LOS ANGELES - A grounder off a fielder's glove. A bunt that slipped by two players. The Los Angeles Dodgers' latest postseason rally began in the weirdest, wackiest way.
Another throwing error by Chase Utley, a pinch-hit single and two walks also were part of the Dodgers’ crazy eighth inning that produced a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, tying the National League Championship Series at one game each.
The Dodgers took the lead after the Phillies pulled starting pitcher Pedro Martinez, who allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings. Andre Ethier drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk from rookie J.A. Happ, capping the Dodgers’ third comeback win of this postseason.
“We’ve been doing it all year, it seems like. We’re relentless. We never give up,” catcher Russell Martin said. “We go out there and compete, play through 27 outs, and whatever happens, happens. But we never keep our heads down.”
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is Sunday in Philadelphia.
Vicente Padilla pitched brilliantly for 7 innings, and the Los Angeles bullpen did the rest. Hong-Chih Kuo threw three pitches, getting two outs and the win. Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect ninth for the save.
Martinez and Padilla dueled through seven innings in a matchup of castoffs.
Padilla allowed one run and four hits, struck out six and walked one. He exited to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 56,000, tipping his cap as he walked off.
“It’s my first time playing in front of a big crowd like this in a game that’s more important than I’ve ever pitched in my life, and I was very emotional,” Padilla said through a translator.
An injury-plagued Martinez was let go by the Mets last season, while Padilla got dumped by Texas in August. He signed with the Dodgers two days later, excelled in their drive to a second consecutive NL West title and pitched well against St. Louis in the first round.
“I was very happy with the way I pitched,” Padilla said. “Although we were losing, I knew that the guys were going to come back, and I think I’m more happy now because the team won.”
The Dodgers were down 1-0 when Casey Blake opened the eighth with a single off the outstretched glove of third baseman Pedro Feliz. Ronnie Belliard’s bunt single got past Chan Ho Park and first baseman Ryan Howard.
“The bunt was a huge play, the fact that it got by Chan Ho and it got over in no-man’s land where Howard couldn’t get to it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “It seemed like we couldn’t get out of the inning.”
Martin followed with a grounder to Feliz, who made a good throw to Utley. But once again, the four-time All-Star threw away the relay after making just four throwing errors in the regular season. This time, it allowed pinch-runner Juan Pierre to score the tying run from the second.
After Thome singled off Scott Eyre, Rafael Furcal drew a walk from Ryan Madson that loaded the bases. Happ struck out Matt Kemp, but walked Ethier.
“He laid off it looked like some tough pitches away, and at 3-and-2 it’s tough when your mentality is swing, swing, swing to take a pitch, and it was huge,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
Ryan Howard’s homer in the fourth off Padilla accounted for the only run until the eighth.
The game began in 93-degree heat 16 hours after the Phillies won the series opener, 8-6.