Young reliever Pedro Baez got four key outs in the seventh and eighth innings of the Dodgers' 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. Jansen, who blew a two-run lead during a four-out save chance Wednesday, handled the ninth inning exclusively this time and breezed to nail down his 40th save.
How it happened: The Dodgers are in a bit of a hitting rut, but so are the Diamondbacks and a couple of far-from-dominant pitchers, Haren and Arizona's Vidal Nuno, made the game into an improbable pitchers' duel. The Dodgers scraped a run across in the second inning on Hanley Ramirez's RBI single and another in the third when Matt Kemp sliced a solo home run to right, but they were otherwise stymied by the Diamondbacks' lefty. Arizona could do even less with Haren over six innings.
Hits: Haren (12-10) has had some rough stretches this season, no doubt. From May 18 to June 3 and from July 5 to Aug. 1, for example, he lost every game he pitched. But the Dodgers kept him in the rotation and Haren kept going. Now he has become a reliable back-of-the-rotation starter at a time when the Dodgers need one. After pitching six strong innings, giving up only one bad-luck run and four hits, Haren is 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA over his past six starts. He also has pitched 162 innings, meaning he has a good shot at getting to 180 this season and having a $10 million option for next season vest. That's a little worrisome since Haren will be 34 next season and has already pitched more innings than another 34-year-old (Josh Beckett), who is mulling retirement, but Haren is helping the Dodgers' playoff pursuit in a big way lately.
Misses: Coming into Friday, A.J. Ellis was batting .200 in his past 22 games but had a .329 on-base percentage. That's Ellis for you. He drew another walk and scored the Dodgers' first run in the second inning. There have been nice signs of progress for Ellis lately and the Dodgers hope those continue, because their catchers have produced scant offense all season. As a group, Dodgers catchers are hitting .186 and have driven in 34 runs.
Stat of the game: In his past 16 1/3 innings, Baez -- a 26-year-old converted third baseman -- has given up one earned run.