieland Has Rough Debut, Brewers Beat Dodgers 6-3]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 00:46:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472379834.jpg

Joc Pederson hit two solo-shots for Los Angeles, but a five-run first inning for Milwaukee was too much to overcome as the Brewers beat the Dodgers 6-3 on Wednesday.

Joe Wieland made his Dodgers debut and struggled out of the gate as the 25-year-old right-hander surrendered consecutive two-run home runs in the bottom half of the first inning.

"I thought this was going to be a good day," said a disappointed Wieland. "I fell behind in the first and when that happens here and you don't make a good pitch you get in trouble."

Scooter Gennett who returned to the lineup on Tuesday after a stint on the DL, hit a fastball to right center for his first homer of the season. Two batters later, Adam Lind, who's been the hottest hitter on the Brew Crew roster crushed a curveball to right field that just got over the wall and outstretched glove of Andre Ethier.

"It was awesome to throw up a crooked number up there like that for Wily," said Gennett. "

Wieland bounced back in the later innings, but had more trouble in the fifth and was replaced by Sergio Santos. Wieland allowed six runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. After one start, his ERA is a whopping 11.57.

"He was obviously was getting into trouble, they [The Brewers] we're seeing him pretty good," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly of Wieland. "He hung in there and gave us a chance to put a couple runs on the board. There run in the 5th slowed our momentum."

Wily Peralta (1-4) picked up his first win of the season. Peralta who has gotten only 10 runs of support in his previous five starts this season got six tonight and was able to cruise to victory going eight strong innings, allowing just three runs (two earned), on seven hits, with six strikeouts.

Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez worked the ninth for his sixth save of the season and is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities.

The Brewers have now won two of three since new manager Craig Counsell took over and have won four of their last five overall.

"To me, it was just easy, effortless and great life in the zone," said Counsell of Peralta. "It was a really easy effort how he pitched tonight. He was in control. No walks was great. He just did it with ease tonight."

Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-4 with a double and has been on base ten times thus far in the series.

Pederson hit crushed solo shots to dead center in the 5th and 8th innings and now has nine total on the year, tied for the NL lead with teammate Gonzalez.

"Tonight didn't go as planned," said a somber Pederson who wasn't proud of his homers because the team lost. "But we have to keep moving forward, it's baseball."

Wieland was acquired by Los Angeles from the San Diego Padres in the offseason in the trade that sent Matt Kemp to America's Classiest City, with Wieland and catcher Yasmani Grandal to La-La Land.

Game Notes:
Andre Ethier made his 1300th appearance in a Dodgers uniform. Good for ninth most in Dodgers history.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Flames Win 4-3 in Overtime ]]> Wed, 06 May 2015 00:40:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Flames-Ducks-5-May-2015.jpg

The Calgary Flames scored with just 20 seconds left in regulation to force overtime in Game 3 of their series against the Anaheim Ducks, and Mikael Backlund scored on a delayed penalty in the extra session to give his team a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night. 

The win leaves the Ducks up in the series by a two games to one margin, but the Flames will have a chance to tie things up when the teams re-convene for Game 4 on Friday night in Calgary. 

The Flames needed to get off to a quick start in the game, and that’s exactly what they did as they scored less than two minutes into the contest. Mason Raymond made a smart play along the boards as he feathered a pass across the ice to Brandon Bollig, and he fired a shot past Frederik Andersen to give the Flames a 1-0 lead early on.

Undaunted, the Ducks had a great possession by their first line result in a goal that tied things up. Sami Vatanen made the play happen as he stopped a Kris Russell clearing attempt along the boards, and his pass went to Ryan Getzlaf. Getzlaf then ripped a pass across the ice to Patrick Maroon, and the forward buried it to tie things up at 1-1.

The Flames continued pushing hard as the period wore on, and they were rewarded with a 5-on-3 power play as a result. The Ducks made a couple of nice plays to kill the man-advantage off, and they scored a short time later to take a 2-1 lead. This time it was Simon Despres who made the play happen, as he put a pass out to the front of the net that ricocheted off of Corey Perry’s skate and into the back of the cage to give Anaheim the lead after 20 minutes of play.

The two teams traded power plays early in the second period, but ironically it was a Calgary short-handed goal that tied things up. Hampus Lindholm fell down as he handled the puck at the blue line, and Joe Colborne skated in with an easy breakaway. His double move completely fooled Andersen, and when he slid the puck across the goal line the Flames tied the game at 2-2.

About eight minutes into the period, the Ducks scored yet another goal to seize the lead. Karri Ramo made a huge save on Ryan Kesler to keep the game tied, but the center was undaunted as he worked hard to get the puck back and put a pass out to the front of the netmouth. Matt Beleskey picked up the loose puck and ripped home a wrist shot past the Calgary goaltender to make it a 3-2 game.

The end of the second period was short on scoring chances, but the Flames picked up two power plays early in the third period as they tried to tie things up on home ice. Unfortunately for them, the Ducks were the ones who got the best scoring chances of either man-advantage as Andrew Cogliano and Getzlaf each had opportunities, but Ramo was able to keep them both out of the net.

With about six and a half minutes to go, the Flames got a tremendous scoring chance as Sam Bennett fired a shot in on net, but it appeared that Andersen kicked it out before it crossed the goal line. After a video review, the officials ruled that there was no conclusive evidence that the puck went in, and the Ducks maintained their lead by the slimmest of margins.

In the game's closing minutes, Flames forward Matt Stajan was whistled for running into Andersen in the crease, but Simon Despres followed him into the box after a post-whistle fracas. Sami Vatanen complicated matters for the Ducks when he was sent to the penalty box for a delay of game infractions, and ultimately Johnny Gaudreau fired a shot in past Andersen with 20 seconds remaining to tie things up at 3-3. 

Getzlaf and Perry each had chances to score early in the ensuing overtime period, but Ramo made a couple of big saves to keep things tied. A short time later, Granlund's shot from the point found its way through traffic and into the back of the Ducks' net, giving the Flames a much-needed win and snapping Anaheim's six-game winning streak. 

The Ducks will try to start a new streak on Friday night when the teams meet again in Calgary for Game 4 of the series. 
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Turner Tees Off on Brewers ]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 21:04:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472285030.jpg

The Dodgers roster that was supposed to be lacking in home run power has officially hit the most home runs in franchise history through 25 games.

Justin Turner, Jimmy Rollins and Adrian Gonzalez all homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 8-2 on Tuesday.

"I don’t care if people think we're a home run hitting team or not," said Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal. "It doesn't matter if you hit home runs or not as long as you continue to score runs. Whether it's by home runs or driving guys in, it's fine by me."

Zack Grienke (5-0) continued his torrid start to the season allowing one run (not earned) on just two hits with seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.

"Zack's been great all season, executing pitches and making very few mistakes," said Gonzalez of his starting pitcher. "He did what he needed to do and got us a pretty good win."

Greinke raked with the bat as well hitting a double to jump-start Los Angeles in their four-run seventh.

"He's got one of the better bat flips in the game," laughed Gonzalez. "People make a fuss about Puig's bat flipping but they don't say anything about Greinke's. Go figure."

Rookie Joc Pederson who is known for his defense in centerfield misjudged a fly ball in the second inning and was charged with a run-scoring error. The two out mistake cost the Dodgers an early run and with veteran Matt Garza on the mound for Milwaukee, it was possible it could prove to be the only run allowed in the game.

