Error in 10th inning costs Dodgers as Pirates win, 4-3
Reporting from Pittsburgh -- The look on Blake DeWitt’s face told the story. If anything, the slowly spoken words that came out of his mouth told the story more gently.
“It hurts,” DeWitt said, looking toward the carpeted floor of the visiting team’s clubhouse at PNC Park.
On a Wednesday night when the Dodgers failed to drive in a runner on third with no outs in the ninth inning and a man on second with one out in the next, the 24-year-old second baseman shouldered the blame for their 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
After failing to cleanly backhand a grounder hit by Lastings Milledge, DeWitt rushed a throw that pulled James Loney off the bag at first base. Two walks and a hit by Ronny Cedeno later, Milledge crossed the plate, setting off fireworks behind the center-field wall and a rare on-field celebration by the team with baseball’s lowest payroll.
The dropped ball dropped the Dodgers to 0-2; they remained the only team in the National League West without a victory
“I just didn’t make the play,” DeWitt said. “It’s a play you should make 100 times out of 100, and I didn’t make it. It cost us. It’s unfortunate it happened right there. It’s unfortunate it happened at all.”
Manager Joe Torre stood behind DeWitt, saying the mistake wouldn’t affect his standing as the club’s starting second baseman. A converted third baseman, DeWitt beat out veterans Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard this spring in a three-way battle for the position.
“I don’t think you can fault this to his inexperience,” Torre said. “It was just an error.”
Torre also excused a failed backhand play by DeWitt in the third inning that was scored an infield hit for Andrew McCutchen.
“That ball was smoked pretty good,” Torre said.
That DeWitt was in position to cost the Dodgers the game was a failing of the offense.
Carroll doubled in a pinch-hit at-bat to start the ninth inning and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Pirates closer Octavio Dotel. Rafael Furcal grounded out to the pitcher and Matt Kemp struck out. Dotel opted to pitch around Andre Ethier to get to Manny Ramirez, who grounded out to second to end the threat.
With the score still tied, 3-3, Loney drew a lead-off walk from Brendan Donnelly in the 10th and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Casey Blake. DeWitt and Belliard failed to drive him home.
The end of the game was as brutal for DeWitt as the start was for left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who put the first two batters he faced on base and gave up a home run to the third, Garrett Jones.
To his credit, Kershaw wasn’t charged with any more runs in the 4 2/3 innings he pitched.
Kershaw clearly was dissatisfied with his performance, particularly the two walks that pitcher Ross Ohlendorf drew.
“Just terrible,” he said.
But there were minor triumphs in the setback.
Russell Martin, who didn’t hit his first home run until June 20 last season, went deep in the fifth inning, starting a three-run rally that tied the score. Setup man George Sherrill, who couldn’t find his bearings in spring training and was pounded in the season opener, pitched a scoreless eighth inning.