Rain falls in Los Angeles, and so do Cubs in 12 innings
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 2, 2014 11:16PM
Los Angeles Dodgers' Hanley Ramirez, right, celebrates as he heads home after hitting a three-run home run to win the game during the 12th inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Updated: August 3, 2014 2:05AM
LOS ANGELES — Rumor has it there is indeed a tarp for the infield in case of rain at Dodger Stadium.
Supposedly, it’s behind the center-field well, safely stowed for the home rainout the Dodgers get every 14 years or so.
Having the grounds crew try to drag that thing from the far recesses of the stadium — if the umpires had decided to declare the first rain delay there in more than five years — would have been about the only thing that could have made Saturday’s rainy night any stranger than it already seemed.
As it was, a steady rain fell on the Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers from the bottom of the ninth inning until well after Hanley Ramirez hit a hanging curveball from Blake Parker into the left-field bullpen for a three-run homer with two out in the 12th.
It gave the Dodgers a 5-2 victory over the Cubs on a night that might have re-set the bar for the Cubbie Occurrence.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria, a Southern California native with 40 soggy friends and family on hand for the game, said he didn’t remember being involved in a game in L.A. at any level that got rained on.
“It’s a rarity,” he said.
But it amounted more to a surreal backdrop to another epic Cubs drama in a week full of them.
It was the Cubs’ third extra-inning game in five days — for a total of 56 innings in that span.
“Those guys end up grinding you out,” Renteria said of his Cubs. “We played a lot of extra-inning ballgames this year. It goes to show you that no matter who their opponents are, they compete.”
The Cubs are 5-8 in extra-inning games this year, including 1-2 in the three this past week.
Until Ramirez’s walk-off homer, six Cub relievers had combined for six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits, all singles, and a walk.
That included long man Carlos Villanueva’s head-scratching appearance with two out in the sixth and a man on third to face light-hitting No. 8 batter Drew Butera, who popped up Villanueva’s first and only pitch of the game.
The Cubs tied it in the top of the seventh. They had two men left in the pen when the game ended.
They put two men on in the 12th against Jamey Wright on singles by Chris Coghlan and Starlin Castro, but Justin Ruggiano struck out to end the threat.
The Cubs scored in the first on Coghlan’s one-out double and Castro’s two-out, run-scoring single.
After Matt Kemp hit his fourth home run in five games — a two-run shot in the fourth — the Cubs tied it in the seventh on Arismendy Alcantara’s two-out double to the wall in right-center that scored Junior Lake from first.
Before this one reached the late-inning Twilight Zone portion of the night, Cubs elder rookie Tsuyoshi Wada made another argument for an extended stay in the rotation.
The former Japanese standout, who had his first two big-league seasons washed out by an elbow injury, pitched two outs into the sixth and looked commanding enough to finish the inning before Renteria yanked him for Villanueva with 103 pitches.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Wada said through a translator. “I knew we were trying to win the game. I respect the decision. My pitch count was high. I would probably have gotten the out, but we were trying to get a win, so [I understand].”
Wada gave up two runs, six hits and two walks (one intentional), lowering his ERA to 3.32 in four starts.
After his first big-league win five days earlier, Wada, 33, was asked how he viewed his potential future with the club.
“It’s not like I’m looking at the big picture right now,” he said then. “It’s just game-by-game and not thinking about too far ahead.”