Thankfully for the Dodgers, it would not prove to be the only run of the game. Los Angeles got on the board in the 6th thanks to a three-run blast by Turner. Turner finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs on the night.

"In the bat before I missed a pitch I wish I could have had back," Turner said. "In my next at-bat I got another good pitch and didn't miss that one."

The inning would prove to be Garaza's last as he allowed three runs on four hits in six innings.

The bullpen couldn't hold the Dodgers at three, the way they did the night before. LA teed off on the Brewers pen in the top half of the seventh with two-run home runs by Rollins and Gonzalez.

Gonzalez's moon shot was a mammoth blast that hit the scoreboard 50 feet above the 400 ft. wall in center. His NL-leading 9th homer of the season was estimated at 447 feet, but had the scoreboard not been there it easily could have traveled over 500ft.

"He [Gonzalez] always has to try and show me up," joked Turner after the game. "I hit a homer to center that barely gets out and then he has to hit one the next inning a thousand feet further than me."

Gonzalez came into the game with the highest all-time batting average by any hitter at Miller Park in Milwaukee with a .406 career batting average against the Brewers.

"There's a flat background here and you see the ball well," explained Gonzalez of his success at Miller Park. "You recognize everything so it makes you feel more comfortable at the plate."

Daniel Coulombe made his 2015 Dodgers debut by pitching in the ninth. Coulombe was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday after posting a 1.74 ERA in eight relief appearances. Coulombe was taken in the 20th round by the Dodgers in 2012.

Game Notes:
The Dodgers broke their own franchise record with 42 home runs through their first 25 games. The previous record was set by the 2000 team.

Please refresh this page for more stats, updates, and player reactions…
 



Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis / Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brewers Bounce Back Against Kershaw 4-3]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 21:08:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472167568.jpg

Craig Counsell won in his managerial debut and the Milwaukee Brewers rallied off Dodgers ace, Clayton Kershaw, in the bottom of the 8th inning to defeat the boys in blue 4-3.

Monday marked the managerial debut of Counsell who took over as leader of the Brewers after Ron Roenicke was fired on Sunday. Unfortunately for Counsell, his reward for taking over the team was facing the league's reigning MVP and Cy Young winner.

Kershaw looked like his old dominant self for seven innings, but faded in the bottom half of the eighth as he allowed three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings and fell short of his 100th career win.

Dodgers' manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the third inning for arguing with first base umpire Paul Emmel. Mattingly wedged his way between Kershaw and Emmel who were arguing initially.

"I wasn't going to let him take a step towards Clayton," said Mattingly of his ejection. "I had to make sure Clayton stays in the game."

Joc Pederson hit his second leadoff home run of the season and his seventh long ball on the year. Pederson has been on a power tear of late, blasting five homers in his last six games.

Sunday's hero, Yasmani Grandal, was locked in offensively as the switch-hitting catcher went 3-for-4 with a double, two singles and an RBI.

"It would have been great to get the first one out of the way," said a disappointed Grandal. "Especially on the road, and being up 3 to nothing."

However, the 3-0 lead would not be enough for Los Angeles. The Brewers would comeback with a run in the sixth and three in the eighth to defeat the Dodgers and snap their four-game winning streak.

Hector Gomez went 2-for-3 with a triple and a homer against Kershaw and scored two of the four Brewers runs.

"Gomez hit a good pitch," said an angry Kershaw after the game. "He was ready to ambush. I overthrew a slider and he hit it hard."

With the game tied at three apiece and Carlos Gomez on third, Ryan Braun hit a broken-bat, infield single down the line that ended up being the game-winning RBI. Braun just barely beat the throw at first and the safe call was upheld after Dodgers interim manager, Tim Wallach challenged the play.

Milwaukee's bullpen held the Dodgers scoreless after starter Kyle Lohse gave up the initial three runs. Michael Blazek (2-0) picked up the victory pitching two scoreless innings in relief as the Brewers have won four out of their last five games after their worst start in franchise history.

"They're bullpen did a good job from keeping us from scoring," said Mattingly. "We weren't able to add on, and they put some good at-bats on against Clayton."

Chris Hatcher (0-3) blew the lead and the game for the Dodgers. Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save of the season.

Game Notes:
Juan Uribe extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Before the game, Adrian Gonzalez was officially named NL Player of the Month and Alex Guerrero was named the NL Rookie of the Month for April.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Beat Diamondbacks 1-0 in 13 Innings ]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 06:33:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472092364.jpg

Yasmani Grandal thought he had the day off on Sunday, but the Cuban catcher came in the game as a late-inning replacement and rescued the Dodgers with his defense and offense.

Grandal made the game-saving play in the top half of the 13th inning by throwing a runner out at the plate after a wild pitch by J.P. Howell. Minutes later, he led off the bottom of the 13th with a walk-off home run and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 for their fourth consecutive victory.

Los Angeles has been an offensive juggernaut at Dodger Stadium this season winning 12 out of 14 games coming into Sunday. In all 12 of those wins, the Dodgers have scored five runs or more every time. On Sunday however, fans in attendance had to wait over four hours for a single run to be scored. Thanks to Grandal, it was worth the wait, as the Dodgers completed the sweep of the NL West rivals.

"The key is keeping the faith," said Grandal. "After the second game of the season there were a lot of people who said our bullpen wasn't good enough. That bothered me a lot, and it makes me mad because I take it personally. Lately it's been lights-out."

In addition to both bullpens, the starting pitchers on Sunday were lights-out as well. It was a duel of Andersons as Diamondbacks starter Chase Anderson went head-to-head with Brett Anderson who started for Los Angeles. The Anderson boys are not related, but they acted like twins on the mound as both pitchers through six scoreless innings each.

Brett was brilliant for the boys in blue who needed a quality start from their pitcher after back-to-back short outings by Carlos Frias and Scott Baker. Anderson struck out four batters in his fifth start of the season.

The Dodgers bullpen would take over from there as the pen has not allowed a run in seven straight games a span of 26 scoreless innings.

Adam Liberatore pitched a scoreless 8th inning for Los Angeles, and keeps his unprecedented ERA at 0.00. Liberatore has not allowed a run in 2015 on any level (spring training, triple-A, majors).

Howell (1-1) picked up his first win of the season, but not without a little drama and a lot of luck. After allowing a leadoff double, the left-handed reliever had runners at the corners with two outs and Cliff Pennington at the plate. Howell bounced a backdoor slide three feet in front of the plate that got away from Grandal. Aaron Hill came racing in from third and Howell immediately ran to cover the plate. Grandal sprinted to his right, slid to the loose ball, and threw it to Howell who was covering home. Without looking, Howell reached behind his back with his glove and made a remarkable blind tag on Hill for the third and final out.

"Lucky bounce, I wasn't too far from Yasmani and I just prayed and ran," said Howell of the play. "It was a Hail Mary. It worked. We got lucky."

Arizona brought in Saturday night's losing pitcher Evan Marshall (0-2) into the game in the bottom of the 13th and he made just three pitches before Grandal took him deep to end the game in dramatic fashion.

"I thought back to when Joc took him deep last night," said Grandal about facing Marshall. "It was on a fastball, I know he has a pretty good fastball, and I knew he would be comfortable throwing it, so I went up there looking for it, he gave me one and I got a good swing on it."

It was Los Angeles' major league leading 38th home run of the season, and important one for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly who didn't have any more players to put in the game had it continued.

