It was both a wonderful and frustrating day for the Dodgers. It was wonderful because it saw the return of Vin Scully to the broadcast booth, fully recovered from the flu bug that sidelined him for the entire home-stand. It was also Jackie Robinson day all across MLB. All day today, all players and on-field personal will wear Jackie’s number 42. Most team’s will have special ceremonies at their respective ballparks. The Dodgers wore Brooklyn hats during the game in honor of Jackie. As we celebrate the life and times of Baseball and civil rights pioneer and hero Jackie Robinson, the Dodgers were being thoroughly frustrated by the lowly Padres. It was an up and down day for the Dodgers, especially for Dee Gordon. Kershaw didn’t have it, the bullpen was shaky, and Dee Gordon was having an awful game. He made several defensive mistakes, and looked over-matched at the plate, but after all that redeemed himself with a walk-off single to left, as the Dodgers beat the Padres again 5-4. The Dodgers are now an MLB best 9-1, and are off to their best start since 1981. Oh and by the way, the Dodgers turned a triple play on a bunt in the ninth inning! Keep on reading to find out. Both team’s wasted scoring opportunities all day, leaving runners stranded in almost every inning. In the end, Kershaw struggled, and just didn’t have it today.
Maybin leads off by hitting a shallow fly ball to Matt Kemp. Kershaw retires Denorfia on a ground out to short. Chase Headley who is hitting .330 at Dodger Stadium, gets a cracked bat double over a leaping Uirbe’s head and down the left field line. Kershaw gets ahead of Jesus Guzman 1-2, then whiffs him to end the top of the first.
Dee Gordon begins the bottom of the first by bunting for a single. Gordon again uses his electrifying speed to fluster opposing pitchers and defenses. He easily steals his sixth base of the season. Ellis walks. Bison hits a slow roller to the hole between first and second. Guzman comes off the bag to dive to his right and stop it, but his throw to first from the ground, is way off line, and Bison beats it out. Everyone is safe, bases loaded. Volquez who has a history of control issues, falls behind to Andre Ethier 3-1. Dre hits a one hop smash to the hole at first, Guzman makes a nice leaping stop, and throws to second to get the force. Gordon scores on the play though, 1-0 Dodgers. Juan Rivera slices a line drive down the right field line, and Will Venable makes an all out full extension diving catch. However Mark Ellis scores from third, on the Sac fly, and the Dodgers lead it 2-0. Loney ends the inning by popping out. For once San Diego’s defense prevents more Dodger scorage from happening, but despite that the Dodgers score two.
Nick Hundley who is 0 for 21, leads off with a line drive off of Uribe’s glove that bounces over his head and into foul ground. It is ruled a hit, Hundley’s first of the season. Seemed like Uribe would normally have that. Venable singles. Kershaw gets Andy Parrino to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Two outs. O-Dawg grounds out to Ellis, and the Dodgers get out of the jam. Phew!
Uribe leads off the bottom of the second with a double to the wall in left field. A.J. Ellis walks. Kershaw bunts the runners over to second and third. Gordon’s weak grounder is handled by Guzman, and he easily throws out Uribe who foolishly tries to score on this play. Two outs. I should give Uribe a TOOTBLAN on that play. As the count goes to 0-2 on Mark Ellis, Gordon steals his second base of the game. However Ellis whiffs, and the inning ends.
Volquez whiffs to lead off the top of the third. Maybin hits a slow roller to short that Gordon Ole’s as the ball takes a weird hop and rolls under his glove, for an error. This error comes back to haunt the Dodgers as Chris Denorfia doubles down into the left field corner, Maybin scores just ahead of the throw, and the Dodger’s lead is cut to one 2-1. Headley fouls out to Loney. Kershaw goes full count to Guzman, before he whiffs him on a check swing called third strike. Thanks Ump, we will take it.
Bison leads off the bottom of the third and homers again into the right field pavilion. Another opposite field jack for Bison. This is his sixth home run of the season, and as he rounds the bases, the crowd begins to chant MVP-MVP-MVP! He is the greatest player in the National League. Dre follows with a double into the gap. Rivera doubes as well, down the right field line scoring Dre as Venable bobbles the ball. Dodgers lead 4-1. Loney pops out, Uribe grounds out to third. The Padres intentionally walk A.J. Ellis to go after Kershaw. Just a reminder that A.J. Ellis now leads the Dodgers in walks, and that should add another folk lore to the A.J. Ellis facts tumbler page. http://ajellisfacts.tumblr.com/ As soon as Kershaw steps to the plate though, the Dodgers try to pull off some cockeyed double steal that fails miserably. Ellis and Rivera are both hung out to dry, and it is Rivera that is tagged out between third and home as Kershaw stands at the plate.
Top of the fourth, and Kershaw still trying to get his rhythm back. Hundley grounds out to Uribe. Venable hits a line drive off of Kershaw’s shoe, that deflects into no-man’s land, and Venable is safe on the infield single. Parrino’s ground ball single to left, puts runners at first and second with one out. Kershaw battles out of it, by getting O-dawg to ground into a 5-3 double play. Uribe steps on the bag at third and throws to Loney at first for the inning ending double play.
Bottom of the fourth. Kershaw whiffs, Gordon grounds out to short, on a nice play by Parrino to get Gordon. Ellis hits a soft grounder to third that bounces off of Headley’s mitt. This brings up Bison with a man on. Foolish Padres. This time Volquez is extra careful and once Bison works the count full, he draws a walk. Dre comes up with two on, but lines out to left. 4-1 Dodgers after four.
Volquez leads off the fifth inning by grounding out to Gordon. Maybin pops out. Denorfia reaches base when Gordon butchures another easy grounder. Denorfia reaches second base on a double. Kershaw gets out of the inning by getting Headley to softly ground out back to the box.
