Dodgers beat Lincecum, Giants
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers may get a chance over the next 1 1-2 weeks to find out if champagne stains come out of gray uniforms easier than from white ones.
Andre Ethier hit a go-ahead two-run homer off Tim Lincecum, Ronnie Belliard added a two-run single against the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, and the NL West leaders beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Sunday to go 30 games over .500 for the first time in almost 24 years.
The Dodgers, who clinched the division title at home last season with three games to spare, now embark on a nine-game road trip through Washington, Pittsburgh and San Diego. They are five games ahead of second-place Colorado with 12 to play, and will finish the regular season at Chavez Ravine with a three-game series against the Rockies – who are 3-12 against them this year.
“We’re going to try to clinch as early as we can. I just want to get this thing over with, and winning games is the only way we’re going to do it,” manager Joe Torre said. “If we don’t do it, we don’t deserve it. That’s what it comes down to. I mean, you’re certainly not fearful of anything – but you get what you earn in this game. There are a lot of clubs at this time of year that wish they could control their own destiny, and we’re one of them.”
The Dodgers, trying to win consecutive division crowns for the first time since 1977-78, reduced their magic number to eight for clinching the West and four for securing a postseason berth for the third time in four years.
They improved the league’s best record to 90-60, reaching the 90-victory mark for the first time since winning a division title in 2004 with a 93-69 record under Jim Tracy – who now manages the Rockies. It is Torre’s 12th season with 90 or more wins, the others all coming with the Yankees during a 12-year span.
Randy Wolf (11-6) shrugged off a pair of home runs by leadoff hitter Andres Torres, allowing five hits in six-plus innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
The Giants fell 41/2 games behind the Rockies in the NL wild-card race. Colorado beat Arizona 5-1 on Sunday.
“Obviously you can tell by the look on my face that I’m not really happy about my outing and the way I let the team down,” said Lincecum, who has won 19 games following Giants losses since the start of last season. “Today was definitely a big game. I felt like I could have done a better job out there and put up a better fight. The bullpen did a great job picking me up afterwards. It was just too late and too little.”
Lincecum (14-6) gave up five runs, four hits and four walks over four-plus innings and struck out three. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.90 ERA in his last five road starts since beating St. Louis 10-0 on June 29 with a two-hitter. It was his shortest outing since opening day, when he struggled through three innings against Milwaukee on April 7.
“I felt like I was beating myself out there,” said Lincecum, who was pulled after walking the first two batters in the fifth.
NL pitchers coming off Cy Young Award seasons were 10-0 with four no-decisions against the Dodgers since Sept. 9, 2003, when Edwin Jackson beat Randy Johnson at Arizona in his major league debut. No reigning Cy Young winner in either league had been charged with a loss at Dodger Stadium since way back on June 5, 1993, when Kevin Gross beat Greg Maddux and the Atlanta Braves 5-1.
Lincecum was 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA in his six previous career starts against the Dodgers.
“Maybe luck was on our side. We faced him six times and didn’t come up with a win, so maybe we were bound to get one,” Ethier said. “He obviously is one of the best pitchers in the league. He didn’t have his best stuff today and wasn’t able to locate a few pitches, but he was out there battling. So we were patient and made him come into the strike zone. And when he did, we took advantage of it.”
Ethier put the Dodgers ahead 2-1 in the third, driving a 3-2 pitch to right-center with two out for his 31st homer after a one-out walk to Wolf. The RBIs raised Ethier’s total to 101, making him the first Dodger with at least 100 in a season since J.D. Drew in 2006.
Belliard made it 4-1 in the fourth with his two-run opposite-field single inside first base. Rafael Furcal scored the Dodgers’ fifth and sixth runs on wild pitches, both with Matt Kemp at the plate.
Torres drove a 1-2 pitch into the pavilion seats in left-center for his first career leadoff homer and the fifth this season by the Giants. The Dodgers’ staff had not allowed a leadoff home run in the first inning all season until Friday night’s series opener, when Eugenio Velez victimized Vicente Padilla in the Giants’ 8-4 victory.
NOTES: Wolf is 6-0 with a 2.41 over his last eight starts. When he retired Freddy Sanchez to end the third, the left-hander reached the 200-inning mark for the fourth time in his 11-year career and first time since 2003 with Philadelphia. … The last time the Dodgers were 30 games over .500 was Oct, 2, 1985 (94-64). … Giants RF Randy Winn extended his career-best errorless streak to 200 games. But he also is in a career-worst homerless drought of 453 at-bats.