"At that point in the game honestly, you're out of bullets, out of players, you're pretty much in a game you don’t want to be in," said Mattingly. "You want to get out with a W, but obviously the two plays there at the end we're huge."

It was the Dodgers second consecutive sweep of the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium dating back to last season, it was also the Dodgers first 1-0 win in 13 innings or longer since they beat Arizona by the same score on June 2, 2010 in 14 innings.


Game Notes:
It was the first annual Viva Los Dodgers event before the game in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. Yasiel Puig met with fans and took photos.

Juan Uribe singled in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to twelve games.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Flames vs. Ducks: First Thoughts ]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:03:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Canucks-Flames-Hockey-17-April-2015.jpg

A start date for the series hasn’t been set, but the Anaheim Ducks now know who their second round playoff opponent will be as the Calgary Flames eliminated the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday in Game 6 of a contentious best-of-seven series.

Much like the Ducks did in the first round, the Flames made comeback wins a habit against the Canucks, finishing off the series by coming back from a 3-0 Game 6 deficit and ultimately winning a 7-4 game thanks to an explosive third period. Jiri Hudler tied the game at 4-4 with a power-play goal early in the frame, and a goal by Matt Stajan with less than five minutes to go in regulation proved to be the game winner as the Flames advanced.

For fans that haven’t watched many Flames games this season, their formula for success is simple: get solid goaltending, play aggressive defense and never give up on any game. They’ve notched a slew of comeback victories this season and their playoff run against the Canucks was no exception.

They picked up a come-from-behind win in Game 1 of the series, won Game 3 despite a big late push from Vancouver and somehow found a way to win Game 4 despite being outshot and largely held in check by the Canucks’ defense.

A big part of the reason for Calgary’s success has been the consistent play of their forwards so far in the postseason. Veteran Jiri Hudler has been a star for the team, scoring three goals and dishing out three assists in the six-game series. He scored twice in Game 6 on Saturday night and his ability on the power play has been a huge boost for the Flames.

The Flames also have a couple of really talented youngsters pulling their weight, with Calder Trophy-nominee Johnny Gaudreau currently tied for the team lead in points so far in the postseason and Sean Monahan just one point behind with two goals and three assists to his credit.

Goaltending is also another strength for the Flames, and they got some big performances out of both Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo in the series. Hiller, formerly of the Ducks, has a very respectable 2.20 goals against average and a .931 save percentage so far in the postseason, and in two relief appearances Ramo has a win (he was the goaltender of record in the Game 6 clincher after Hiller was pulled) and a 2.09 goals against average.

The Ducks will be well-rested by the time the series finally kicks off at the Honda Center later this week, but they’ll be in for a stern test after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets. The Flames are a team with talent in all areas of the ice, and they showed against the Canucks that they are as tough and resilient as they come. Moving on to the Western Conference Final would be a nice accomplishment for the Ducks, but they’ve got a tough road ahead.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Seek Sweep of Diamondbacks After 6-4 Victory on Saturday]]> Sun, 03 May 2015 15:27:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/472020212.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers go for the sweep of their division rival the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, just 12 short hours after rallying to beat the Snakes 6-4 on Saturday night.

Red-hot hitters Justin Turner and Joc Pederson hit homers for the second consecutive game and Howie Kendrick singled home the winning-run in the bottom of the seventh to complete the comeback.

"We're playing great baseball and it's fun to be a part of," said Pederson after the game. "I don't feel that anyone needs to put the team on their back. If someone doesn't do the job, the next person behind them will pick them up. That's part of being a great team."

Turner went 2-for-3 with a double and solo shot in the first inning. Turner has homered three out of the last four games.

Scott Baker made his second start of the season for Los Angeles in his Dodger Stadium debut. Baker wasn't as sharp as he was a week earlier in San Diego. On Saturday, Baker allowed four runs on seven hits in just four short innings.

"I was kind of fighting myself out there a little bit," said Baker. "Mechanically, I just wasn't where I needed to be to get the ball down consistently. It happens sometimes. I'm thankful the guys were able to pick me up tonight and score the runs that we needed."

Paul Goldschmidt continues to kill the Dodgers with his bat. "Goldie" hit a two-run homer in the first inning and has a league high, 16 home runs and 52 RBIs against LA since Aug. 1, 2011.

Aaron Hill also homered against Baker in the fourth inning to give Arizona a 4-3 lead.

Jeremy Hellickson allowed three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings before being replaced by Evan Marshall (0-1) who handed the game back to the Dodgers.

"We just didn't do enough to win, obviously," said Arizona manager Chip Hale. "We had the lead there late, and we just have to figure out a way to win. Our bullpen is going to have to figure out what it takes to get these guys out."

Pederson hit a game-tying home run for the seventh inning. It was his fourth consecutive blast in as many games, making him the first Dodgers rookie to homer in four straight games since Bill Sudakis in 1969.

Jimmy Rollins got an important insurance run in the eighth. Rollins only had two RBIs in his previous 63 at-bats.

Yasmani Grandal who scored the run, battled back from an 0-for-13 slump with a season-high three hits.

Juan Nicasio (1-1) pitched three scoreless innings in relief and won his first game in a Dodgers uniform.

Chris Hatcher picked up the save, his second of the season. The Dodgers bullpen has not allowed a run in six consecutive games.

Game Notes:
Scott Van Slyke extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the third.

Actor/Comedian Nick Kroll from the hit show The League threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.

The Dodgers are on a three-game winning streak and are now 12-2 at home. They have scored five runs or more in each of those dozen victories.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Adrian Gonzalez Excited for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao]]> Sat, 02 May 2015 17:42:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/453987108.jpg

Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez isn't just the team's biggest boxing fan; he is a disciple of the sport, and an active participant in the pugilist arena during the offseason.

You'll often see Gonzalez ringside for fights when baseball season is not in session and if you're lucky enough you might happen upon the Mexican-American slugger at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood, CA.

Gonzalez trains at Wild Card in the offseason as well at his home gym in La Jolla, CA. While in Hollywood, his workouts are overseen by Marvin Somodio, an assistant to Roach and Manny Pacquiao.

Gonzalez was at the Wild Card Gym when the fight was first announced, and remembers the roller coaster of emotions that went through him when he finally knew the "Fight of the Century" was going to materialize.

"I just remember there was a lot of talk, a lot of chatter going on about negotiations and the back and forth of it while I was there training," he said. "It was on, it was off, it was on it was off, and so finally I heard it from Freddie [Roach] himself. He came in with Marvin and said the fight was on, everything had been finalized. I think everyone at the gym was excited. Everybody wants to see this fight."

As a fan of the sport, Gonzalez believes the fight is going to be one of the greatest of this era, but he's also hesitant that it's going to live up to all the hype. With Floyd Mayweather's proclivity to be conservative and defensive, the fight could be a boring affair.

"I think it's going to be a great fight," he told us. "I think everyone is excited for it. I'm hoping for a good fight. I'm hoping that both fighters come out swinging and get after it. Nobody wants to see a tentative fight even though that could happen."

Unfortunately for Gonzalez he might not be able to watch the fight as the Dodgers are scheduled for a 9:10PM EST game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"We have a game at 6:00, so it's probably going to be tough to watch it, but I'll record it and watch it when I get home."

Like many experts and enthusiasts of the sport, Gonzalez has a prediction for the fight, but his inability to predict a winner may surprise you.

