A pinch-hit homerun is one of the most exciting types. Back on August 14th, the Dodgers finished off their homestand in the same fashion to which they had begun it- with an exhilarating comeback victory. Before collecting their eighth consecutive victory thanks to a walk-off double by Adrian Gonzalez which scored Yasiel Puig in the 12th inning, the heroics of Andre Ethier in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-run pinch-hit blast off of veteran LaTroy Hawkins evened the score and led to extra innings that night at Chavez Ravine.
8. Andre Ethier ties game 2-2 versus Mets in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-run pinch-hit homerun Wednesday, August 14, 2013
It was no coincidence that August 14th was Magic Johnson’s birthday as the Dodgers walked-off in the bottom of the twelfth inning in magical style to defeat the Mets 3-2 for their eighth win in a row. Andre Ethier was not in the starting lineup for the second game in a row due to a left calf issue that had been plaguing him for over a week. In fact, Ethier was rushed to a local hospital before Tuesday’s game after the medical staff feared he may have a blood clot. They weren’t taking any chances after Mark Ellis nearly lost his leg the season prior. Luckily there was no blood clot in Ethier’s leg, and the outfielder was able to pinch-hit in Wednesday’s game. Dre had not homered since July 23rd at Rogers Centre in Toronto. His pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth inning followed a lead-off single by Mark Ellis and a groundout by Jerry Hairston Jr. Ethier pinch-hit for Tim Federowicz and proceeded to hit his eighth homerun of the season to the opposite field, a truly remarkable feat during the night game at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers tied up the game at two apiece thanks to Dre’s pinch-hit homerun, and it set up the twelfth inning magic which included a double by Puig and a walk-off winning double by Adrian Gonzalez. Andre Ethier is no stranger to clutch hitting, but this pinch-hit homerun gave Dodger fans a memorable moment which harkened them back to the days of Ethier as Captain Clutch.
“It’s on par for what’s going on with this team,” Ethier said. “It’s not the same hero every night. It’s someone different stepping up when they’re name is called. It’s a nice sign.”
Andre Ethier would go on to hit 12 homeruns for the Dodgers in 2013, and he would play 74 games in center field while filling in for the disabled Matt Kemp. Unfortunately Ethier’s leg issue caused him to be hobbled for most of the postseason, but Ethier’s admirable defense in center field really helped the Dodgers succeed in spite of them not having a true center fielder for most of the season. Andre Ethier’s pinch-hit homerun helped propel the team to win their 40th of their last 48 games which was good for the best 48-game run in Major League Baseball in 71 years.