Athletics 11, Indians 4
OAKLAND – Dana Eveland doesn’t mind waiting in the wings but would like the chance to star. Eveland provided a good opening act Sunday.
Eveland pitched five strong innings in his first start since July 7 as the Oakland A’s matched their season high seven-game win streak by defeating the Cleveland Indians 11-4.
The A’s left-hander earned his first win since April 26 to improve to 2-3 for the season. Eveland began the season as one of the A’s starters but lost his job after five starts. He moved to the bullpen but was then shipped to Triple-A Sacramento on May 5.
“Sinker, cutter combo,” said Eveland describing what he used to beat the Indians. “I think I threw about eight off speed pitches. I just threw sinkers and cutters pretty much the entire game.”
Eveland learned how to throw the cutter while Sacramento.
“It’s been a savior,” said Eveland. “It’s the missing link in a great career that’s what I’m hoping for. It’s been great so far. Throwing it in Triple-A this year and in my last three starts and it’s been wonderful. It’s a lot of outs and soft action which is what you want.”
“Same thing today, I got swings and misses on it and I got soft ground balls and soft fly balls.”
Eveland gave up one run on five hits. He struck out two.
“He had a pretty respectable outing,” A’s manager Bob Geren. “He threw strikes and he worked a little quicker. He kept us in the game and we got some runs for him and he kept throwing strikes and he got deep enough into the game after being off for a few weeks that was about the best he could do.”
As good as Eveland was, the offense was even better.
Adam Kennedy had a two-run homer among his three hits. Ryan Sweeney added two RBIs as the A’s improved to 12-2 in their last 14 games.
“My first two at bats weren’t very pretty,” said Kennedy. “But sort of figured it out after that. The offense has kind of an identity right now and we are having fun playing.”
Ryan Sweeney added two RBIs. Rajai Davis, Jack Cust, Scott Hairston and Chad Pennington each added two hits for the A’s.
Travis Hafner, Trevor Crowe and Shin-Soo Choo each drove in runs for the Indians, who lost their eighth straight.
Fausto Carmona (3-12) lost his fourth straight decision as he pitched 5-2-3 innings and gave up nine runs on 10 hits while striking out two.
“We’re seeing his progress, but he’s got to do a better job of controlling damage there in the second and a better job of finishing an inning there in the sixth,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Four different players drove in runs as the A’s scored five times in the second inning.
Carmona got himself in trouble by hitting Kurt Suzuki to start the inning off. Cust and Ellis loaded the bases on two bloop singles. Suzuki scored on a sacrifice fly by Daric Barton.
Hairston blooped another single to reload the bases. Left fielder Trevor Crowe misplayed Chad Pennington’s high pop up allowing Cust to score.
“I thought I had it,” Crowe said. “I’m a major league baseball player, I need to make it. If you get hit by lightning and the ball gets lost in the sun, you still need to catch pop-ups.”
Kennedy and Rajai Davis each singled home a run and Ryan Sweeney capped the inning with a run scoring ground out to make it 5-0.
Eveland gave back a run in the top of the fourth when he walked Choo to start the inning. He was moved to second on a ground out and scored on Hafner’s sharp single to left field.
Jerry Bleveins relieved Eveland in the sixth and gave up a walk to Jhonny Peralta to begin the inning and two outs later, Crowe drove a triple to center to that scored Peralta. It was Crowe’s second triple of the four-game series and made the score 5-2.
Oakland added four more runs in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Hairston and Pennington, Kennedy’s two run homer and double by Sweeney.
Choo drove in the Indians third run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh.
NOTES: Since June 1, the A’s Davis has the majors’ fifth-best batting average at .339. … Henry Rodriguez and John Meloan are wearing numbers 63 and 65 which have never been worn before any A’s player since they moved West in 1968. … The Indians’ Choo is tied for fourth in outfield assists in the A.L. with 11. … Cleveland is 5-55 when scoring three runs or less. … Tribe manager Eric Wedge said before the game that Matt LaPorta would be considered the favorite to win the first baseman’s job next spring depending on what the team did this offeseason. … It was the seventh time this season Suzuki had been hit by a pitch.
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