Home run reaches 12-0 for Dodgers
Orlando Hudson scored, Manny Ramirez scored, Andre Ethier scored and, like that, the Dodgers were on their way to doing something no team had done in 98 years.
They improved to 12-0 at home.
The Dodgers used their third multi-run first inning in as many days on Tuesday night to claim their second victory in two days over the Arizona Diamondbacks, this one by a 3-1 margin.
With the victory, the Dodgers matched the modern-day major league standard for the best start at home, first established by the Detroit Tigers in 1911.
“I’m glad there’s finally something that happened before I was born,” said the Dodgers’ 68-year-old manager, Joe Torre.
The records the Dodgers had broken on their way to matching this one were set in Torre’s lifetime, including the previous franchise-best 10-0 start at home in 1946.
What General Manager Ned Colletti said pleased him were the various ways his team managed to win games to get to this stage. The Dodgers (20-8) have a 5 1/2 -game lead over San Francisco in the National League West.
“We’ve won games with a lot of offense, we’ve won games with strong defense,” Colletti said. “We’ve won games where we capitalized on someone else’s mistakes. That’s the mark of a good club.”
Tuesday’s victory was a credit to a three-run, two-hit first inning, some spectacular glovework by Hudson and a surprisingly effective outing by Jeff Weaver, who started his first game for the Dodgers in four seasons.
Jonathan Broxton sealed the victory with a two-strikeout, 1-2-3 ninth inning that counted as his eighth save.
For Weaver, it was no ordinary victory.
The 32-year-old right-hander spent the entire 2008 season in the minor leagues.
He made his last major league start on Sept. 28, 2007 with the Seattle Mariners. He earned his last major league win 10 days before that.
Weaver not only had a lengthy absence from the majors, he had a lengthy absence from starting. Converted to a long reliever last year, Weaver signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers this winter with the intention of earning a spot in their bullpen.
Of the four appearances he made for triple-A Albuquerque this season, three were starts. He was called up Thursday and immediately pushed into a game, again in relief, where he threw four scoreless innings against San Diego.
But a run of poor outings by rookie No. 5 starter James McDonald forced Weaver into the rotation.
Diamondbacks Manager Bob Melvin used to know Weaver well. But the Weaver he saw Tuesday wasn’t the same pitcher who started his career in Detroit, where Melvin was the bench coach in 2000.
“He was throwing 95-96 mph,” Melvin said. “I remember he was a true power pitcher. He was basically fastball-slider but it was more power stuff.”
Weaver topped out in the low-90s on Tuesday.
He gave up a double to Augie Ojeda to start the game, but escaped the jam by striking out Conor Jackson and Chad Tracy, and getting an inning-ending basket catch in shallow right field by second baseman Hudson.
Hudson made another spectacular play in the fourth inning with men on the corners when he snagged a ball hit by Arizona starter Max Scherzer that appeared to be heading toward right-center.
“I didn’t think he had a prayer at either one of those, especially the first one,” Torre said.
Said Weaver: “Incredible.”
Three first-inning runs also helped.
Hudson doubled, and with first base open, Ramirez drew an intentional walk from Scherzer. A single by Ethier drove in Hudson and moved Ramirez to third. Ramirez scored on a groundout by James Loney and Ethier added the third run when Russell Martin reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Josh Wilson.