"It's one of those fights where there is no clear-cut favorite," the 32-year-old NL Player of the Month for April said. "I can't predict a winner, so I'll just say it's going to be a draw. But I hope both fighters get after it."
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pederson's Grand Slam Guides Dodgers Over Diamondbacks 8-0 ]]> Sat, 02 May 2015 01:19:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/471880578.jpg

Rookie outfielder Joc Pederson hit a grand slam and the Dodgers literally "slammed" the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-0 on Friday night.

The Dodgers started off the second inning with a solo shot by third baseman Justin Turner who has homered twice in his previous three games.

Five batters later, Pederson came up with the bases loaded and hit a first-pitch changeup 451 feet into the right center pavilion for his first career grand slam and third consecutive home run in as many games.

"I kind of blacked out to be honest," Pederson said. "When you start trying to hit it far, it doesn't go far, I just tried to put a good swing on it."

Pederson was hazed before his heroic at-bat after his teammates changed his walkout music to Hanson's "MMMBop" before the plate appearance. Pederson was literally still laughing when he hit his fifth home run of the year.

"Apparently we have some jokesters on the team who were messing around," laughed Pederson. "I was laughing at the walk-up song and then swung at the first pitch. It was pretty funny. They got me good."

The Dodgers tape measure soiree wasn't finished however as right fielder Andre Ehtier hit a moon shot to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning for his fourth round tripper of the season, matching his entire haul from last season.

"This is the best I've seen Andre swing the bat in a couple years," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "The power is back, he seems dangerous right now. He said he wanted to play every day, and he's getting to play a lot."

The Dodgers now have a major league leading 35 homers on the season.

The Los Angeles carousel of starting pitchers continued as Carlos Frias made his first start of the season for the boys in blue and just his third ever start in his brief career.

"If you prepare your mind, prepare yourself mentally and physically you'll be able to compete at any level," said Frias of his start. "Anything I can do to help the team to win, I'll do it."

Primarily a reliever, Frias made two appearances last year with disparaging results. In his first start on Sept. 3, 2014 he went six scoreless innings to defeat the Washington Nationals. Two weeks later, he couldn't complete an inning after allowing 8 runs on 10 hits to the Colorado Rockies.

Frias (2-0) was fantastic on Friday however throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings allowing just four hits and fanning three batters. Frias became the eight different starting pitcher for the Dodgers this season, tied for the most in the majors.

"Carlos was really good tonight," said Mattingly of Frias. "His balls had down movement tonight. He was really good."

Scott Van Slyke hit a two-run pinch-hit single for the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to nine games and put a snowman on the scoreboard.

Rubby De La Rosa, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the offseason in a trade for Wade Miley, made the start for the Diamondbacks and like a dozen other starters before him, couldn't keep the Dodgers in the ballpark.

De La Rosa allowed five runs (all on home runs) on just three hits, striking out six over five innings of work.

J.P. Howell pitched a scoreless ninth for Los Angeles in relief as the Dodgers picked up their third shutout of the season and their largest margin of victory over the Snakes since July 7, 2004.

30-year-old Diamondbacks rookie Danny Dorn made his major league debut and singled to right off of Frias. Dorn is a Southern California native and had plenty of friends and family cheering for him from a suite behind home plate.

"It was definitely a moment that I'll remember forever. It was absolutely worth the wait," said Dorn.

Los Angeles improved to 11-2 at Dodger Stadium on the season, their best record since 2009. In all 11 home wins, the Dodgers have scored at least five runs.

Game Notes:
Kenley Jansen made his 2015 debut in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. Jansen made 14 pitches against Inland Empire, allowing just one hit, with one strikeout. Former Dodger star, Eric Karros threw out the ceremonial first pitch for 50,164 fans in attendance.

Pederson became the second Dodgers rookie to hit three consecutive home runs in as many games, joining Alex Guerrero who hit also accomplished the feat. April 22-26.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers April Review: Gonzalez Wins NL Player of the Month]]> Fri, 01 May 2015 19:20:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/470384538.jpg

With the first month of the MLB season officially in the books, the Los Angeles Dodgers once again look like a team that is on the fast track for another NL West title. The most redundant phrase in sports "it's still early" aside, the Dodgers find themselves in first place in the division through the first 21 games of the season.

The Dodgers have been dominant offensively as they rank in the top five in nearly every offensive category in the national league. The team has been flexing their muscles as well as they top the NL in home runs (32), slugging percentage (.486), and on base percentage (.345).

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez seized the NL Player of the Month Award for April. The 32-year-old leads the National League in home runs (8), slugging percentage (.790) and OPS (1.222). His .383 batting average ranks third in the league behind only Colorado Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu and former teammate Dee Gordon who now plays for the Miami Marlins.

"El Titan" as he is aptly called has been the driving force in the rekindled rivalry between the Dodgers and revamped San Diego Padres. Gonzalez has hit six of his eight homers against his former team with three coming off of Padres starter Andrew Cashner.

Second baseman Howie Kendrick is looking like a great acquisition so far, hitting .314 on the season. Don Mattingly's secret weapon has been utility man Alex Guerrero. In 26 at-bats, Guerrero has five home runs and 13 RBI while hitting .423. Rookie Joc Pederson is also making Dodger fans quickly forget about the departure of Matt Kemp by hitting .298 with 17 walks and four long balls.

While the brazen bats of the Dodgers have been scorching of late, the team's future problems could be their pitching staff. The royal arms are currently rank in the top five in the NL in ERA and strikeouts, but, early injuries to Kenley Jansen, Brandon League and Hyun Jin-Ryu have led to a patchwork pitching rotation and plug-and-play out of the pen.

To make matters worse, on Monday, the Dodgers announced that free agent acquisition Brandon McCarthy will be out until the Summer of 2016 with a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery. McCarthy (3-0) was second in the NL in strikeouts with 29 despite posting an unusually high ERA of 5.87.

In the absence of many of their stars on the mound, the Dodgers will have to rely heavily on 2009 Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke (4-0) who is off to an out-of-this-world start to the season with a 1.93 ERA and 27 strikeouts and reigning NL Cy Young/MVP winner Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw (1-2) has been slow out of the gate with a 3.73 ERA, but leads the majors in strikeouts with 43.

The bullpen which many expected to be the teams' Achilles heel is off to a fast start as well as the young guns selected by Mattingly at the end of spring training are fourth in the majors in ERA (2.25), first in FIP (2.13), first in xFIP (2.95) and second in strikeouts (79).

The Dodgers enter into the month of May with a 13-8 record and an impressive 10-2 record at Dodger Stadium. Only three of the Dodgers next nine series in May are against teams with a record of .500 or better meaning that the month of May could be the time Los Angeles separates themselves from the pack in the crowded NL West.



Photo Credit: Harry How]]>
<![CDATA[Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Hospital Trip]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 12:24:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kareem_Abdul_Jabbar_5_14.jpg

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar visited the emergency department at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center causing a bit of concern that one of the greatest basketball players in history was struggling with his health. However, the hospital visit turned out to be a precautionary exercise related to Abdul-Jabbar's recent heart surgery.

The UCLA alumni underwent a quadruple bypass surgery on Apr. 16. According to a statement released by Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Wednesday night, the 68-year-old experienced dizziness and contacted physicians on Wednesday. After being instructed to come to the emergency room, Abdul-Jabbar's surgeon and cardiologist examined the 7-foot 2-inch six-time NBA champion.

Fortunately, tests revealed no complications, and Abdul-Jabbar was discharged and returned home to rest. In the statement released by the hospital, Dr. Richard Shemin, who is Abdul-Jabbar's surgeon, said it is not uncommon for patients to experience symptoms that require further testing following a major heart surgery.

