Dodgers fans in the New York area waited more than 30 years to see their favorite team play in the Bronx again. They're going to have to wait a few more hours, or maybe a few more years, to see them win.
The Dodgers dropped the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, 6-4, on Wednesday, thanks to bad defense and an unreliable bullpen. After this two-game series, the Dodgers fly to San Diego and won't return to play the Yankees until the interleague schedule has them facing the AL East again.
The Dodgers made four errors and didn't score until 38-year-old Hiroki Kuroda started getting tired in the seventh inning. A.J. Ellis had a sacrifice fly, and pinch hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. had a two-out, RBI single.
However, that little bit of momentum fizzled with a bit of comic relief from Ronald Belisario. First, he allowed Vernon Wells’ pop-up to fall in front of him for one error, then accidentally nudged the ball through his legs and made an off-balance throw that sailed into center field trying to get the runner at second.
The Yankees added three seventh-inning runs to practically salt it away. The loss made it a bittersweet return to the Bronx for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, one of the Yankees’ best players of the 1980s. The Yankees presented a video tribute to Mattingly, who tipped his cap.
The backbreaking inning for Mattingly's team was the fourth, when a Hanley Ramirez double put runners at second and third with nobody out. Unfortunately, Hiroki Kuroda speared Andre Ethier’s liner and threw to third to double off Adrian Gonzalez and end the threat. The Dodgers simply don’t create enough chances for themselves to withstand blown opportunities like that one and win.
One of the few bright spots for the Dodgers was the monster game from Ramirez, who has looked rejuvenated when he hasn’t been injured this season. Ramirez went 4-for-4 and missed hitting for the cycle by a triple. In the eighth inning, he hit a vicious, low line drive over the left-field wall for a two-run home run.
Rookie Yasiel Puig continued to put on a show, for good or for ill. First, he tried to stretch a routine single up the middle and was thrown out easily at second. Then, he actually doubled. He also nearly threw out a base runner at first on what appeared to be a routine single. The Dodgers are learning quickly that, in Puig’s case, nothing is routine.
He can also cross one more item off his bucket list. He faced future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning and took a called third strike. It was Rivera's 633rd career save.