"These close games are character-building wins,"
manager Joe Torre said. "They'll certainly help build
The Dodgers played like, well, a Torre team. And after
a month with L.A.'s resident New York transplant, the
Dodgers can see his fingerprints all over the diamond.
They saw it again on Sunday.
Loney, relaxed in part by a private pick-me-up talk
Torre provided a few days ago, put aside the double
play he grounded into in the eighth inning that
effectively killed a Dodger threat. Loney waited for
erratic Rockies reliever Manuel Corpas [0-2] to leave
a fastball where he didn't want to
Loney effortlessly poked the ball through the right
side, scoring Rafael Furcal, who had led off the
inning with a walk.
"It's a fine line," Loney explained. "I've done that,
too. When you're up there and think you have to do it
all at once, sometimes you just have to be
As Furcal scored standing, the Dodgers seemed to
finally feel like they had picked themselves up.
Dodger starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza got a
no-decision, but pitched [and hit] like he wanted to
keep the No. 5 slot in the rotation. He allowed two
runs and five hits in five innings, began the game
with four scoreless innings, and delivered an RBI
single to spark a two-run fourth inning that gave the
Dodgers the lead.
Before his at-bat, there was Torre, who managed him in
New York in 2004 and asked him to simply put the bat
on the ball. Torre gave him a pat on the back without
saying a word, leaving him in the game to hit for
"And when I got to first base," Loaiza said, "He
pointed at me like I was a real hitter."
Loaiza pitched well enough to earn consideration to
start again when the rotation spot comes up next
Saturday in Colorado. He threw 70 pitches [44 strikes]
and thought he could have stretched it out a tad
longer if needed to, even though he hadn't made a
start since April 7.
The Rockies tied the score in the fifth inning on an
RBI double from Willy Tavares and an RBI single from
Todd Helton, but Loaiza did enough to keep the Dodgers
"He put us in a position to do what we were able to do
today," Torre said.
That's not a bad vote of confidence for a guy who
entered the game with a 4.32 ERA and handed the ball
off to four relievers who combined to pitch five
scoreless innings and scatter four hits.
Joe Beimel [1-0] got the win, pitching around runners
at second and third in the 10th inning by getting Troy
Tulowitzki to ground out and Jeff Baker to pop up to
Loney in first-base foul territory.
The victory softened the fact that the Dodgers
couldn't find ways to win many times before. Andruw
Jones is now three for his last 27 [.111] after an
0-for-4 performance that included flying out with the
bases loaded to end the first inning and striking out
with the tying run at third base to end the eighth
inning. Jones struck out three times. His batting
average fell to .159 this season. He was booed loudly
after each strikeout.
"If you're not doing good, fans have the right to boo
you," Jones said. "If you [stink], you [stink]. You
just have to go out, keep grinding and stay
The Dodgers are learning to win without Jones
producing, something they probably can't afford to do
in the long haul, but felt relieved to find
contributions from all over: rookie third baseman
Blake DeWitt chugged out his first Major League triple
and scored on Loaiza's single in the fourth. Mark
Sweeney came off the bench and drew a walk in the 10th
inning and Matt Kemp laid down a sacrifice bunt to
advance Furcal to third before he scored the
game-winning run. The Dodgers dodged bullets in the
final three innings, but didn't have to sweat them
when the game was over.
"We feel a heck of a lot better," catcher Russell
Martin said, shortly before glancing over his shoulder
to peek into his locker and realize he doesn't
remember where he left his third base glove.
Sometimes, a minor tweak takes on major proportions,
even if it only is April.