Chad Billingsley lost the battle with Weaver, allowing three hits over seven innings, but won the war by combining with Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito as the Dodgers recorded their second consecutive shutout against the Angels in the Interleague Freeway Series.
"It was pretty magical," manager Joe Torre said of the pitchers' duel, and here's the historical roundup:
Although by MLB rules it doesn't officially qualify as a no-hitter because the Angels didn't pitch nine innings, it was the first time the Dodgers were no-hit since Kent Mercker and Atlanta, April 8, 1994; the first time a Dodgers team won a game without a hit and the first time any team won a game without a hit since 1992, when the Indians beat Boston and former Dodgers pitcher Matt Young.
"We'll try to win with one hit tomorrow and work our way up," said general manager Ned Colletti.
Weaver was lifted for a pinch-hitter by Angels manager Mike Scioscia trailing by a run in the top of the seventh inning, despite having no-hit the Dodgers through six innings, having allowed two walks. It was Weaver's fielding error that set up the unearned run.
Matt Kemp led off the fifth with a cue shot off the top of the bat that spun 50 feet down the first-base line, then like a top, veered to the left and Weaver missed it with his glove. Initially, a hit went up on the scoreboard, so many of the Dodgers weren't aware until later in the game that official scorer Don Hartack, after viewing a replay, ruled an error on Weaver.
|»» Dodgers win without a hit ««|
With Blake DeWitt batting, Kemp stole second, continued to third when catcher Jeff Mathis airmailed his throw into center field for another error and scored on DeWitt's sacrifice fly to right.
"It's pretty exciting," said Kemp. "I've never been part of anything like this. I feel like we're going to the playoffs."
"You look up and see we just got no-hit and we won," said DeWitt. "That's pretty surprising."
The Dodgers not only created their run, they cut off several Angels rallies with web gems. Right fielder Andre Ethier had a pair, throwing out Erick Aybar at second base trying to stretch a sixth-inning single and running down Howie Kendrick's seventh-inning gapper. First baseman James Loney stole a hit from Casey Kotchman in the fourth inning with a diving stop.
The game-saver, however, was turned in by Luis Maza, a defensive replacement for second baseman Jeff Kent, who was fully extended to make a diving stop on Kotchman's bouncer that was heading into right field with one out in the ninth inning, bounding to his feet for the throw to first. The Maza out saved a tying run because Kendrick then doubled off Saito, who walked Mike Napoli before striking out Reggie Willits for the final out and his 12th save.
"You have to separate offense from defense," said Ethier. "If you're having a bad game at the plate, you can't take it into the field, because you can win or lose the game out there, too."
Ethier was the Dodgers final batter of the game in the bottom of the eighth and might have had the closest thing to a hit for his club, slicing a line drive that Garret Anderson flagged down in deep left field.
Meanwhile, Billingsley squared his record at 7-7 with a third consecutive victory. In addition to help from his defense, he pitched his way out of a first-and-second jam with no outs in the third inning; a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth by striking out Torii Hunter; and a two-out, runner on second threat in the seventh by getting Chone Figgins on a ground out. He struck out seven and walked three, lowering his ERA to 3.38.
"Things are starting to go my way," he said.