Lo Duca pinch-hit and drew a key walk with two outs in the ninth
inning, then pinch-hitter Lenny Harris followed with a three-run
double off Gagne to rally the Florida Marlins past the Los Angeles
Dodgers 6-4 Wednesday night.
Lo Duca, who said earlier this week that he would moonwalk home
if he ever homered off Gagne, slid in safely at the plate, then
joyfully gave high-fives to his Marlins teammates after scoring
their sixth run.
"When I got to first base, he smiled at me," said Lo Duca, the
longtime Dodgers catcher who was traded to Florida on July 30.
"But that was a battle."
Gagne, last year's NL Cy Young Award winner, blew a save for
just the second time in 100 chances dating to Aug. 26, 2002.
With most of the crowd of 46,241 standing to watch the showdown
between the former teammates, Lo Duca ran the count to 3-2 before
Gagne's next pitch was high.
"That's as fun as it's going to get," Lo Duca said. "He's one
of the best pitchers in the game, and to draw a walk off him is a
triumph for me.
"I'll remember that at-bat for a long time. I caught him for so
long, so I know how nasty he is. What happened tonight isn't going
to happen again for a very long time."
Gagne left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.
Miguel Cabrera began the rally with a one-out double, Mike
Lowell singled and Jeff Conine followed with an RBI single. Gagne
(4-2) got Juan Encarnacion on a popup before losing the matchup
with Lo Duca.
Harris, who holds the major league record with 190 career
pinch-hits, followed with a liner into right-center.
"That's one I'm never going to forget, off a pitcher like
him," Harris said. "But that's what I do. I come off the bench
and face the best guys out of the 'pen.
"But, hey, I'm not all-time for nothing."
Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy gave credit to the Marlins.
"Lo Duca was able to work the walk, and they go to a guy who's
made a living as a pinch-hitter," Tracy said.
Guillermo Mota, also sent to Florida in the July 30 trade,
pitched one inning for his first win with the Marlins. Mota (9-5)
worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth.
"It's very eerie -- and Mota gets the win, too," Lo Duca said.
"I never thought I'd be in this position in the first place. It's
Armando Benitez worked a perfect ninth for his 36th save in 39
Gagne's other blown save in 37 chances this season came against
Arizona on July 5, when he also failed to protect a two-run lead.
That ended his streak of 84 consecutive saves, a major league
"He is not perfect, he's human. It was just one of those tough
nights," said Odalis Perez, who held the Marlins to one earned run
through eight innings and left with a 4-2 lead.
The no-decision was Perez's 13th of the season.
Shawn Green hit a solo homer in the second inning, and Steve
Finley and Milton Bradley hit consecutive solo shots off Ismael
Valdez in the third to help the Dodgers take a 4-0 lead. Perez
singled home Los Angeles' fourth run after Brent Mayne was walked
intentionally in the fourth inning.
The consecutive home runs by the Dodgers were the 12th time
they've done it this year, including Jose Hernandez and David Ross
a week earlier at Cincinnati. ... Valdez has a 3.24 ERA in two
starts since he was acquired in a trade with San Diego two weeks
ago. ... Despite losing RHP Darren Dreifort to injury, Tracy said
the Dodgers were not interested in signing RHP Rod Beck, who was
released Tuesday by San Diego. ... The Dodgers' four runs were
above average for the feeble support they've been giving Perez this
year -- an average of 3.35 runs per game.