Dodgers Live to See Anther Day Thanks to Andre Ethier’s 20th Homerun and Elian Herrera’s Walk-Off Heroics

Dodgers 3 9 0

Giants 2 6 0

WP- League (2-6)

LP- Casilla (7-6)

HR- Ethier (20)

 

The Dodgers win 6 games in a row in their quest for the Wild Card. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals beat the Reds 4-2 in St. Louis tonight, thus decreasing their magic number to just one game. That meant the Dodgers would have to win against their arch rivals in order to stave off elimination tonight. The Giants took an early first inning lead off a Buster Posey RBI double. The Dodgers would claw their way back into the game after Andre Ethier smashed his 20th homerun of the season, a two-run shot, in the fourth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Aaron Harang pitched a solid six innings, and he only allowed a mere 2 hits. The Giants come back to tie the game up in the eighth inning after Kenley Jansen surrendered a RBI single to pesky Marco Scutaro. The Dodgers weren’t going to give up that easily. After Brandon League pitched a scoreless ninth inning, the Boys in Blue clawed and scratched their way to a walk-off win thanks to the heroics of Elian Herrera whose single cashed in the winning run. There’s nothing sweeter than a walk-off win against the Giants!

Angel Pagan makes the first out of the game with a fly ball to left field. Aaron Harang walks Marco Scutaro. Pablo Sandoval pops out after two pitches. Then Buster Posey predictably hits a double over Shane Victorino‘s head, and the Giants immediately take a 1-0 lead as Scutaro crosses home plate. Hunter Pence strikes out swinging, but the Giants strike first.

 

Matt Cain pitches an abbreviated game so he is fully rested for game one of the Division Series. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Matt Cain, a 16-game winner, goes to work in the home half of the first inning. Mark Ellis grounds out to short. Andre Ethier hits a line drive right to Brandon Crawford. Matt Kemp strikes out looking to end the inning.

The Giants are retired without scoring even though Harang walks another batter-Brandon Belt.  Xavier Nady grounds into a double play. Crawford flies out.

Adrian Gonzalez leads off the bottom of the second with a single, and he has now extended his hitting streak to 13 games. That’s the longest hitting streak by a Dodger this season. Remember, last season Andre Ethier had a 30-game hitting streak. Hanley Ramirez flies out. Victorino grounds into a double play to end the inning.

Aaron Harang pitches a 1-2-3 inning in the third. Matt Cain, Angel Pagan, and Marco Scutaro are retired in order.

The Dodgers are also sent down in order in their half of the third inning. Luis Cruz, A.J. Ellis, and Aaron Harang all ground out consecutively.

There are more groundouts in the fourth inning as Panda, Posey, and Pence all kill worms versus Harang.

 

Andre Ethier’s 20th homerun gives the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Ellis singles on a line drive to Angel Pagan who makes a diving attempt, but he traps the ball. Then Captain Clutch comes up and wallops his 20th homerun of the season to center field! The two-run homerun gives the Dodgers the lead! Matt Kemp strikes out swinging for the first out. Gonzo grounds out. Hanley grounds out to end the inning, but the Dodgers strike back.

Aaron Harang only allows a two-out single to Brandon Crawford for a scoreless fifth.

Shane Victorino leads off the bottom of the fifth with a double to the left field corner. Luis Cruz grounds out. A.J. Ellis does what he does best and draws a walk. The catcher leads the team with 63 walks. Aaron Harang executes a successful sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. Mark Ellis cracks his bat on a little hopper to first, and the Dodgers strand both runners.

Pagan and Scutaro fly out, and Sandoval grounds out in the sixth inning.

