Dodgers Saw London, Dodgers Saw France

Originally published on LAist on April 3, 2011.

Men are known to keep their underwear way past its expiration date. Until the darn thing disintegrates in the wash we will keep it in our rotation, holes and frayed elastic be damned. Well someone in the Giants’ clubhouse should alert right fielder Aubrey Huff that his magical red thong that mysteriously propelled the Giants to their World Series Championship last season has outlived its usefulness as evidenced by the Dodgers’ 7-5 victory over the Giants.

It started in the first inning after Rafael Furcal blooped a single into shallow centerfield to lead off. Huff lost Jamey Carroll’s line drive in the shadows. Once he caught sight of the ball and dove for it, it skipped past him and dribbled out towards the Giants’ bullpen. By the time Huff reached that ball at the edge of the warning track, Furcal had scored and Carroll was standing as safe as can be at third base.

Carroll didn’t think it was a triple coming off his bat, “but when I saw it get by him, I saw I had time to run the bases.”

Huff’s blunder can be forgiven since both runners would have scored anyway after Matt Kemp took starter Barry Zito’s 84 mph fastball offering half way into the Dodger bullpen for the 3-0 lead.

But in the seventh inning after the Giants had tied the game up 3-3, Huff could do no right.

After James Loney led off the inning with an opposite-field single off of reliever Dan Runzler (L, 0-1) and Rod Barajas struck out, Marcus Thames hit a long fly ball to right-centerfield. Huff turned once, twice, back around and every which way and still had the ball sail over his head. Yet again no error was given. Yet again the Dodgers got a triple. Yet again a run scored.

“I hit it good,” Thames said. “I was just glad to get it past the infield.”

While that would have been poetic enough as it was, pinch hitter Aaron Miles hit an RBI single towards Huff. And Furcal hit an RBI double towards Huff. And after Runzler was replaced with Sergio Romo, Andre Ethier hit an RBI single towards Huff.

“It just happened that way,” Carroll said of the “coincidental” targeting of Huff.

Four runs, five hits and the Dodgers standing pretty leading 7-3.

The Giants battled back in the second inning with Pablo Sandoval’s solo homer, three two-out singles leading to one run in the sixth and Pat Burrell’s solo shot in the seventh – all off of Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda (W, 1-0).

And after the Huff-plosion, they got back a run in the eighth inning with Brandon Belt walking with the bases loaded off of reliever Matt Guerrier and an Aaron Rowand’s pinch-hit solo homer off of closer Jonathan Broxton to lead off the ninth inning.

“You’ve got to go after them and get quick outs,” Broxton said unfazed by the homer.

Catcher Rod Barajas was equally unfazed.

“I think he’s fine,” he said. “His role is to close games out. He’s 3-for-3 this year. It doesn’t matter how he gets it done.”

While many of the 50,896 at Dodger Stadium could have used new underwear by the time he was done, the fact remains that Broxton did get it done with Buster Posey grounding to shortstop for his third save in as many chances (his 6.00 ERA notwithstanding.)

The MVP of this game for the Dodgers beyond Huff has to be the Dodgers’ promotions department who wisely scheduled the Snuggie night (or, the Dodger Sleeved Blanket due to intellectual property issues.) In front of the national ESPN2 cameras, it made it seem like an actual Dodger game in stark contrast to Saturday afternoon’s game where chants of “Beat L.A.” drowned out the few Dodger fans who remained.