But they finally pulled one off Wednesday night, a 6-4 win over the Brewers to snap a five-game losing streak. And it not only required a total team effort, but some efforts from the opposing team and even crew chief Joe West.
The culmination of a week's frustration came on Juan Pierre's third hit of the game, a two-run double off former Dodger Guillermo Mota with one out in the ninth inning that turned a deficit into a lead. The Dodgers had gone 0-18 when they trailed in the ninth inning until Wednesday night.
Pierre then stole third base and scored an insurance run on a groundout by Andruw Jones, who also had two hits in his return to the lineup after a two-game break.
Dodgers starter Derek Lowe (one win in the last month) had spotted the Brewers a 3-0 lead in the second inning, two of the runs scoring on opposing pitcher Manny Parra's single after a four-pitch walk to Craig Counsell.
"He had some of the best at-bats of the night, but still you don't expect to give up a two-run single to the pitcher, but it did happen," said Lowe.
Dodgers rookie Blake DeWitt hit his third homer in the last eight games in the top of the fifth, but Lowe gave the run back in the bottom of the sixth on a Corey Hart RBI single. Milwaukee mishandled a pair of balls that led to a two-run Dodgers seventh inning, closing the gap to 4-3.
The winning rally in the ninth actually started during Mota's warmups, when West determined that Mota had taken extra throws in the bullpen before entering the field and took the ball out of the pitcher's glove after five throws from the mound, the umpire throwing the ball to second baseman Craig Counsell. That triggered a brief argument with Mota, followed by a longer argument with manager Ned Yost.
Mota said the dispute had nothing to do with the way he pitched. He retired DeWitt on a grounder, then Delwyn Young worked a clutch walk by taking a 3-2 fastball outside. Young was singled to third by pinch-hitter Andre Ethier, setting the stage for Pierre to split the gap in left-center with his game-winner off Mota, a former Florida Marlins teammate filling in for another former Dodger, the weary closer Eric Gagne.
"It was a great game to come back from behind," said manager Joe Torre. "You lose five in a row and come back in somebody else's park. Hopefully it gets us on track. It's a good way to break a losing streak."
Torre pushed all the right buttons in the later innings. He relieved Lowe with Scott Proctor, who had allowed runs in his last three outings. But after issuing a walk to Jason Kendall leading off the seventh, Proctor retired the next three hitters, two on strikeouts. Joe Beimel started the eighth inning by getting Prince Fielder on a sharp grounder, followed by eventual winning pitcher Jonathan Broxton, who retired his two batters.
Then the Dodgers rallied in the top of the ninth and Torre was able to call on closer Takashi Saito, not only because the Dodgers had a lead to protect, but they finally had Saito to protect it after he missed the previous four games with a headache that wouldn't stop. Saito went 1-2-3 with two strikeouts for his fifth save.
Pierre, pressed into leadoff duty by the injury to Rafael Furcal, was only 2-for-23 until this three-hit, three-RBI game. He said he was looking for something up from Mota, got a 2-0 changeup and drove it, admittedly not his typical speed-type approach.
"I hit it where they ain't and the rest is history," he said.
He stole third after Mota twice wheeled with fakes to second base.
"I've played with Mota and I kind of know how he is," said Pierre. "He looked over there twice in a row. Very rarely do you do that three times.
"I hope this win gets us back on the right track, gets everybody to settle down. The offense, the defense, everybody's been pressing. It's only natural when you don't win games.
Pierre is now hitting .293 with 15 RBIs, as many as Ethier and Russell Martin. He's not happy about his uncertain role after an entire career as an everyday player, but as Torre said, "He's been a professional -- that's the best word to describe him. He knows what he's doing."
Lowe, who has only one win since April 12, went six innings for the first time since then. Although he had two messy innings, he also retired 10 consecutive batters at one point.
"All around, this was a really good game to pull out, especially with [Brewers ace Ben] Sheets pitching tomorrow," said Lowe. "If we can steal a win tomorrow, we can get out of here with a series win."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less