Tim Wallach foolishly waves Adrian Gonzalez home on a shallow single to left field hit by Shane Victorino. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

 

Jose Mijares, a lefty, will take over in relief for Matt Cain. Since the Giants have already clinched the division, Matt Cain was on a 75 pitch count to rest him for the NL Division Series. Adrian Gonzalez doubles to center field with two outs. That’s Gonzo’s 47th double of the season. The Giants intentionally walk Hanley Ramirez. For some reason Tim Wallach waves Gonzalez home on a shallow single to left field by Shane Victorino. Xavier Nady has no problem throwing out Gonzalez with plenty of time at home, and the Dodgers squander the inning away. Buster Posey, who has been instructed not to block the plate, easily tags out the sliding Gonzalez from the side of the plate.

Matt Cain pitched 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts on 68 pitches.

 

Aaron Harang pitched 6 innings, allowing 1 run on just 2 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts on 91 pitches.

Aaron Harang only allowed 1 run on 2 hits over 6 solid innings of work. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

 

Ronald Belisario is in for the seventh inning, and he quickly disposes of Buster Posey on three called strikes. Pence grounds out, but Belt singles for just the third San Francisco hit of the evening. With Nady at the plate, Belt steals second. Belisario walks Nady. Don Mattingly knows there is no wiggle room, but he goes out to the mound to talk to Beli instead of hooking him. With the season on the line, the comeback kid Belisario, rears back and strikes out Brandon Crawford to end the threat and the inning!

Guillermo Mota, the former Dodger, will pitch the bottom of the seventh for San Francisco. A.J. Ellis is hit by the pitch after going 3-2 with one out. Bruce Bochy will make a double switch. Gregor Blanco will go into left field, and Jeremy Affeldt will come into pitch to pinch-hitter Juan Rivera. Rivera flies out to right. Mark Ellis also flies out to right to end the frame.

Kenley Jansen will pitch the eighth inning for the Dodgers. Jansen whiffs Blanco for the first out. Angel Pagan doubles to right field, and the Giants have the tying run at second. That’s the first hit Kenley has allowed since he returned from suffering an irregular heartbeat. Marco Scutaro singles to left, and Pagan brings in the tying run. Victorino’s nonsensical throw to the plate also allows Scutaro to go to second. Pablo Sandoval chases a ball high out of the zone, and he goes down on strikes. Buster Posey hits a little dribbler between the mound and third, and Jansen lobs a bouncing throw over to Gonzalez who luckily picks it out of the dirt in time.

Andre Ethier grounds out to second on the first pitch in the bottom of the eighth. Kemp grounds out to short while breaking his bat. Affeldt strikes out Gonzalez, and the Dodgers go down quickly in order.

 

A.J. is not having none of that, Burriss! Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Brandon League will pitch the top of the ninth inning. Hunter Pence strikes out. Belt hits a line drive which is backhanded by Cruz for the out. Aubrey Huff singles to right, and pinch-runner Emmanuel Burriss is promptly thrown out by A.J. trying to steal second!

Santiago Casilla is in for the bottom of the ninth for the pumpkin-colored foes. Hanley Ramirez singles up the middle to start things off, and the winning run is aboard. Victorino sacrifices Hanley to second. Luis Cochito Cruz comes up big, and he delivers a one-hop single to left field. The Dodgers now have runners at first and third with one out with A.J. coming up. A.J. Ellis is intentionally walked to load the bases up for Elian Herrera. We scoffed after we learned that Donnie had double switched Ethier out of the game for Elian Herrera, but the stars were aligned tonight. Elian would come up to the plate with the season on the line, and a baseball miracle occurred…Elian’s line drive is deflected off the glove of Marco Scutaro (karma for his tying hit in the eighth), and the base hit brings in the winning walk-off run!

The Dodgers are still alive! They improve to 85-75 on the season, but remain two games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. With two games remaining, the Dodgers must win the next two and the Red Birds must lose their final two for the Dodgers to force a tiebreaker game. The Dodgers have now won six games in a row.

Like I said during the game, no matter what happens I am proud to be a Dodger fan!

Tomorrow game two will feature Chris Capuano‘s last start of the season. The Giants will counter with Barry Zito in the 7:10 pm game.

Topics: Aaron Harang, Andre Ethier, Elian Herrera, Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Cain

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