All that separated Dan Haren from a possible chance at a no-hitter was a third-inning single that was awarded to Cleveland’s Michael Bourn after a replay review.
Rookie Clint Robinson made sure the right-hander’s best outing of the season didn’t go to waste, hitting a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, and the Los Angeles Dodgers opened their interleague series against the Cleveland Indians with a 1-0 victory on Monday night.
Dodgers shortstop Miguel Rojas made a diving stop of Bourn’s smash behind second base and got the out call from umpire Adrian Johnson before Cleveland manager Terry Francona successfully challenged the ruling. Bourn stole second, putting two men in scoring position. But Asdrubal Cabrera looked at a third strike.
Had the play on Bourn not been overturned, Haren felt he had enough to try for the Dodgers’ third no-hitter of the season after the gems by Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw. Haren was lifted after seven innings.
"I didn’t even think about it until I came out of the game and Zack (Greinke) said something like: `If this was last year, you’d have a no-hitter,’ " Haren said after his 103-pitch effort. "I think 2-2/3 was the longest I’ve had a no-hitter this year, so that was pretty good for me."
The defending National League West champions took over sole possession of first place in the division by a half-game over idle San Francisco. The Giants led them by as many as 9-1/2 games as recently as June 8. Since then, Los Angeles has gone 15-6 and San Francisco 4-15.
The Indians, coming off a three-game series at Seattle in which they swapped one-hit shutouts with the Mariners, couldn’t do a thing against Haren (8-4) after Felix Hernandez stymied them through eight innings on Sunday.
"I would have liked to be on the winning side of all three," said Cleveland third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, whose single in the fifth inning against Hernandez was the Indians’ only hit on Sunday following Josh Tomlin’s complete-game 5-0 victory over the Mariners on Saturday.
"You’ve got to give the pitchers credit. That doesn’t happen a lot," Chisenhall added. "We usually work counts, get deep into counts, get hits and put pressure on guys. But we haven’t done that two days in a row."
Haren struck out five and walked one on the 11th anniversary of his major league debut, getting through seven innings for just the third time in 17 starts this season. He ended a streak of nine consecutive outings in which he allowed a home run, one shy of his career-worst stretch in 2012.
"I worked on some stuff in between starts, and tonight I was locating the ball really good," Haren said. "We’ve been working on the curveball, trying to feature it a little bit more during the game."
Brian Wilson pitched a perfect eighth and Kenley Jansen a 1-2-3 ninth for his 25th save.
Corey Kluber (7-6) allowed a run and six hits over 6-2/3 innings and struck out five. The 28-year-old right-hander, who has spent all four of his big league seasons with the Indians, came in 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his six previous interleague starts.
The Dodgers, who held the NL-champion Cardinals to four runs while taking three of four, had runners at second and third in the fourth when Kluber struck out Andre Ethier and retired Juan Uribe on a fly ball.
Ethier came up again in the seventh and led off with an opposite-field triple off the glove of left fielder Michael Brantley on the warning track. Two outs later, pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked and Robinson worked the count full before smacking a single up the middle for his first major league hit and RBI.
"It put us in a position to win the ballgame. The crowd was cheering, all my teammates were fist-bumping, it was awesome," Robinson said.
NOTES: A moment of silence was observed in memory of Bobby Castillo, a nine-year major league pitcher who spent his first five seasons and his final one with the Dodgers. "Babo," as he was affectionately called by everyone in the organization since his rookie year in 1977, died Monday at age 59 from cancer. The L.A. native was credited with teaching Fernando Valenzuela how to throw his trademark screwball. … Dodgers reliever Chris Perez spent the previous 4 1-2 seasons with Cleveland. Two seasons ago, he made some disparaging remarks on the record about Indians fans because of the team’s poor attendance — and felt their wrath numerous times in the aftermath. But he has no regrets. "Everything I said was true. I didn’t make anything up," said Perez, who turns 29 years old on Tuesday. "It became a little more of a distraction for me than I would have liked, but I think the team didn’t let it bother them. Overall, I think I was more successful there than some fans would like to give me credit for."