Dodgers end skid with walk-off balk vs. Texas
LOS ANGELES -- Kiké Hernandez scored on a walk-off balk from Keone Kela in the ninth inning as the Dodgers avoided their fourth straight loss in a 1-0 win on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.
Hernandez was inserted into the game for Yasmani Grandal as a pinch-runner in the ninth, With two outs, he ran nearly halfway down the third-base line, causing Kela to flinch.
Starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Anthony Ranaudo matched each other pitch for pitch, though neither was credited with a decision. Greinke lasted seven innings, allowing four hits and no runs with eight strikeouts. It's his eighth straight start without a win, though Greinke has allowed one run or fewer in six of those starts.
"Sometimes things can't be controlled like wins or losses," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "If he pitches like this every time out, we're going to be fine."
Ranaudo, in just his second start of the season, fired 6 2/3 scoreless innings of his own, allowing five hits.
"I felt like there was an opportunity to win that one," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Not a loss we're going to spend a lot of time going over. We just came up a little short."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Missed opportunity: In the bottom of the seventh, Andre Ethier reached on a single to right field and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Jimmy Rollins. With runners on the corners and only one out, Justin Turner and Joc Pederson each flied out to end the threat and keep the score deadlocked at zero.
Walking to a balk-off: Setting up the dramatic finish by Hernandez, Grandal and Ethier each drew walks. Grandal laid off two straight curveballs to get to first base and Ethier watched four straight miss the plate. The rally was nearly undone by a double play that Alberto Callaspo hit into, but Kela's balk brought home the only run of the game.
"The pitcher was looking at me every time he was coming set so [third base coach] Lorenzo [Bundy] told me to fake him," Hernandez said. "I was waiting for him to come set and look at me so I was just walking, acting like I was looking at the third baseman. I started walking, then I started speed walking and I pretended like I was going to run. He flinched and we got lucky." More >
One Rangers threat goes nowhere: Greinke retired the first nine batters before the Rangers got a rally started in the fourth with a leadoff single by Shin-Soo Choo. Greinke responded by striking out Joey Gallo. Mitch Moreland followed with a grounder to the right side and second baseman Howie Kendrick, ranging to his left, made a nice play to get the force at second. With runners at the corners, Elvis Andrus flied out to end the inning.
Rangers fail to connect: The Rangers struck out 13 times. They had enough trouble against Greinke, who struck out eight, but Dodgers relievers J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen struck out five of six batters they faced. The Rangers struck out 27 times in two games in Los Angeles. One-half of their outs over two games were on strikeouts.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This is the sixth walk-off win of the season for the Dodgers and their first walk-off on a balk since May 31, 2010, against the D-backs, with Casey Blake on third and Esmerling Vasquez on the mound.
In the top of the seventh, Andrus went first to third on a single to left field by Robinson Chirinos. After initially being ruled safe on the play, a replay review overturned the call on the field to end the inning.
"There was a shoulder turn. We could see it." -- Banister on the game-winning balk More >
"We used to do it in Kansas City when Tony Pena was our manager. It probably worked once or twice in about 100 tries." -- Greinke on Hernandez's fake on third base
Rangers: The Rangers open a three-game series against the White Sox at 7:10 p.m. CT on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field. Colby Lewis starts for the Rangers against left-hander Chris Sale. The Rangers took three of four from the White Sox earlier this month in Arlington..
Dodgers: The Dodgers will host their rivals, the Giants, for a three-game series at Dodger Stadium this weekend. Mike Bolsinger (4-1, 2.25 ERA) will take the mound Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT with a perfect 4-0 record at home this season. Los Angeles is 2-7 against San Francisco this season.
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