During the Lakers' recent historically bad season, which finished as the worst in franchise history, Abdul-Jabbar continued to attend games and support the team at its darkest points. One would hope that the all-time great will walk by his statue at LA Live and sit under his retired jersey at Staples Center for seasons to come.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Four Homers Fuels Dodgers Over Rival Giants in Series Finale]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 00:55:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*127/471571890.jpg

One night after reshuffling the lineup to feature all right-handers, Don Mattingly littered the lineup full of lefties on Wednesday against Ryan Vogelsong.

The rearranging paid dividends as the Dodgers belted four home runs in three innings off of Vogelsong, all off the bats of left-handed hitters. Joc Pederson, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Jimmy Rollins all dialed in from long distance and the Dodgers took the rubber match of their three game series 7-3.

Pederson who rode the elevator up the lineup from the eight spot to leadoff on Wednesday greeted Vogelsong with a first pitch blast to right center to start the home run barrage.

"It's good that we got to him [Vogelsong] early," said Pederson of the first inning.

Three batters later Gonzalez continued to state his case for NL Player of the Month when his solo-shot left the park for his NL-leading 8th round tripper on the season.

"I was looking fastball and he threw me a curveball," said Gonzalez. "Thankfully I was able to turn on it and hit it out."

After a one out walk to Scott Van Slyke, Ethier joined the home run party with a four-bagger of his own and before Dodgers fans found their seats, it was 4-1 in favor of Los Angeles.

"He made a couple mistakes over the heart of the plate and we capitalized off of them," said Ethier of Vogelsong. "He needs to live on the edges but he made some mistakes tonight."

The bleacher seats at Chavez Ravine were temporarily renamed "Souvenir City" as Rollins led off the bottom half of the third inning with a deep dinger of his own to make it an even four lefties to homer of Vogelsong before he was chased from the game.

Vogelsong (0-2) allowed six runs on five hits (four of them homers) over three short innings. It was the first time in his career that he allowed three home runs in the first inning of a game and just the second San Francisco starter to do it since Matt Cain on April 29, 2013 at Arizona.

"I warmed up fine in the bullpen and felt fine, physically. I just didn't make very good pitchers," said a somber Vogelsong in the losing locker room. "Not all of them were up, but some were, for sure. They weren't terrible pitches, just not as good as they needed to be"

The Giants tried to rally in the top of the 4th when shortstop Brandon Crawford hit a two-run jack off of Dodgers starter Zack Grienke to close the gap at 6-3.

Greinke would tack on an RBI of his own however in the bottom half of the inning when San Francisco right fielder, Justin Maxwell robbed the pitcher of a base hit with a spectacular diving catch. Thankfully, Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal acutely tagged up on the play and LA led 7-3.

"We had a lot of games last year where we would score early and let teams back in it," said Mattingly. "I thought tacking on that run after they scored in the top half of the fourth was huge"

Greinke (4-0) continued his dominance over the NL West as the former 2009 AL Cy Young winner allowed three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts over six innings.

Grienke tied a career-high winning his ninth consecutive decision and improved to 16-0 with a 1.79 ERA against the NL West since the start of the 2014 season. In all, Greinke is an eye-popping 22-1 against the NL West since donning Dodger blue in 2013.

"I pitch well against the (NL West), but in order to do what I've done there's a lot of luck," said Greinke of his dominance against the division. "We scored a bunch of runs today, but other times I pitch really good and we don't score many runs. So there's a lot of luck involved."

Adam Liberatore pitched a perfect seventh inning to remain scoreless on the season through 6.1 innings of work.

Yimi Garcia pitched a scoreless ninth as Los Angeles moved to 10-2 at home on the year.

Game Notes:
Former Dodgers pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game. Ishii made his MLB debut with the Dodgers in 2002.

Brandon McCarthy's Tommy John surgery is scheduled for Thursday.

53,285 were in attendance at Dodger Stadium for "Clayton Kershaw Blanket Night."

Juan Uribe hit a double in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. The Dodgers moved to a record of 2-4 against their rivals on the young season.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pederson Promoted to Leadoff Spot Against Giants]]> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 18:39:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/470381260.jpg

It wasn't in a glass elevator, but nevertheless Joc Pederson has gone "up and out" when it comes to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup. After a 2-for-3 performance with a double and home run against the Giants on Monday, Pederson went from eighth to leadoff for the finale on Wednesday.

The move makes sense as the Dodgers rookie centerfielder is third in the big leagues in on base percentage (.458) and tops on the team in walks (16). However, what is surprising is that LA's front office may have been plotting this move since spring training.

"The eight spot was designed to allow him to not feel any offensive pressure and be able to play and do his thing," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly of Pederson. "We figured that we would put him there (leadoff) after a month."

Pederson hit in the leadoff spot in most of his 121 games in Triple-A Albuquerque last year with a .303 batting average, a .435 on base percentage with 100 walks and 30 stolen bases. In 18 starts in the majors in 2015, he has only batted in the seventh or eighth spot — until today.

The climb up the lineup ladder for Pederson means that shortstop Jimmy Rollins who is a perennial leadoff hitter moves into the two-hole. Rollins has only made 357 career starts batting second but change could be good for the former Phillies All-Star as he is hitting just .182 to start the season.

Pederson's promotion could be permanent depending on how he handles the situation in the rubber match with the rival Giants on Wednesday. If he continues to perform up to par as he did in the back of the lineup, Los Angeles could have a new table setter this summer.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bumgarner Beats Kershaw; Dodgers Lose 2-1]]> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 05:43:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/471469044.jpg

On a night that featured a matchup of reigning MVPs, it was the 2012 NL MVP that was the difference.

Buster Posey went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Tuesday to even the three-game series at a game apiece.

For the second consecutive time, the battle of the MVPs lived up to its billing. Reigning NL MVP Clayton Kershaw and 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner dominated their domain for the entirety of the evening.

But in the end it was Bumgarner (2-1) who came out victorious as the southpaw allowed one run on just five hits with nine strikeouts in eight superb innings.

"It's going to bring out the best in you, for sure. There's no way around that," said Bumgarner about the pitching duel with Kershaw. "You know that anytime you're facing him, it's going to be tough to scratch some runs across and were able to score just enough to win, so it was a big win for us."

Kershaw (1-2) fell for the second time this season. He allowed two runs on seven hits, with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

"I gave up two, he gave up one. He pitched eight innings. I pitched seven. So yeah, I got out pitched," Kershaw said matter of factly. "I have a lot respect for Madison [Bumgarner] and what he does, but I don't care who I pitch against."

Going into the game Kershaw had been tremendous against San Francisco. Kershaw's 1.48 ERA and opposing batting average of .184 is the lowest all-time against the Giants. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner drops to 14-6 and Tuesday's loss was his first against the Giants since September 13, 2013.

Posey singled home a run in the first inning to put the Giants on the board 1-0. In his next at-bat, he hit a 94MPH fastball to dead center and the Giants were up 2-0. It was just Posey's second career homer off of Kershaw as the star catcher has a lifetime batting average of .200 against him.

Howie Kendrick grounded into a fielder's choice with runners on second and third in the bottom half of the 4th inning. Jimmy Rollins scored on the play to make the game 2-1.

Bumgarner would shut the Dodgers down from there and Santiago Casilla struck out Adrian Gonzalez to end the game earning his sixth save in seven chances.

