Dodgers Win the Hard Way in 9th Inning

Late rally leads to dramatic 3-2 win

By Michael Horowicz
|  Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 5:43 PM EDT
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Bleeding Dodger Blue: Fan Photos

AP

Los Angeles Dodgers' Casey Blake reacts after scoring the winning run on a single by Mark Loretta in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the National League division baseball series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Matt Holliday needs an Ambien to sleep tonight. Dodgers' fans need Xanax.

Like an NBA basketball game, you could have shown up late to Dodger Stadium and not missed a thing. Bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers down 2 to 1. A few fans make their exits, but not many. The rest of the 51,000 fans stay and hope for a miracle. They get one.

Dodgers first baseman James Loney hits a fly ball to left field, where Matt Holliday misplays it. Loney ends up on second. Casey Blake walks, after fouling off half a dozen pitches. Ronnie Belliard singles to tie the score.

Now, some of the people in the parking lot turn around and beg the ushers to be let back in. Mark Loretta, whom Joe Torre let manage the team last Sunday, pinch hits a single to center and the Dodgers win, 3-2.

Before that, the only dramatic moment in the game came in the bottom of the 7th, when Manny Ramirez accidentally hit the back of catcher Yadier Molina's helmet with his bat. Molina was OK. It was the only thing Ramirez has been able to hit in a long while.

The shadows caused by the 3 p.m. start wreaked havoc among the outfielders. Both Matt kemp and Ryan Ludwick had trouble seeing fly balls.

The game was not a sellout -- there were thousands of empty seats in the reserve level.

Both starting pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright were brilliant, but they were long gone from the game when the 9th inning fireworks erupted.

Now both teams fly to St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday afternoon, in a position to wrap it up with just one more victory. Incredible.

Game 3 will be played Saturday in St. Louis.

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