Relievers set stage for Dodgers' comeback
Short-handed bullpen throws 7 1/2 scoreless innings
SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers' bullpen, besieged after placing four members on the disabled list and the resulting personnel churn, threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Sunday's 4-2 Dodgers win in 12 innings..
It took over after a short start from Mike Bolsinger and kept the game close until an Andre Ethier homer and an Adrian Gonzalez double tied it, then Gonzalez won it with a two-run single in the 12th.
After doing that damage against his former club, Gonzalez deflected credit.
"A great bullpen win, really," said Gonzalez. "An incredible job, getting the last out in the fifth inning and giving up nothing after that. Big out after big out. This game goes down for the bullpen, more than anything."
The defending RBI champ shared the spotlight with rookie center fielder Joc Pederson, who rescued Juan Nicasio with a spectacular fence-crashing, game-saving catch on Justin Upton's laser in the bottom of the ninth.
With two on, Upton crushed a 3-0 fastball, the 16th pitch from Nicasio, all fastballs because a cracked fingernail won't let him throw anything else.
"I tried to walk him," Nicasio said. "I knew he was swinging 3-0 and tried to go away but it came to the middle. It was an unbelievable catch."
The catch made manager Don Mattingly recall how clubs wanted Pederson in trade talk.
"At the Trade Deadline last year, a lot of people wanted to get rid of him," Mattingly said. "I'm glad we didn't."
But as Gonzalez said, the game will also go down as an example of what's possible from the six relievers used, with rookie Josh Ravin firing bullets for two innings and his second win and Kenley Jansen nailing down his ninth save.
Bolsinger was followed by five outs from J.P. Howell, two from an improved Chris Hatcher (with inherited runners on the corners) following an eight-day break, a perfect inning by Adam Liberatore and even a high-wire act from Nicasio, in his first appearance since leaving Wednesday night's game with the fingernail problem.
The Dodgers erased a two-run deficit, overcame Bolsinger's short appearance and survived a replay overruling on what appeared to be a 3-6-3 double-play hit into by Yonder Alonso.
San Diego manager Bud Black challenged that shortstop Kiké Hernandez, who took over for Jimmy Rollins, wasn't on second base to erase former Dodger Matt Kemp. Although "neighborhood" plays are not reviewable, any play at any base is reviewable if an errant throw pulls a fielder off the bag.
"The throw was not true," said crew chief Bill Miller. The throw caused him to come off the bag. That's when we don't enforce the neighborhood interpretation."
But Ravin stranded Kemp by striking out Derek Norris and Cory Spangenberg. In his debut win, Ravin struck out the only batter he faced. This time, he fanned four in two innings.
"I guess you could say I earned this one," he said.
Mattingly said he was pleased to take two of three despite sloppy play in the first two games. Gonzalez saw it a little differently.
"I think the better team won two of three," he said.