The Dodgers announced before the game that outfielder Carl Crawford suffered a torn oblique while legging out a triple the night prior. In his stead, the boys in blue called up Kike Hernandez from Triple-A Oklahoma City and started him in center field for his Dodgers debut.

Hot-hitting Alex Guerrero made his first ever start in left field and Scott Van Slyke moved to right field to replace the injured Yasiel Puig. In all, five players made a rare appearance from the Dodgers every day lineup.

"It certainly was different," said Bumgarner of Mattingly's patchwork quilt of a lineup. "I thought to myself, 'When's the next time I'm going to face a lefty?' But I don't mind either way. You've still got to make pitches to whoever you're facing."

The Dodgers head in to Wednesday with their eight game home winning streak snapped and a record of 2-4 in one run games.

Game Notes:
Juan Uribe extended his hitting streak to 10 games. It was USC night at Dodger Stadium as Trojans head football coach Steve Sarkisian threw out the first pitch before the game.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carl Crawford Expected To Be Out 6-8 Weeks With Oblique Tear]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:44:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/174*120/456058592.jpg

It just went from bad to worse for the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Monday the team found out that starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy had a torn UCL and would be out for the season. On Tuesday they announced outfielder Carl Crawford has a torn oblique and is expected to miss several months.

The Dodgers were once deep at the outfield position and an injury such as this would be nothing more than a slight scratch on their armor. However, a winter trade that sent Matt Kemp south on the I-5 to the San Diego Padres and a hamstring injury to star Yasiel Puig now has Los Angeles scrambling to guard the fence at Chavez Ravine.

Crawford was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday and Enrique Hernandez was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take his place on the 25-man roster. Utility infielder, Alex Guerrero, who is off to a hot start to the season will make his first ever career start in left field and Scott Van Slyke is expected to see some time in right field.

"It's pretty bad," said the 33-year old Crawford before Tuesday night's game against the San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers did not announce a timetable for Crawford's return, but typically oblique injuries of this nature can carry a six to eight week recovery period, often longer depending on the severity. With injuries mounting, it will be interesting to see how the reigning NL West division champions continue on from here.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Defeat Rival Giants 8-3 in Opening Game of Series]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 01:17:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/177*120/471398370.jpg

Joc Pederson believes he's a building under construction, still just a work in progress. On Monday night, in the opener of a three-game series against the rival San Francisco Giants, Pederson looked more like the Empire State Building.

"It's a long process," said Pederson of his development. "But I just keep putting brick on brick."

Pederson went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, a home run and a dazzling defensive play in center to start the game as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Giants 8-3 for their first win of the season against the reigning World Series champions.

Just four days prior, the Dodgers were reeling after getting swept by San Francisco in a humbling three-game series at AT&T Park.

Monday marked the rematch of last Tuesday's pitching contest between Brett Anderson and Tim Lincecum. "The Freak" won that battle, but the Dodgers got the better of him in Los Angeles.

The former two-time Cy Young Award winner allowed four runs on eight hits and walked three batters over 4 innings, his shortest start of the season.

"I was missing over the middle of the plate too much," said Lincecum. "And regardless of the ball being down or up, I'm missing on the sides of the plate that I shouldn't be missing on."

The Dodgers made it a point of emphasis to put together more quality at-bats against Lincecum and force him to throw up in the zone. The strategy worked as Los Angeles put runners on base in each of the first three innings against Lincecum.

After stranding runners in the first two innings, the Dodgers broke through with four in the bottom half of the third thanks to a string of singles by the boys in blue. After a leadoff walk, Howie Kendrick, Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Van Slyke and Juan Uribe all singled before Pederson hit a double down the right field line.

"All of us had good at-bats that inning," said Pederson. "Hitting is contagious and we were able to get to him [Lincecum] early."

Pederson ranks third in the National League in on-base percentage and has reached base safely in 15 of 19 games he's played in.

In addition to his offense, Pederson has been piquant on defense as he ranks second in the league in outfield assists. Pederson added another clip to his personal highlight reel in the first inning when he made an over the shoulder catch at the warning track on a dead run that doubled off Nori Aoki who was running on the play.

"That was a Gold Glove caliber play," said starting pitcher Brett Anderson. "To catch the ball and then fire a strike to the relay man and get Aoki at first was amazing. I thought it was over his head. He's made a couple plays behind me already and also threw a guy out at the plate. He's been tremendous."

Anderson (1-1) nearly coughed up the lead in the top half of the 5th after a two-out rally by the Giants was punctuated with a Joe Panik double to deep right field. Anderson allowed three runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings before being relieved by Carlos Frias who worked out of the jam and earned his first win of the season.

"It's frustrating because these guys handed me a four-run lead," said Anderson of his performance. "I could have saved the bullpen a little bit and not used those guys. I've got to do better. Fortunately, we got the win."

The Dodgers bullpen did the job pitching 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. Adam Liberatore still has yet to surrender a run in 2015 (MLB or minors) and Yimi Garcia and Chris Hatcher each pitched a perfect inning of their own.

Justin "Big Red" Turner blew the doors off the barn in the bottom of the 8th when he hit the first pinch-hit home run of his career. The third pinch-hit homer on the season for Los Angeles was a three-run blast that was also Turner's first on the year.

"It was a real nice feeling," said Turner of getting the first one out of the way. "I think it's my first career pinch-hit homer as well. To get those three runs and get that cushion going into the ninth is always good."

Before the game the Dodgers announced that starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy had a torn UCL and would be out for the remainder of the season.

Game Notes:
Dodgers legend and baseball Hall of Famer Don Drysdale was honored before the game as his widow Ann Meyers and children DJ, Darren and Drew all participated in pregame festivities. Hip-hop recording artist, Kendrick Lamar, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Carl Crawford was injured in the bottom of the second inning and was taken out of the game with tightness in his right oblique.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Pitch Don't Kill My Vibe' Kendrick Lamar Throws at Dodger Stadium]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:56:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/Screen+Shot+2015-04-27+at+9.46.58+PM.png

Compton's own Kendrick Lamar threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Monday in the opening game of a three-game set against the rival San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers organization was pretty creative in their announcement that Lamar would be throwing out the first pitch after they replied to a tweet the hip hop artist posted on his Twittter account. On April 1st, Lamar tweeted a still shot of his new video, "King Kunta" in which he is wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers hat.

The Dodgers twitter account replied with "Really diggin' that lid, @kendricklamar. See you on April 27 for your first pitch."

Lamar is a Grammy winning recording artist with hits like "Swimming Pools (Drank)," "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe," and "I." Last month he released his third album, To Pimp a Butterfly, which has received wide spread acclaim.

Lamar brought many of his friends to the game including fellow rappers from his hip hop group, "Black Hippy." The group is a part of Carson-based independent record label, Top Dawg Entertainment. In addition to the TDE crew; Lamar was also with his new fiancée Whitney Alford, known affectionately as "Whit."

"It's like a dream come true," said Kendrick of throwing out the first pitch.

Lamar shook off Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford before throwing a relatively slow fastball that crossed the plate, but bounced before being caught by Crawford. Take a look at the video of the hip hop star's throw below.
 

 

#KendrickLamar all smiles before throwing out the first pitch in front of 50,000 fans

A photo posted by Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) on



Photo Credit: Michael Duarte]]>
<![CDATA[Brandon McCarthy Out For Season With Torn UCL]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 01:19:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/172*120/471156836.jpg

They are the three most dreaded words in baseball: "Tommy John surgery." The mere mention of the name means 14-18 months of rehab, and arguably, for a starting pitcher, their career will never be the same again.

