Dioner Navarro’s pinch single gives Dodgers a 3-2 win over Marlins
Dioner Navarro said he knew that he couldn’t evade Matt Kemp’s grasp.
“He’s faster than me,” Navarro said. “I couldn’t go anywhere. I tried to deke him, but you saw what happened.”
What happened was that Kemp lifted Navarro and speared him into the ground, setting off a rare on-field celebration for the Dodgers.
Navarro singled past the Florida Marlins’ five-man infield in his ninth-inning pitch-hit at-bat on Friday, lifting the Dodgers to only their fourth win in 13 games, a 3-2 walk-off victory at Dodger Stadium.
“We’re playing so many games like that,” Navarro said. “It seems we always fall short.”
In their previous series, the Dodgers dropped two games in the final at-bat.
In addition to Kemp’s tackle on Navarro, this was a game that included plenty of rare sights.
James Loney hit his first home run in 161 at-bats. Andre Ethier also went deep, his home run counting as only his second extra-base hit of the month.
And the Dodgers’ lineup started to resemble what General Manager Ned Colletti had in mind when he assembled the team over the off-season, as Casey Blake was activated from the disabled list, and Ethier and Rod Barajas returned to the lineup from mild injuries.
For most of the night, the story was much the same.
The Dodgers had three hits through eighth innings, two of which happened to be home runs — Loney’s in the second inning and Ethier’s in the sixth.
Asked whether he could remember his last home run, Loney replied, “A month or so ago.” Actually, it was closer to two months. His last homer was April 6.
“I was so focused on getting my swing perfect that I got off my timing,” Loney said.
Ethier said being held out of the lineup for the previous three games helped him.
Of his limited role in Houston, he said: “Part of that was just giving me a chance to figure some things out.”
Starting pitcher Jon Garland recovered from his worst start of the season by holding the Marlins to a run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Garland held the Marlins hitless through the first three innings, limiting them to a couple of walks in that span.
Opposite him was Javier Vazquez, who entered the game with a 3-4 record and 6.41 earned-run average.
Much like the Tampa Bay Rays, whom Vazquez blanked over seven innings in his last start, the Dodgers had trouble hitting him.
But they hit him enough to put Garland in line for his second win of the season.
Loney hit a solo home run in the second inning to put the Dodgers ahead, 1-0.
The Marlins tied the score, 1-1, in the sixth inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on a two-out single to left field by Greg Dobbs.
Ethier immediately reclaimed the lead for the Dodgers in the bottom half of the inning, as he deposited a pitch by Vazquez into the bullpen.
Rookie Rubby De La Rosa gave up the lead in the eighth inning, but managed to limit the damage to one run. After Mike Stanton fouled out to Loney near the Marlins’ dugout, DeLa Rosa spotted Gaby Sanchez trying to break home and caught him in a rundown.
The Dodgers’ ninth inning started with an infield hit by Blake, who reached third when Stanton misplayed Ethier’s single to right field. The Marlins intentionally walked Kemp, sending Navarro to the plate.
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