Bottom of the fifth. Rivera grounds out to short. Loney walks. That is the fifth walk for Volquez. Uribe hits into a force play. Ellis pops out.
Jesus Guzman walks to start the top of the sixth. This is Kershaw’s first walk of the game. Hundley walks. Kershaw is laboring. The Dodgers have a meeting on the mound with Rick Honeycutt to try and help figure out what’s wrong with Kershaw. After the mound visit, Venable sacrifices the runners over to second and third. Kershaw walks Parrino, for his third walk of the inning. O-dawg hits a gounder to short and again Dee completely bumbles this ground ball and it bounces into left field. Everyone moves up 90 feet, and the lead is now 4-2.
Finally Mattingly hooks Kershaw and calls in Josh Lindblom. Kershaw just didn’t have his best stuff today. Of course Don Mattingly only makes pitching changes with the bases loaded putting added pressure on whomever he brings in. Again Mattingly doesn’t fully understand how to properly manage a bullpen, or pitching staff. However give him enough time and he will learn. Kershaw made 21 pitches in the inning. Kershaw’s final line is 5.1 innings, allowing four runs, three were earned. Eight hits, three walks and three whiffs. Kershaw picks up his third straight no-decision.
Jeremy Hermida pinch-hits for Volquez and singles in two runs, to tie the game at 4-4. There goes the lead. Lindblom whiffs Maybin, but walks Denorfia, before Headley grounds out to finally end the inning from hell.
Ernesto Frieri comes in to pitch the bottom of the sixth. Tony Gywnn bats for Lindblom’s spot and whiffs pathetically. Gordon whiffs. Frieri almost takes Ellis’s head off and accidentally hits him with a pitch. Bison lines a single off the mound, and into no-man’s land. Everyone is safe, first and second with two outs for Dre. San Diego makes a pitching change and brings in lefty Joe Thatcher to pitch to Ethier. Unfortunately he whiffs Ethier on a swinging breaking ball.
Guerrier on to pitch the eighth. He whiffs Guzman to start the frame, then walks Nick Hundley. Venable walks. Parrino grounds out back to Guerrier, and the top of the seventh inning is relatively painless.
Luke Gregerson enters to pitch the bottom of the seventh. Rivera pops out to first. Loney walks. Uribe singles up the middle, sending Loney to second. A.J. Ellis whiffs on a 1-2 pitch. With two outs, Adam Kennedy comes off the bench to pinch-hit for the pitcher’s spot. Kennedy draws a clutch full count walk to load the bases for Dee Gordon. Dee slaps several foul balls down both lines that land just inches from being fair. Gordon ends up whiffing on a breaking ball in the dirt. Sigh.
Jansen comes in for the eighth. O-dawg pops out. Hermida pops out to shallow center, Gordon comes out and almost collides with Bison but makes a nice running catch. Maybin’s sinking liner is caught on the shoe-tops by Ethier.
Move to the bottom of the eighth. San Diego brings in fireballer Andrew Cashner who throws upwards of 100MPH. Mark Ellis leads off with a single up the middle. Bison hits a sharp grounder up the middle, but right at Hudson, who only has to step on the bag and then throw to first for a double play. A very strange double play. Just bad luck I guess. Ethier grounds out to end the frame.
Top of the ninth. The score is Still tied at 4-4. Mattingly brings in Javy Guerra. Yonder Alonso leads off and singles. Headley walks. We are in trouble. Then one of the weirdest plays happens I have ever seen. The Padres bunted into a triple play by accident. No I am serious. Don’t believe me? Here Is how it happened. Jesus Guzman squared to bunt, Guerra’s pitch was inside and high. Guzman tried to get out of the way of the pitch and pull his bat back, but as he pulled it back, he was too late and the ball hit the bat and landed a couple of feet in front of the plate. The home plate ump looked like he had signaled foul by putting his hands up in the air, was actually trying to get out of the way, then signaled fair. It looked like the ball rolled back into fair territory, and A.J. Ellis didn’t wait, he makes a quick throw to third, then Uribe throws to second, and then back to Loney at first, it is a triple play! It was a great play by A.J. Ellis, who later said during the postgame interview that he heard the ball hit the bat before rolling fair. Guzman was confused and didn’t run to first. A Very heads up play by Ellis! There is some confusion on the field, San Diego manager Bud Black comes out to argue and is eventually tossed out of the game. With that, the Dodgers are out of an inning that was not looking good. It is just your standard 2-5-6-3 triple play. WOW. You have to see this play in order to believe it.
Now that is some Blue Magic!
Bottom of the ninth, and San Diego brings in reliever Brad Brach. Rivera walks. Loney bloops a single into shallow left. Two on nobody out. Uribe sacrifice bunts the runners to second and third. San Diego intentionally walks A.J. Ellis to try and setup a double play, or force out. Bases loaded. Jerry Hairston comes up to pinch-hit for Guerra. He works the count to 3-2, and with the crowd in a frenzy, pops out. Two outs, and it’s up to Dee Gordon. With the count 0-2, Dee channels his inner Jackie Robinson by slapping a clean single into left field, and the Dodgers win it 5-4! Everyone mobs Dee, as the I love LA song blares over the PA system at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers sweep the home-stand! Dee Gordon’s Walk-off Hit
What an amazing home-stand. The Padres continue to find new and embarrassing ways to lose. I am loving the MLB schedule makers this season. The Dodgers have now won six in a row. They will travel to Milwaukee for a three game set starting on Tuesday. Game time at 505PM. Billingsley vs. Gallardo. Excuse me while I kiss the sky! Have fun looking at our rear ends NL West. Get used to it. Go Blue.