Dodgers’ sweep stopped short by Marlins
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have seen just about enough of Giancarlo Stanton.
Aaron Harang was the latest Dodgers pitcher to give up a home run to Stanton, allowing a first-pitch solo shot to center field in the fourth inning of a 6-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Sunday. The 22-year-old slugger also went deep Friday night against reliever Jamey Wright and Saturday against ace Clayton Kershaw.
Rob Brantly, playing in his seventh big league game following his promotion from Triple-A New Orleans on Aug. 13, gave the Marlins a 3-1 lead in the fifth with another first-pitch homer off Harang (9-8), this one into the pavilion seats following a leadoff single by Donovan Solano. It was the 14th allowed by the right-hander, who gave up an average of 24.9 home runs over the previous eight seasons — including 35 in 2008 with Cincinnati.
“Early on I was able to locate my fastball and I felt like I was able to mix up a lot of my pitches,” said Harang, who yielded three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. “The pitch to Brantly was supposed to be a backdoor cutter that stayed out over the middle. He’s another young, aggressive hitter who swung at the first pitch.”
Stanton, a Valley kid who was born in nearby Panorama City and played his high school ball in Sherman Oaks, had 22 homers as a rookie in 2010 and 34 last season. He is batting .326 over his last 12 games with 14 RBIs, but it’s those 15 strikeouts during that stretch that have kept him humble.
“I’ve put some good swings on mistakes that were out over the plate,” Stanton said. “But the way I’ve been making outs, I don’t think that I’m on any kind of a roll. I don’t set goals for myself. I just try to be the best I can be, and then all the numbers will come. But don’t be barking off, `I’m going to do this or that.'”
Stanton had eight home runs during the Marlins’ 5-6 trip, raising his season total to 29. The previous club record during a road trip was six, by Miguel Cabrera (10 games), Mike Lowell (12 games) and Preston Wilson (13 games).
“He’s got so much power, it’s ridiculous,” winning pitcher Mark Buehrle said. “Every time he hits the ball, it has a chance of going out. I mean, he has 29 home runs right now — and he’s missed a month and a half. So it’s kind of scary when you think about what he could have done if he was healthy all year.”
Dodgers rookie Shawn Tolleson served up back-to-back home runs to Jose Reyes and Carlos Lee in the ninth. Lee flied out to the warning track in the fourth and sixth against Harang.
Buehrle (12-11) won his third straight start, allowing a run and six hits in 5 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and three walks. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by retiring Hanley Ramirez on a popup and Andre Ethier on a grounder with the Marlins holding a 3-1 lead that Brantly provided with his two-run shot to right-center.
Less than 24 hours after watching teammate Josh Johnson throw 45 pitches in the first inning of an 8-2 loss, Buehrle used up 31 of his 111 pitches to get out of the opening frame. The fast-working left-hander struck out three batters in the inning, but also gave up an RBI single by new Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a three-run homer in his first plate appearance with Los Angeles following Saturday’s nine-player trade with Boston.
“It’s always a good sign then the offense is making the pitcher work like that in the first few innings, because it gives you a better shot,” Ethier said. “If you tire those guys out, you have a better shot at getting to their bullpen. We did a pretty good job of that in all three of these games.”
Ethier singled home a run in the seventh, but the Marlins made it 4-2 in the eighth when Ramirez misplayed Bryan Petersen’s two-out grounder to shortstop with the bases loaded for an error. Steve Cishek retired Gonzalez on a fly ball with the bases loaded in the bottom half, then pitched a hitless ninth to nail down his 11th save in 14 chances.
Ramirez, acquired by the Dodgers in a trade with the Marlins on July 25 for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, was 1 for 12 with six strikeouts in the series. The only hit was a two-run homer off Eovaldi on Friday night in an 11-4 Dodgers victory.
Ethier was called out on strikes by Tony Randazzo in the first, after hitting safely in each of his previous 10 plate appearances, and ended up tied with Ed Konetchy for the franchise record for consecutive at-bats with a hit. Konetchy did it with the 1919 Brooklyn Robins, who didn’t change their name to “Dodgers” until 1932.
NOTES: The Dodgers announced before the game that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be back behind the microphone next season, his 64th with the club. … Ethier was in an 0-for-18 drought before starting his string of hits. Only one player since 1952 has had hits in 11 consecutive at-bats — Bernie Williams in 2002 with the Yankees. The major league record is 12, by Johnny Kling (1902 Cubs), Pinky Higgins (1938 Red Sox) and Walt Dropo (1952 Tigers).