Those were the words whispered into the ear of Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly when he arrived at Dodger Stadium early Monday morning.

"It's not very good news," he told the media before the game when McCarthy's name was mentioned. "Brandon being out for the year is different than someone who's going to be on the DL for a couple weeks, then coming back."

McCarthy was cemented as the Dodgers third starter before being told he had torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. McCarthy was 3-0 with a 5.87 ERA in four starts on the season.

McCarthy injured the elbow in the second inning of the Dodgers 11-8 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday. Remarkably, McCarthy felt the pain in his elbow early in the game, but chose to pitch through it, rather than force Mattingly to use the bullpen so prematurely.

"Early on it really started to hurt," said McCarthy. "My stuff was diminishing and the pain was increasing. I should have probably called it in the second, but I didn't and it was pretty stupid in hindsight."

The news that McCarthy had torn his UCL was a shock to the Dodgers organization as many believed, including McCarthy himself, that the diagnosis would be elbow tendinitis that would keep McCarthy off the mound for a few weeks. With Tommy John surgery likely, McCarthy will be out for most of the 2016 season as well.

"I don't want to stretch it out for several months and waste everyone's time," said McCarthy of the inevitability of the surgery. "If this is what we need to get done, we're going to get it done and done soon."

The injury to McCarthy now appears to be a giant black mark on the resume of new Dodgers president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman. Friedman signed McCarthy as a free agent soon after taking over the position in what many around the league considered a risky move considering McCarthy's history of shoulder issues.

"He never had had an elbow injury, so this falls into 'This happening to anyone' category," Friedman told the media in a press conference before the game. "His elbow looked healthy in an MRI before signing him and it looked like a healthy elbow. This happens to pitchers. They get hurt and you have to act accordingly."

Friedman traded away starting pitchers Dan Haren and Andrew Heaney before the season making the decision to sign McCarthy to a four-year $48 million deal all the more mind boggling.

"My immediate thoughts went to Brandon, then I took a deep breath and try to figure out where we go from here," added Friedman.

The future of the Dodgers starting rotation does seem cloudy after the 1-2 punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke. Third pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is on the shelf until late-May or early June, Brett Anderson has a history of injury problems and beyond those names is one giant question mark.

"Scott Baker will stay here for now," Mattingly told the media. "We’ve already seen a number of guys in the fifth spot, and we have guys who have thrown the ball well. Someone just has to step forward, and pitch well."

That someone most likely will come from Triple-A Oklahoma City where there are a bevy of pitching options to take over for McCarthy. Joe Wieland (2-0 3.00 ERA) is an option, as is top 100 prospect Zach Lee (3-0 0.95 ERA). Brandon Beachy returns from his own Tommy John surgery in late June and David Huff and Mike Bolsinger who made spot starts already are also in the mix.

Regardless of who takes over in the rotation for McCarthy, it will be interesting to see how the Dodgers rebound from this.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Padres Cool Off Dodgers' Hot Hitting]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 18:48:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150426-matt-kemp-dogers-padres-sunday-april-26.jpg

With injuries mounting the Los Angeles Dodgers were hoping to catch lightning in a bottle when they called up one of the fabulous Baker boys from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Scott Baker, 33, made his first major league start since 2011 and was solid in his Dodgers debut, allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings.

"I thought he was good," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "He gave us a chance to win and that's what we ask of all our starters."

Two of those hits were home runs however and the Padres defeated the Dodgers 3-1 to snap San Diego's four-game losing streak.

Alexi Amarista and Derek Norris went deep for the Padres and Brandon Morrow picked up his first win of the season holding the Dodgers to just one run through seven strong innings.

Morrow (1-0) pitched his best game of the season for San Diego allowing one home run on just five hits while striking out four. Both Morrow and Norris were acquired this winter as part of the revamped roster that is the 2015 Padres.

The only offense the Dodgers could muster came from the hot-hitting bat of Alex Guerrero. An early rookie of the year candidate, Guerrero leads the team in batting average, and is second in hits, homers and RBIs. What makes his numbers even more eye-popping is he has done it in a reserve role on the team and with just 22 at-bats.

It was a tough luck loss for Baker (0-1) who pitched well in his Dodgers debut, albeit for just a few mistakes throughout the game. 

One of those mistakes came in the third inning when Baker left a 3-2 pitch up in the zone to Amarista, who led off third inning and put the Padres on the board 1-0.

"I was a little jumpy at first, but I feel like I settled in there," said Baker. "There's a couple pitches I wish I could have back."

When asked after the game if he thought he had done enough to earn a permanent spot in the Dodgers rotation, Baker left that up to the organization.

"That's a little above my pay grade," joked Baker. "I'm going to give it my all no matter where it's at. I'm excited for the opportunity and the rest is up to them."

After an RBI single by Norris in the fourth, the former Oakland A's catcher hit a hanging curve into the left field porch for his first homer of the season. Norris carried the Padres offensively going 2-for-3 with a double, home run and two RBIs.

After hitting seven home runs the previous night, the two teams that lead the NL West combined for three on Sunday. In total, they've hit 10 homers in the past two games and 11 in the three game series.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save of the season.

Game Notes:
Yasiel Puig and Joel Peralta were placed on the 15-day DL before the game. Sunday's starter Scott Baker and Carlos Frias took their place on the 25 man roster.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Defeat Padres 11-8 Behind Home Run Barrage]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 01:28:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/150425-adrian-gonzalez-dodgers-padres.jpg

It was a home run barrage at the pitcher friendly Petco Park in San Diego on Saturday. The stadium that is notorious for not allowing home runs, yielded a total of seven on the night.

Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and Juan Uribe all went deep for the Dodgers who defeated the Padres 11-8 for their second consecutive win.

Wil Myers and Justin Upton hit homers for the Padres, with Upton crushing two separate blasts off Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy.

McCarthy has an affinity for the long ball as he has allowed nine home runs in just four starts this season. Despite an ERA of nearly 6.00, McCarthy moved to 3-0 on the year.

McCarthy allowed six runs on six hits through five innings of work. Every run he allowed came off of a home run.

The Dodgers jumped all over San Diego starter Ian Kennedy in the first inning. Ethier hit a two-run blast into the right field seats and Carl Crawford hit an RBI double four batters later and it was 3-0 after the top half of the first.

"The universe was a little off track there in the first inning," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

Kennedy (0-1) lasted only 4 1/3 innings allowing eight runs on eight hits surrendering three homers. His record dropped to 0-6 with an ERA over 5.00 against the Dodgers.

Gonzalez hit his seventh home run of the season and sixth against his former club in the second inning when he sent an 85 MPH slider into deep right field for a three-run blast and the Dodgers led 6-3.

"It was a different game," Mattingly continued. "We get three in the first and they got three back, but we answered the next inning with three more and that changed the momentum of the game. That second inning was a huge inning for us."

They would pile on more in the top half of the 5th thanks to consecutive two-run jacks by Howie Kendrick and Juan Uribe in the inning. The Dodgers took a dominant 10-3 lead, but it was only a matter of time before McCarthy let the Padres back in.

"We were able to get some balls to fall today," said Kendrick of the home run medley. "The ones out of the yard you can't predict that stuff. When the ball flies like that here in a park that is normally not a home run park it's an uncharacteristic day, but we'll take it."

