There have been so many injuries this season for the Dodgers, I am just used to it by now. So when I heard before the game that Dee Gordon will need surgery on his dislocated thumb, and will be out six weeks, it didn’t surprise me. The Dodgers had to place poor Dee on the DL today, who even went into Mattingly’s office and apologized for getting hurt. The kid has a great attitude. Until Gordon gets back, the Dodgers will use a hodge podge rotation of Luis Cruz, Elian Herrera, and Jerry Hairston at shortstop.
Tonight the Dodgers came in riding a two game winning streak, and the Dbacks came in coming off a four game losing streak, and a sweep at the hands of the Padres at home. Arizona has been on the fringe of relevancy all season long, and enters the first game of this four game series at 39-42, third place, six games behind the Dodgers.
Tonight we saw a very satisfactory Dodger win to make us forget about Dee’s injury, and the Boys in Blue have now won three in a row! Tonight we saw Nathan Eovaldi finally staked to an early lead, and hang on to win his first game of the season. Eovaldi wasn’t overwhelming, but good enough to work out of some early jams, and settle down towards the end. He did walk three, but worked out of a bases loaded jam with a nice double play in the second inning. Speaking of double plays, second baseman Mark Ellis returned to the salt mines for the Dodgers, helping the Dodgers turn three double plays, go 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored, and proving why he is so vital to the Dodger’s success in 2012. Scott Van Slyke, and Elian Herrera both hit home runs, (Herrera’s first), and Scott Elbert, Ronald Belisario, and Kenley Jansen closed out the last three innings of the game to give the Dodgers the 4-1 win. Luis Cruz, playing at shortstop for Dee Gordon had another good game collecting two hits, and driving in a run.
Wade Miley begins by whiffing Elian Herrera. Mark Ellis in his first at-bat back from the DL, doubles into the left field corner. Jerry Hairston immediately singles to right, and Ellis moves to third. Juan Rivera follows by smoking a line drive double just inside the left field line to easily score Mark Ellis. The Dodgers lead 1-0. With runners at second and third, Luis Cruz singles to right, to score Jhair. Dodgers now lead 2-0. A.J. Ellis whiffs for the second out. Of course Scott Van out, er I mean Van Slyke pops out to Upton, to end the frame.
Rookie Nathan Eovaldi begins the first inning by getting Gerardo Parra to fly out to Left. Willie Bloomquist grounds out to short. Justin Upton, in the midst of a very mediocre season, taps a little dribbler in front of the plate, and AJ throws him out for the end of one frame.
Miley settles down to retire the Dodgers in order in the top of the second. Tony Gwynn bounces out. Eovaldi whiffs, and Herrera grounds out.
Eovaldi starts the bottom of the second with a walk to Jason Kubel. Of course then Paul Goldschmidt doubles Kubel to third. Miguel Montero walks to load the bases for the guy who has hit two, not one but two cycles. That would be Aaron Hill. Eovaldi gets Hill to ground back to the box into a nice 1-2-3 double play, Eovaldi to AJ, to Loney. Just when we thought Eovaldi might be able to fight his way out of this jam, Stephen Drew just back from injury, gro8nds a single to right, to score Goldschmidt, and the Dodgers lead is cut to 2-1. The opposing pitcher Miley, smacks a line drive to third, and Jhair makes another great diving stop, to throw out Miley, and end the frame, to preserve the Dodger lead. Wow, what a play by Hairston!
Mark Ellis leads off the third with a single. Jhair erases that with a double play, and Rivera grounds out to end the top of the third quickly. Eovaldi starts the bottom of the third by whiffing Parra. Bloomquist flies out to right. Upton reaches on an infield single. Kubel flies out to end the inning.
Both Cruz, and AJ fly out to Upton in the top of the fourth. Big Man Scott Van Slyke, crushes a solo bomb halfway up the left field seats, to extend the Dodgers lead to 3-1. That’s the second home run for Van Slyke, and the Dodgers 47 home run of the season. Gwynn walks, but Eovaldi whiffs, to end the top of the fourth. Goldschmidt leads off the bottom of the fourth, with a check swing whiff. Eovaldi walks Montero. Hill smacks a slicing liner into left field, but Herrera races over to make a fine running catch. Drew flies out to end the frame for Eovaldi.
Miley retires Herrera, and Mark Ellis to start the top of the fifth. Jhair grounds out to make the third out. In the bottom of the fifth, Miley another grounder to Jhair, who makes another nice stop, to throw out the pitcher. Parra singles to right. Eovaldi battles, and gets Bloomquist to hit into an inning ending double play! Dodgers still lead after five innings, by a score of 3-1.
Both pitchers have settled down nicely since their troubles at the beginning of the game. Miley gets Rivera to fly out to begin the top of the sixth. Luis Cruz singles to right, his second hit of the game. AJ lines out to Parra. Van Slyke’s force out, ends the frame.
Upton leads off the sixth inning with single, Eovaldi whiffs Kubel on a called strike three. Then Eovaldi gets yet another double play, as Goldschmidt hits into the third Snake double play of the night. This one was Ellis to Cruz, to Rivera.
Wade Miley remains in the game for the top of the seventh. Gwynn walks. Juan Uribe comes off the bench to pinch-hit for Eovaldi. Nathan goes six innings, allows one run, on five hits, three walks, and three whiffs, on 102 pitches, and comes out with the lead. Uribe who came up barely batting above the Mendoza line, continues his awfulness, and grounds into a double play. However Herrera makes us forget how bad Uribe is if only for a moment, by bopping a solo home run just over the wall in left field. The Dodgers now have a 4-1 lead. Kirk Gibson has seen enough, and hooks Miley. The young pitcher goes 6.1 innings of work, allowing four runs, eight hits, two walks, and four whiffs. Righty side-armer Brad Ziegler comes into to take over for Miley, and walks Mark Ellis. Jhair whiffs though, to end things in the top of the seventh, but the Dodgers now lead 4-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the books closed on Eovaldi, Scott Elbert comes in to relieve, and pitches a nice scoreless 123 frame. Herrera makes another nice running catch on a slicing liner from Montero. Hill whiffs, and Drew grounds out. Ziegler retires Rivera and Cruz quickly in the top of the eighth. AJ grounds out, and we go to the bottom of the eighth. Ronald Belisario, the Dodger’s set-up man extraordinaire, comes in with a 0.99 ERA. Belisario, gets Bloomquist, and Roberts to ground out, and Parra to whiffs for a 123 bottom of the eighth inning.
Craig Breslow pitches the top of the ninth, allowing a single to Loney but that’s it. Kenley Jansen comes in to close shop for the Dodgers. Move to the bottom of the ninth. Jansen comes in and makes quick order of the snakes. Upton, Kubel, and Goldschmidt all whiff to end the game, and the Dodgers win 4-1!
With the Giants loss at Washington today, the Dodgers gain a game, and extend their division lead to a game and half over the Giants, and seven games over the Dbacks. Join us tomorrow for game two in the desert, as Clayton Kershaw draws Josh Collmenter. Great game tonight guys! Finally we get Eovaldi some runs. Remember this was the site of Eovaldi’s first ML win last season. Everything comes full circle for Nathan, as his first win of the 2012 season is also in Arizona. Go Blue.
Topics: A.J. Ellis, Andre Ethier, Dodgers, Don Mattingly, Elian Herrera, James Loney, Jerry Hairston Jr., Juan Rivera, Kenley Jansen, Luis Cruz, Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, Nathan Eovaldi, Ronald Belisario, Scott Elbert, Scott Van Slyke, Tony Gwynn Jr.