Wolf's arm, bat helps Dodgers top Diamondbacks

BY foxsports • April 13, 2009

The Los Angeles Dodgers had two things going for them - Randy Wolf and the trusty "four-out play."

Wolf tossed two-hit ball into the eighth inning and drove in the Dodgers' first run on a bizarre double play to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 on Sunday.

Trailing 1-0 in the second, Los Angeles had Andre Ethier on third base and Juan Pierre on second with one out when Wolf hit a line drive that was caught by Arizona starter Dan Haren (0-2). He wheeled and threw to second baseman Felipe Lopez, who tagged Pierre a few feet off second base for an inning-ending double play.

Ethier was running on contact, and he crossed the plate before Pierre was tagged out. The Diamondbacks left the field, apparently thinking the run didn't count.

But the umpires said it did after meeting with Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Arizona manager Bob Melvin - and by then it was too late for the Diamondbacks to appeal that Ethier had failed to tag up. Had they done so, they would have recorded a fourth out and erased the run.

"They could have gotten the fourth out with an appeal at third base, but they didn't do that before leaving the field," umpire Charlie Reliford told a pool reporter. "We had about six rules involved here."

Torre's bench coach, Bob Schaefer, knew the rule, and he pointed it out to Torre as the play unfolded.

"When it happened, Bob Schaefer said, 'That's the four-out play,"' Torre said.

Reliford said the run wouldn't have counted if Lopez had stepped on second instead of tagging Pierre.

"If (Lopez) had touched the bag, and we determined that that was an unmistakable act of an appeal, the run wouldn't have counted," Reliford said. "The extra time it took Lopez to tag the runner allowed the run to score."

Melvin did not argue the decision.

"They did get it right," Melvin said. "That is the call: if you tag the runner at second, you have to go to appeal before you come off the field to get the runner at third."

Wolf was credited with an RBI on the play, which was recorded as a 1-4 double play.

Adding to the confusion, the correct score - Arizona 1, Los Angeles 1 - wasn't posted on the scoreboard until the Diamondbacks came to bat in the bottom of the inning.

Ethier knew he had crossed home plate, but he didn't realize he had scored until he took his position in the outfield for the bottom of the second.

"I still wasn't aware, running out to right field," Ethier said. "I see some people talking, and I'm not understanding. And you see a run go up. It was kind of shocking.

"Baseball has three outs, I thought," he said with a chuckle.

There was no debate about the Dodgers' second run. James Loney singled to score Rafael Furcal, who had walked and moved to second on a walk by Manny Ramirez.

The Dodgers made it 3-1 in the ninth on Matt Kemp's double off Jon Rauch, which scored Russell Martin from first.

With Chase Field's roof open on a dazzling afternoon, Wolf (1-1) helped the Dodgers take two of three in an early-season series between teams expected to contend in the NL West.

The left-hander gave up a hit to his first batter, Lopez, who doubled over Pierre's head in center. Lopez scored on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew, but that was all the Diamondbacks could muster.

Wolf, who returned to the Dodgers as a free agent last winter, retired 16 straight from the second to the eighth, when Chad Tracy led off with a single.

Torre brought in Hong-Chih Kuo, who retired the side. Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

Wolf walked two and struck out five. He said he got by with breaking stuff on a day when his fastball lacked zip.

"I had my curveball early, and I was able to throw that for strikes," Wolf said. "I threw my changeup in some spots where I thought they were going to be looking fastball, and was able to make some good changeups."

Wolf needed to be sharp against Haren, who turned in his second strong outing of the season but has only two losses to show for his efforts. Haren gave up two runs in six innings, allowing four hits, walking two and striking out two.

In his first start, Haren allowed one run in seven innings but lost 3-0 to the Colorado Rockies.

"I pride myself on being consistent, going out there every time and giving the team a chance," Haren said. "I've done that. I haven't gotten 'Ws,' but I'm where I need to be pitching-wise. You can't really measure a pitcher by wins and losses anyway. There's only so much I can control."


The 30 millionth fan in Diamondbacks history passed through the Chase Field turnstiles on Sunday. ... Arizona lost only eight games in April last year. The Diamondbacks have already dropped four this season - all at home. ... Kemp has a hit in all seven Dodgers games, and Loney has hit in six of seven.

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