Baseball basics haunt Dodgers in stunning loss - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Baseball basics haunt Dodgers in stunning loss

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Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 11:44 pm | Updated: 2:11 am, Wed Sep 28, 2011.

(AP) — Detaiils, details, details.

Baseball managers are always harping about them, how important the basics of the game are to success.

One of those details — reliever Blake Hawksworth's failure to cover first base — came back to slap the Los Angeles Dodgers in the face in their stunning 7-6 10-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

Ryan Roberts' grand slam capped a six-run 10th that gave Arizona the victory after the Dodgers had scored five in the top of the extra inning.

"Hawks not covering first opens the door," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "From there anything happens. We basically gave them an extra out and that cost us."

The Dodgers had scored five runs in their half of the 10th and retired the first two batters in Arizona's half of the inning.

But the Diamondbacks loaded the bases, with the help of reliever Blake Hawksworth's failure to cover first base, and scored a run on an error. Los Angeles closer Javy Guerra (2-1) came on and walked in a run, then Roberts lined the first pitch he saw over the fence in left field. It was Guerra's second blown save in 23 tries.

"That was unbelievable," Roberts said. "I've never been a part of something like that. Everything on this team blows my mind."

As Roberts rounded the bases he pointed toward the Arizona dugout and pumped his fist again and again in an imitation of Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson's famous home run trot after his game-ending shot for the Dodgers in the 1988 World Series. He had been planning it all year.

"I've never hit a walk-off home run before in my whole career," Roberts said. "I finally got to do it. I'm glad I remembered" to do the Gibson home-run trot.

Micah Owings (8-0) got the victory despite his awful 10th, which included his throwing error that allowed the first run to score.

The victory keeps alive Arizona's hopes to open the first round of the playoffs at home. For that to happen, Milwaukee must lose to Pittsburgh and the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers in their regular-season finales on Wednesday night.

Dee Gordon, who was 3 for 5 with an RBI single, doubled to lead off the inning, then Jerry Sands laid down a sacrifice bunt. Owings, the seventh Arizona pitcher, fielded the ball and threw wild past third base, where he had no chance to get the speedy Gordon anyway.

After Gordon scored, Matt Kemp and James Loney had RBI doubles. A.J. Ellis tripled off the fence in right field, with the ball hitting outfielder Justin Upton in the head. Upton, who had sat out the previous game after being beaned by San Francisco's Tim Lincecum, went into a crouch and was attended to by a trainer, then left the game. Gibson said he took Upton out as a precaution and was sure he wasn't hurt. He even joked about it.

"At least it didn't bounce off his head and go over the fence," Gibson said. "We got a break there, too, I guess."

After reliever Hawksworth got two routine outs to start the bottom of the inning, he had a 2-2 count on Cole Gillespie when the Arizona batter hit a grounder to first, and the pitcher failed to cover the base.

"I didn't pick up where that ball was until it was too late," Hawksworth said. "I threw the pitch and finished looking down. It was just too late. He runs too well to do that. I can't do that. It was my fault. It should have been an out. You put guys on base, stuff like that can happen."

Miguel Montero singled, then Chris Young walked to load the baases. Pinch-hitter John McDonald hit a hard grounder to third that Aaron Miles muffed for an error. That was it for Hawksworth, as Mattingly went to his closer to wrap things up.

"That is the difference between a good year and bad year," Hawksworth said. "They get those. The Giants did that last year. That is the difference maker. I feel bad for Kuroda and those guys who battled back. They did their job and I didn't. It is not a big math equation to figure it out."

Lost in the wild finish was the superb major league debut of Arizona's Jarrod Parker, who didn't allow a run in 5 1-3 innings. Hideki Kuroda, 14 years older than the 22-year-old Parker, blanked the Diamondbacks for six innings.

Parker, the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft, allowed four hits, struck out one and walked one.

Kuroda allowed five hits and struck out five, with no walks.

Notes: Upton was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and is 2 for 18 in his career against Kuroda. ... The Diamondbacks are scheduled to send LHP Joe Saunders (12-12, 3.58 ERA) to the mound Wednesday, while the Dodgers go with LHP Ted Lilly (11-14, 4.12). ... Gibson said the team will have Thursday off, then work out Friday in whatever city that will host the division series opener. ... If the Diamondbacks and Milwaukee finish tied in the standings, Arizona holds the tiebreaker by winning the season series 4-3.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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