Eighth-inning rally spurs Dodgers
Loney hits tying three-run double; Blake has winning RBI
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers hit the halfway mark of Manny Ramirez's suspension Tuesday night by showing the D-backs how they've stayed in first place without him.
James Loney keyed a five-run eighth-inning comeback with a three-run double and Casey Blake returned to the lineup with the game-winning RBI single in a 6-5 win, restoring the Dodgers' lead in the National League West to nine games.
"A most unlikely victory with the starter they had and the lead he had," manager Joe Torre said, considering Arizona's Dan Haren was spotted a 5-0 lead after two innings and had a two-hitter when he left after seven innings.
The win was only the Dodgers' second when they trailed after seven innings.
"I'm happy to say it doesn't surprise me when we do things like this," said Torre. "You can just hear in the dugout a quiet confidence."
Randy Wolf dug the 5-0 hole with bases-loaded jams in the first two innings, most of it on Justin Upton's first career grand slam. Meanwhile, Haren had more hits himself (three) than the entire Dodgers offense through his seven innings.
"But [Haren] came out of the game and we took a deep breath," Wolf said. "They had somebody else in there and it was like, let's not give up."
Translation: Get into the Arizona bullpen.
That strategy fell a run short Monday night. But even in that 3-2 defeat, the Dodgers got to Arizona reliever Tony Pena for two runs in the ninth inning and the memory was fresh when they saw Pena back on the mound to open the bottom of the eighth Tuesday night.
To that point, the only Dodgers offense was Andre Ethier, who slugged a long home run off Haren in the second inning, his seventh and first in 25 games. Ethier also doubled.
In the eighth, the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs against Pena. Orlando Hudson walked for one run and Loney greeted reliever Daniel Schlereth by clearing the bases with a three-run double, giving him a team-high 41 RBIs, on pace for 123 despite only two homers.
Loney struck out his two previous at-bats, but in bases-loaded situations in his career, he is hitting .389 with 53 RBIs in 54 at-bats.
"Sometimes it looks like he has pathetic at-bats, but you look on the board and see 50 RBIs in 53 at-bats with the bases loaded, that's pretty impressive," said Torre. "We have different people rise to the occasion."
Blake, who missed the previous three games with a tight hamstring, had never faced Schlereth and first base was open.
"They could have walked me intentionally, but Dre's had a good night behind me," said Blake. "With the count 3-1, I'm looking fastball and I got a changeup and it was just up enough and I kept my hands back just enough. It's good because our offense has been kind of dormant. We haven't been able to put an inning like that together and come back the past few nights in a row."
Jeff Weaver got the win with two scoreless innings of relief, and Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth inning for his 12th save and first since May 20.
Oddly, Wolf earned as much postgame credit, despite his early jams. He escaped the first allowing only one run on a groundout, but Upton's grand slam in the second dug the Dodgers a deep hole.
Wolf said he didn't shake off catcher Brad Ausmus after the second inning and "it was probably the most efficient I've ever been. I decided to throw the pitches Brad put down as easy as I could. I changed speeds, hit spots and didn't worry about the results."
The Dodgers are 15-10 in the 25 games they've played since Ramirez was suspended May 7 for violating the MLB drug policy.
"Those guys are pretty proud of what they've done," Torre said. "They think a lot of their ability. It's not that we don't miss Manny. We enjoy having him around and look forward to getting him back."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.