The Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda pitched a gem against the Washington Nationals on Saturday night, striking out eight and retiring the last 17 batters he faced.
The only problem: The right-hander’s sparkling performance came after Kuroda had surrendered a two-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning.
As a result, Kuroda left the game after seven innings with the Dodgers tied with the Nationals, but James Loney’s bases-loaded single in the 10th inning gave the Dodgers a 3-2 victory at Dodger Stadium.
After pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard drew a walk from Washington reliever Sean Burnett (0-6), Scott Podsednik singled him to third. Belliard had to hold as Ryan Theriot grounded out with the Nationals using a five-man infield and Andre Ethier was intentionally walked to load the bases before Loney singled down the right-field line to score Belliard.
Jonathan Broxton went two innings to get the victory.
Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said “Kuroda was amazing” and that “it certainly would have been a downer if we weren’t able to pull that one out.”
The win enabled the Dodgers to gain a game on the division-leading San Diego Padres, who lost, so the fourth-place Dodgers are now seven games back in the National League West.
Manager Joe Torre had said before the game that the Dodgers’ recent woes stemmed in part from the team needing “more consistency, I think, through the middle of the lineup” in terms of offense.