The Dodgers were fortunate enough to win one of four games at St. Louis, and it took clutch performances by Hong-Chih Kuo and Matt Kemp to get it done.
After losing a 15-inning marathon in Game 3 of the series, Los Angeles held on for a 5-3 win in the finale.
Kuo, a left-handed fireballer, entered the game in the eighth inning with no outs and a runner on first base. After a sac bunt moved the runner to second, Kuo struck out Ryan Ludwick. Then the Dodgers intentionally walked Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday to load the bases with two outs. Kuo then completely undressed left-handed hitter Rick Ankiel with three straight fastballs. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
Kemp was the hero in the top of the 10th, driving in the winning runs with a two-out single to left field.
Dodgers move back to 24 games over .500 and retain their 7-game edge in the NL West.
Kuo is almost always injured (he’s endured about four elbow surgeries). But when he’s healthy, he’s better than almost any relief pitcher in the majors.
He throws almost all fastballs, and even the best hitters have a hard time making contact. His pitches must be really difficult to pick up out of his hand — he has a lot of moving parts in his delivery and slightly unusual release point.
Kuo is one of my favorite Dodgers, even though he hasn’t played much this season. If he stays healthy, Los Angeles has a tremendous 1-2 left-handed relief punch with Kuo and newly acquired George Sherrill.