On Sept. 18, 2006, the Dodgers came back with four consecutive homers in the ninth inning and then one in the 10th to beat San Diego in the legendary 4+1 game.
Tonight, the Dodgers almost matched the feat, hitting four homers in a five-batter stretch (interrupted only by a Manny Ramirez third out in the bottom of the second inning), and then held on to most of their 7-1 lead for an 8-5 victory over Cincinnati. Call it the 4-minus-1 game.
Ryan Theriot and Andre Ethier went deep with two out in the second, and then Jay Gibbons (with a bouncer off the top of the center-field wall) and Matt Kemp (pulling a high and somewhat outside pitch) copy-catted leading off the bottom of the third.
Chad Billingsley cruised for the first five innings, then was pulled after giving up a couple of runs in the sixth. Cincinnati made the game close with two runs off Travis Schlichting in the seventh (inherited runs allowed to score by Hong-Chih Kuo), but the Reds got no closer. The Dodgers added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, and Jonathan Broxton retired the side in order in the ninth despite two three-ball counts for the save.
Ramirez went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his return, but Gibbons went 2 for 3 with a walk batting cleanup. Ethier, Kemp and Casey Blake each reached base three times.
Tonight’s news was overshadowed by Vin Scully telling T.J. Simers of the Times that he plans to announce his future plans before Sunday’s game. Given that Scully has said he hasn’t wanted a farewell tour, I’m going to go to sleep thinking it’s an announcement he’s coming back, at least to do home games.