It has been awhile since the Dodgers took on a top club. Lately they’d been beating up on the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and, most recently, the green-corn Miami Marlins.
But Friday brought the Boston Red Sox to Dodger Stadium, a series Manager Don Mattingly conceded was more of a “heavyweight” battle.
It turned out in the opener there were few punches thrown by either team, but ultimately the Red Sox did not fare any better than other recent Dodgers opponents, falling 2-0 before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 50,240.
Ricky Nolasco threw his finest game with the Dodgers, holding Boston scoreless on two hits in his eight innings, retiring his last 11 in a row.
Then Kenley Jansen came in the ninth, overpowering as usual, to retire the Red Sox and earn his 22nd save.
Nolasco (10-9) had to be on his game, because former Angels player John Lackey (8-11) equaled him in all but one inning. Lackey went eight strong innings himself, holding the Dodgers to three hits, not walking a batter and striking out six.
Most nights, that beats a team. The Dodgers just haven’t been most teams for two months.
The only offense on the warm night came in the fourth, when former Red Sox Carl Crawford led off the inning with the Dodgers' first hit. Crawford stole second, and then with two outs, Hanley Ramirez hit his 13th home run of the season.
It was almost the only time the Dodgers threatened all night.
The Red Sox put two on in the fifth on a hit batter and a Stephen Drew single, but Nolasco induced Will Middlebrooks to hit a sharp bouncer to Juan Uribe at third, and Uribe turned it into an inning-ending double play.
The victory was the Dodgers’ fourth straight and left them 29-5 since the All-Star break and 46-10 in their last 56.
It also extended their lead in the National League West to a season-high 10½ games, their biggest lead since the last game of the 1977 season.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times