Dodgers defeated by 5-3
Eric Gagne pitched a scoreless ninth inning after a one-day break from his role as the Milwaukee Brewers' closer, to save a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
The hardworking reliever allowed a single and a walk before getting Juan Pierre to hit into a pop fly and earn his 10th save of the season. "It feels good," Gagne said. Brewers manager Ned Yost admits he's taking a gamble by giving Gagne his job back so soon after blowing five saves a little more than a month into the season. But Yost said taking a by-committee approach to closing can disrupt a bullpen, and he ultimately had to trust his player. "Sure, I could not pitch him so that nobody thinks that I'm stupid for pitching him," Yost said. "But I've never done that. I believe and I trust in my guys, and Eric Gagne's my closer."
"I made the crucial mistake," Penny said. "I walked the pitcher and that was the difference in the game. Coming off one of the worst outings of his career last week, Penny gave up two runs in the first four innings, then led off the fifth with a four-pitch walk to Brewers pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Prince Fielder followed up with a single to score Braun. "It's huge," Braun said. For me, any pitch that I am getting that I should hit, I am hitting." Then came closing time, a sore spot for the Brewers all season.
The situation of the Milwaukee's closer has been up in the air since Saturday, when Gagne said after another rough outing that he didn't deserve to pitch the ninth anymore. Gagne said before Monday's game that he wants another shot at closing, but Yost used him in the seventh and eighth innings Monday night. Given a chance to close Tuesday, Gagne allowed a leadoff single to Russell Martin before getting Blake DeWitt to hit into a fielder's choice and Mark Sweeney to fly out. DeWitt advanced to second on a passed ball, and Gagne walked Andruw Jones before getting Pierre to pop out. But Gagne didn't breathe until the ball ended up in J.J. Hardy's glove.
According to Yost Gagne made a "simple adjustment," although he wouldn't provide specifics. Villanueva went six innings for Milwaukee, giving up eight hits and three runs (only two were earned) for the win after losing his last four decisions. The LA Dodgers have scored a total of 10 runs in their five straight losses.
LA Dodgers was playing without three key players on Monday. Manager Joe Torre gave Jones the night off before using him as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, shortstop Rafael Furcal was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 6 with a lower back injury and closer Takashi Saito was unavailable while he recovered from an illness. Furthermore, Torre said losing Furcal wasn't the reason the Dodgers were defeating.
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