McCarthy surrendered yet another home run to Upton in the bottom half of the sixth inning. It was Upton's second homer of the game and his third on the season against McCarthy.

"I've never seen the ball flying out of here like it was tonight," said Upton. "The ball was carrying to right-center and to right field, so like you saw there was an elevated number of runs."

McCarthy's cutter to Upton turned out to be his last pitch of the game as he immediately called for the medical staff and was removed from the game with a right elbow injury.

"It started hurting towards the end of the Rockies game last week," said McCarthy of his elbow. "Today, early on it really started to hurt. My stuff was diminishing and the pain was increasing. I should have probably called it in the second, but I didn't and it was pretty stupid in hindsight."

McCarthy is scheduled for an MRI exam on Monday in Los Angeles to determine if there's any more serious damage to the elbow.

Matt Kemp was ejected from the game in the bottom of the seventh inning for arguing a called third strike that he felt was below the knees.

Ethier was named player of the game going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, falling a triple short of the cycle. Ethier started in right field in place of injured star Yasiel Puig who re-aggravated his left hamstring a night prior.

"It's nice when you have Gonzo standing behind you and they don't want to put another guy on base for him to drive in more runs," said Ethier of his performance in the two-hole. "I try and put good swings on the ball and I just make the most of the opportunity in that situation."

Chris Hatcher was wild in the bottom of the ninth has he had three wild pitches, allowing a run before closing the door on the Padres.

Game Notes:
Kennedy returned to the Padres rotation after injuring his hamstring in his season debut against the San Francisco Giants on April 9th.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Greinke Dominates Padres 3-0; Puig Hurt]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 21:01:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/165*120/471021018.jpg

Beaten and demoralized after a three-game sweep at the hands of their rivals by the Bay, the Dodgers rebounded nicely on Friday in San Diego with a 3-0 victory over the Padres.

For the third consecutive game, Los Angeles had a pitching duel on their hands as former Cy Young winner Zack Grienke went pitch-for-pitch with Padres ace Andrew Cashner.

Greinke won the battle while continuing his domination of the NL West. Grienke (3-0) allowed no runs while holding the Padres to just four hits in seven innings striking out seven batters.

"We needed that from Zack, " said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "We were hoping to get seven from him. Obviously we got it and we needed it."

Greinke is 21-1 against the NL West with a 1.88 ERA since becoming a Dodger in 2013. He also improved to 15-0 against the division in his last 19 starts.

Yasmani Grandal was victorious in his return to San Diego after being a key piece in the blockbuster trade that sent Matt Kemp to the Padres. Grandal went 2-for-3 with two runs and hit a double off the wall in the top half of the 2nd inning. Two batters later he scored on a Juan Uribe RBI single.

"I definitely thought it was out [a home run]," said Grandal of his double in the second. "I looked at the reply and saw it hit the top of the fence, I guess I forgot we were back at Petco."

Carl Crawford led off the seventh inning with a solo blast to the seats in right field. Crawford turned on an 83MPH change up for his first homer of the season.

"You always want to get that first one out of the way," said Crawford of his first round tripper of the season. "I didn't hit one in spring, so it's good to get that one out of the way and relax a little bit and get back to swinging the way you normally do."

Joc Pederson added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Grienke was great for most of the night, but he got into some trouble in the second. After back-to-back singles by Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks, the Padres had bases loaded with no outs and the top of the lineup looming. Greinke pitched out of the jam with consecutive strikeouts before Wil Myers hit a line drive up the middle that was snagged by a perfectly placed Howie Kendrick.

"I was so happy how he [Howie] was positioned there," said a smiling Greinke after the game. "I was positive it was a base hit, but he made the play."

Cashner nearly matched his counterpart with two runs on six hits with six strikeouts in seven innings of work.

Yasiel Puig re-aggravated his left hamstring in the top of the 6th inning and was replaced in right field by Andre Ethier. Puig has missed four games this season because of the hamstring injury and appears to be primed to miss a few more.

Former Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp was 2-for-4 with a double in the loss.

Dodgers' rookie Yimi Garcia pitched a perfect ninth  and threw some filthy pitches for his first save of the season.

Game Notes:
The revolving door on the Dodgers 25-man roster saw relief pitcher Sergio Santos called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City and Thursday's starter Mike Bolsinger sent down.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Bullpen Blows Lead As Dodgers Are Swept By Giants]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 02:04:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/470867754+%281%29.jpg

The Dodgers bullpen blew the game in the bottom of the ninth for the second consecutive day and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Thursday afternoon to complete the sweep of their rivals.

Justin Maxwell hit a walk off double in the bottom of the 10th inning and the Dodgers were swept in San Francisco for the first time since May of 2013, and now have their first three-game losing streak of the season.

"I go into every at-bat looking to hit the ball hard. I was ready to hit," said Maxwell of his walk-off single. "Winning is fun."

Alex Guerrero got the start at third base and went 2 for 3 with a home run putting even more pressure on Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to find more playing time for the Cuban slugger.

"He's swinging the bat good," said Mattingly. "We [the organization] have been talking about him a lot lately."

Guerrero is batting .474 with four homers and 12 RBIs for the Dodgers this season.

Adrian Gonzalez who had been hitless in his last 10 at-bats hit a fastball to dead center in the top of the third inning for his sixth homer of the season.

The Dodgers called up pitcher Mike Bolsinger before the game in their carousal of spot starters through the first few weeks of the season. Previously David Huff had been called up to start against the Mariners, and Bolsinger was called up today.

Bolsinger was the reigning PCL Player of the week and had not allowed a run in 11 innings at Triple-A Oklahoma City coming into the game.

Bolsinger was brilliant in his Dodgers debut allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Bolsinger may have cemented his spot in the Dodgers rotation, at least for the time being as Hyun Jin Ryu is expected to be out at least until June with a shoulder injury.

"When Buster Posey was up in my last inning and you hear all the chants, it gets you fired up," said Bolsinger about playing in the rivalry. "I think I can pitch at this level, but whatever happens, happens."

Ryan Vogelsong got the start for San Francisco and other than the two solo home runs to Guerrero and Gonzalez, was equally impressive surrendering two runs on just three hits with five strikeouts over 6 innings.

The Giants threatened in the bottom half of the 8th inning after loading the bases for Maxwell who hit a line drive up the middle but Howie Kendrick made a game-saving play diving to his right to rob Maxwell.

"Howie has been amazing all year long, he made a great play," said Mattingly of Kendrick's diving catch. "At that point in the game, in that situation, it was a great play to end the inning and keep the game 2-1."

Pedro Baez blew the save for the Dodgers giving up a single and a triple in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 2-2. Juan Nicasio (0-1) was brought in to keep the game level in the bottom of the 10th, but a leadoff single to Angel Pagan who eventually stole second and the hit to Maxwell did him in.

"We're asking a lot of different guys to pitch late in games – this is what we knew we would be in for coming out of spring training without Kenley [Jansen]," said Mattingly of his bullpen. "I think our guys are doing a good job, would I like to have Kenley back? No doubt."

Santiago Casilla (2-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for his second win of the season and the Giants fourth victory in their last five games after an eight-game losing streak. The Dodgers came into the rivalry series riding a seven-game win streak of their own.

"This shows you what this year is going to be, how this division is going to be," added Mattingly. "Buckle up."

Game Notes:
Andre Ethier made an appearance as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning and was hit by a pitch. It was Ethier's 1289th appearance for the Dodgers, tied for ninth all-time.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>