LOS ANGELES -- The D-backs talked a lot about how 2010 was going to be different than 2009. Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, their words translated into action as they outfought the Dodgers for a 9-7 win in 11 innings. Dodger Stadium has not been a very hospitable place for the D-backs, who had dropped 13 of their last 19 games in Chavez Ravine, with more than a couple coming in heartbreaking fashion.
Wednesday, though, they prevailed in a game in which they allowed the lead to slip away twice, including once in the ninth inning. Now, with their ace Dan Haren on the mound Thursday, they have a chance to grab the series. "That was quite a game and a big boost for us to be able to win that," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "For us to be able to battle back, it's a big win for us. They made us work really, really hard as a pitching staff and they put pressure on our defense and we answered the bell. That's a good sign for us." The game, which featured five lead changes, took 11 innings, 4 hours and 57 minutes, and the two teams combined to use 16 pitchers and 41 players overall. It looked as though the D-backs were going to win it much earlier when they took a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth with closer Chad Qualls on the mound. Instead, Manny Ramirez led off the frame with a double to right-center, and one out later Jamey Carroll, who ran for Ramirez, scored to tie the game when Casey Blake doubled off the center-field wall. Chris Young almost wound up making an amazing catch of Blake's ball, but he just missed it before slamming into the wall. "That's a play that I want to make, but I didn't," Young said. "He hit the ball good and I was playing in the right-center-field gap so I wasn't able to get my footing where I wanted to as far as catching the ball. I was upset with that." In the 11th, the Dodgers were down to their final reliever, former D-back Russ Ortiz. With one out and runners on first and second, the D-backs caught a break when center fielder Matt Kemp broke back on Mark Reynolds' shallow fly. Because of the misstep, Kemp was unable to come up with the ball, which loaded the bases for Young. "You're just trying to make something happen," Young said. "I mean, it was a great situation for me. If I get a deep fly ball, the run can get in or a base hit so I was just trying to get something that I could put the barrel to. If anyone wanted to put 2009 behind them, it was Young, who struggled mightily at the plate last year. Undeterred, he spent the offseason shuttling between a hitting coach, strength coach and track coach. From Day 1 of Spring Training, he has made sure there was no carryover. "He's been doing it the entire season so far, being able to slow the game down when it matters the most and deliver," Hinch said. Young flared an Ortiz pitch into left to score Stephen Drew, and Augie Ojeda followed with a sacrifice fly to give the D-backs the 9-7 lead. "Russ had a little more sink than I expected him to have and I ended up getting jammed and got the base hit," Young said. Leo Rosales shut the door in the 11th to earn the win. "I think that game was pretty important because with Danny going tomorrow, I think we have a pretty good chance to take the series from them," Rosales said. It was Rosales' second inning of relief as he fights to hang onto his roster spot -- the D-backs will need to move a reliever off their roster Saturday to make room for that day's starting pitcher, who will be coming up from Triple-A Reno. Certainly, Rosales only helped his chances with his performance. "Leo was great," Hinch said. "He came in when we needed him. He has a knack for being able to respond in games like this. He executed. It was a good ending for Leo and the club." The Dodgers held leads of 3-0 and 5-3, but each time the D-backs managed to rally. "It was great overall," Young said. "The offense continued to push. Every time you thought that we were going to fold and the Dodgers got the game, we would come back again. Literally everyone in the lineup contributed to the win tonight. It shows a lot about our offense and the things that I think we can do this year."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.