Little things mean a lot in 11th
Martinez, Pierre central figures in hitless rally vs. hapless Cubs
LOS ANGELES -- A slip at second, a hit batter and a win. That's how the Dodgers took the finale of a three-game series with the Cubs on Sunday afternoon.Pinch-hitter Ramon Martinez scored from third after Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol hit Juan Pierre in the knee with the bases loaded in the 11th inning to give the Dodgers the come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. "Ramon used the old-school Wiffle Ball move and it worked out," Pierre said. "That was one of the weirdest innings I have ever been in." The Wiffle Ball move Pierre was referring to occurred in the wacky bottom of the 11th inning when Martinez, who walked to open the inning and advanced to second after Wilson Betemit walked, slipped taking a secondary lead and appeared to be hung out to dry. However, catcher Michael Barrett threw to second, allowing Martinez to take third ahead of the throw. "I slipped and I was just stuck in the middle," Martinez said. "I was expecting him [Barrett] to run at me, but when he threw to second I knew I could make it to third." With Martinez at third and Betemit at first, the Cubs intentionally walked Rafael Furcal to load the bases for Pierre. Pierre worked the count to 2-2 before being hit in the knee, allowing Martinez to score. "The ball hit me in the knee and bounced away," Pierre said. "I didn't know what was going on." Initially the play was ruled a wild pitch, but the umpires changed the ruling and Pierre jogged to first to make it official. "We'll take it," manager Grady Little said. "A game like that where there's not a whole lot going on offensively, you'll take it anyway you can." The Dodgers and Cubs were deadlocked at zero through seven innings behind strong pitching performances by both starters. Randy Wolf went six innings, allowing no runs on three hits while striking out five. Cubs starter Rich Hill was just as effective, pitching six scoreless innings while also allowing just three hits. "Their guy was pitching very well, too. I think he had 66 pitches through six innings -- he was very effective," Wolf said. "It was going to be a tough game today and the bullpen came in a did a great job, and Andre had a big home run." Andre Ethier pinch-hit leading off the eighth inning and tied the game with his fourth homer, after the Cubs had broken through in the top half on Derrek's Lee RBI single off Rudy Seanez. But the Dodgers were able to escape a two-out, bases-loaded jam.
Ethier drilled a 0-2 pitch from reliever Scott Eyre into the bleachers in right field. The home run was his first ever as a pinch-hitter."It was a big at-bat. I fell behind 0-2 but I got a good pitch and was able to take advantage of it," Ethier said. "It was nice to come off the bench and contribute right away." Seanez, Joe Beimel, Jonathan Broxton and Chad Billingsley (3-0) combined for five innings, allowing one run on four hits in relief of Wolf. The defense also played a key role in Sunday's victory. Jeff Kent made a diving catch at second base to end the seventh, and Pierre chipped in with a diving grab in center off the bat of Mark DeRosa in the 11th. But the play of the day came from catcher Russell Martin, who lunged into the first row seats to the left of home plate to catch a foul pop by Matt Murton.
"I saw the ball in the air and I wasn't really paying attention to my surrounding. I stuck my glove out there and fell into the crowd," Martin said. "It was fun, that's why I play the game. That's why I play baseball, to make a play like that."
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.