Pitching with the authority normally reserved for colonels and Kershaws, first-time 2011 Dodger starter Dana Eveland needed only 99 pitches to cruise through eight innings of one-run ball in the Dodgers’ 6-4 victory over Pittsburgh today.
The 27-year-old Eveland, the ace of the ’11 Albuquerque Isotopes with a 4.38 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 154 innings, allowed six hits while walking none and striking out three. After allowing a run-scoring double-play grounder in the second inning to cut the Dodgers’ lead to 3-1, Eveland set down 18 of the final 21 batters he faced.
Eveland had a 5.74 major-league ERA in 330 2/3 innings with 6.0 strikeouts per nine innings entering the game.
The Dodgers got off to a 3-0 first-inning lead thanks to a leadoff glad-to-be-back single by Dee Gordon (2 for 5), a single by Matt Kemp (followed by his 36th steal), an intentional walk to Andre Ethier, a two-run single by Aaron Miles and a sacrifice fly by Tony Gwynn Jr.
In the seventh, singles by James Loney (2 for 5) and Kemp (the same) an error and a passed ball provided the Dodgers’ fourth run, and Gordon had a two-run double in the eighth. A.J. Ellis, who scored one of the runs in the eighth, was 2 for 3 with a walk.
Los Angeles teased a nightmare in the ninth. Blake Hawksworth started the inning by serving up a single and a two-run Alex Presley homer. Kenley Jansen relieved and allowed his first hit and run since the Middle Ages, but then struck out Josh Harrison and Brandon Wood to end the game.
The Dodgers have won nine of their past 10 games to improve to 66-70 (.485), their highest winning percentage since they were 19-20 (.487) on May 13. Los Angeles is 29-19 (.604) since July 6, yet because of Arizona’s surge, is only a half-game closer to first place in the National League West.