The devastation that is the knuckleball just devoured the Dodgers' hitters.
Los Angeles was unable to solve Steven Wright and his knuckleball as the Boston Red Sox blew out the Dodgers 9-0, on Friday night at Chavez Ravine.
Wright (13-5) threw a complete game shutout--the first of his career--allowing just three scattered hits with nine strikeouts as he crippled the knees of LA's hot hitters with his erratic, yet extremely efficient knuckleball all night.
"When you get an opportunity to throw nine, it's awesome," Wright said of his first career complete-game shutout. "I was over 100 pitches so the fact that Jon let me go out there is awesome. It's so hard to do at this level, so to have the opportunity to do that is awesome."
Wright threw his knuckleball over 80 percent of the time and the boys in blue simply had no answer for the pitch known as the "butterfly ball."
"The biggest thing about the knuckleball is you want to show the hitters you're throwing it for strikes," Wright said of his go-to pitch. "You know it's working when it moves late. You want it to move right at the last minute so they swing and miss. Tonight I was able to throw more with late movement."
The home-run happy Red Sox didn't help matters as Mookie Betts, Sandy Leon, and Travis Shaw all went deep for Boston in their first series in LA since they took two-of-three at the Ravine in 2013.
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"The game plan was to stay away from low-and-in and I just didn't execute," Kazmir said of the two home runs he allowed. "I just didn't pitch well."
Boston feasted on fastballs by starter Scott Kazmir (9-5), as the left-hander lost his second consecutive start, allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and just two strikeouts in 5 and 1/3 innings.
Fans got their first taste of two new Dodger relievers in the form of Josh Fields and Jesse Chavez who were both acquired at the trade deadline by the Astros and Blue Jays, respectively.
"I think that all the new guys want to make an impression," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said. "Josh had a clean inning and Jesse gave up some hard contact in that second inning. We're happy to have those guys and I think they'll do fine."
Fields impressed with an inning-ending double play against the only batter he faced, but Chavez did not get as lucky as the right-hander was beat around for the second straight appearance, allowing five runs (three earned) on four hits, including the home run to Shaw.
"He entered the game because of an injury, but put a great swing on a fastball from Chavez," Red Sox manager Jon Farrell said of Shaw, the son of former-Dodger Jeff Shaw. "I'm sure he has a lot of fond memories here as a kid."
Leon led the Red Sox with a career-high four RBI and Betts had three hits and two RBI of his own.
"I'm just doing everything I can to help the team win," Leon said after the game. "I just got some good pitches to hit."
In front of a sellout crowd, the Dodgers offense simply had no runs, nor answers for Wright and the Red Sox as they were shutout for the sixth time this season.
Players of the Game:
Sandy Leon: 2-for-4 with a home run and 4 RBI.
Mookie Betts: 3-for-5 with a home run and 2 RBI.
Steven Wright: Complete Game shutout.
1. I like it when you call me "Big Papi": The Los Angeles Dodgers honored David "Big Papi" Ortiz in his farewell season with a pregame ceremony. In addition to a video tribute by Vin Scully, former Red Sox teammates: Dave Roberts, Adrian Gonzalez and Nomar Garicaparra joined Ortiz on the field with a $10,000 check made out to the "David Ortiz Children's Fund."
2. More than a Feeling: The Dodgers ties to the Boston Red Sox run deep. The team has a dozen players that used to play for or are affiliated with the Red Sox organization. Current players, Adrian Gonzalez, Rich Hill and Josh Reddick played for Boston in 2011. Manager Dave Roberts won a ring with them, as did Dodgers' broadcaster Nomar Garciaparra.
3. The Kuckleballer: Conjuring images of the great Tim Wakefield, Boson starter Steven Wright befuddled the boys in blue with his knuckleball all night long. Wright scattered just three hits in a complete game shutout, throwing the floater 80 percent of the time.
Red Sox (60-48): Eduardo Rodriguez will start for Boston on Saturday at 1:10PM PST.
Dodgers (60-49): LA's starter for Saturday is up in the air, but it's expected that Ross Stripling will be recalled from Triple-A OKC and Bud Norris sent to the 15-day disabled list.
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