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By Jon Weisman
There was great defense and timely hitting and shutdown pitching (oh, was there shutdown pitching). There were contributions from superstars and reserves and guys fresh off the disabled list and guys who have struggled to find consistency. There was a jacked-up crowd urging their team on against the National League All-Star team’s most likely starting pitcher, doing nothing less than threatening to throw the sport’s latest no-hitter.
And in a taut two hours and 32 minutes, the Dodgers came through with a 1-0 victory over St. Louis, their first 1-0 victory of 2014, their second-shortest nine-inning game and easily one of the best edge-of-your seat games of the season.
So little scoring, so many moments …
- Dee Gordon walks, and then St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright sets down the next 15 batters.
- Josh Beckett gives up a first-inning and third-inning hit, but otherwise matches Wainwright zero for zero.
- Miguel Rojas, after making slick plays at shortstop all night, breaks up Wainwright’s no-hitter with a line single to left to start the bottom of the sixth.
- In the seventh, Gordon ranges far to his right, adjusts to a last minute bounce off the bag to field a seventh-inning grounder, and throws Yadier Molina out at first.
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- One batter later, after Allen Craig has doubled, John Jay singles to left and Matt Kemp shows what his arm can do in left field, nailing Craig at home. An exultant Beckett completes his seventh shutout inning of the night, lowering his 2014 ERA to a remarkable 2.11.
- Brian Wilson pitches his most authoritative inning of the season, retiring the Cardinals in the eighth on 14 pitches, 12 for strikes.
- Juan Uribe, in his first game in more than five weeks and looking rusty through two strikeouts, singles to start the bottom of the eighth.
- Rojas, again. After a Drew Butera sacrifice, an infield single by the shortstop puts runners at the corner.
- Justin Turner, sent to the bench by Uribe’s return, steps up as a pinch-hitter and lines an RBI single to left. Turner is now 6 for 15 (.400) as a pinch-hitter.
- Matt Adams hits a bloop single in the ninth off Kenley Jansen, but pinch-runner Peter Bourjos is tagged out at second by an alert Rojas on a steal attempt.
- Needing only seven pitches to finish his work, Jansen ends things on a Jhonny Peralta fly to center.
As much as you see Rojas’ name in these highlights, that’s how much of a presence off the bench he has become in only 20 days as a Dodger. What a treat to see someone seize the opportunity and challenge in front of him. No, he’s no big bat, but he’s doing everything you could ask.
So the Dodgers, who were 1-33 when tied or trailing after seven innings before Wednesday, have won two games in two nights that were tied in the eighth. And from the “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you” department: San Francisco lost to Cincinnati, 3-1. At the halfway point of the 2014 season, the Dodgers are within two games of first place in the NL West.