Patience at plate pays off for pair
The tying and go-ahead runs in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday were driven in on singles by James Loney and Andre Ethier on two-strike pitches, something the players credited to the plate discipline they have developed this season.
Loney, who homered in the seventh to give the Dodgers breathing room, hit a full-count slider on the outside part of the plate from Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa to left field to score Manny Ramirez from second to tie the score, 1-1, in the fourth inning.
Ethier hit a 1-2 curveball to right field to drive in Matt Kemp, who doubled in the previous at-bat.
“Sometimes you’re anxious when you go up there and you want to get the job done right away,” Ethier said. “But you can’t be afraid to go deep into counts and work it.”
Bullpen bounces back
Closer Jonathan Broxton and setup man Hong-Chih Kuo recovered from rough outings to shut out the Rockies in the last 2 2/3 innings.
Broxton, who got the loss the previous night, gave up a lead-off double to Ian Stewart but struck out the next three batters to pick up his 10th save. Kuo, who gave up homers in his last two appearances, pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Broxton, 24, said Thursday’s game provided him with another learning opportunity. He noted how he threw six or seven breaking pitches the previous night -- and how the pitch he delivered to Stewart was also a breaking ball.
“It was a stupid pitch,” he said. “I have to know he’ll be looking for that.”
In the eyes of Manager Joe Torre, the play that turned the game around for the Dodgers was Ramirez’s unexpected fourth-inning steal. Ramirez, who was told by Torre several days earlier that he had the green light to steal bases, later scored on a single by Loney to tie the score.
“We were sitting and waiting for something to happen,” Torre said. “We got a little giggle out of it.”
Loney said he too was amused by Ramirez’s first steal as a Dodger, noting that Ramirez calls himself “a.k.a. Dave Roberts.”
“I was excited,” Loney said. “It was fun seeing his hair go all the way back.”
Penny to the pen?
If Brad Penny pitches again this season, he’ll most likely do so out of the bullpen, Torre said. The idea was Penny’s.
“He volunteered it to me when we were putting him on the DL,” Torre said. “He realized what time of the year we were in.”
Penny’s place in the rotation has since been taken by Greg Maddux.
Penny, who has inflammation in his right shoulder, won’t resume throwing until later this week at the earliest. He sat out two months in his first stint on the DL this season.
Encounter with greatness
Hiroki Kuroda said he was inspired by the Japanese softball team’s 3-1 upset of the United States in the gold medal game of the Olympic softball competition, especially because he knew the pitcher responsible who shut down the Americans.
Yukiko Ueno was a guest of the Hiroshima Carp in 2005, when Kuroda’s former team held its fan appreciation day that season. Kuroda said he hit against Ueno -- or at least tried to.
“I couldn’t even nick the ball,” he said.
Angel Berroa started at second base in place of Jeff Kent, who took the day off to prepare himself to play the entire four-game series in Philadelphia. For Berroa, the start at second base was the first of his career. Berroa made all 650 of his previous appearances at shortstop. . . . Jason Schmidt could be sent on a minor league rehab assignment this week. . . . Cory Wade will pitch a bullpen session in Philadelphia, after which he will be sent on a rehab assignment with double-A Jacksonville. Wade is eligible to be activated Sunday.