In a sense, too much is being asked of A.J. Ellis and Dee Gordon this year. Neither has held a full-time job in baseball before this year, and yet one is the team’s leadoff hitter and infield anchor, the other is quite possibly expected to deliver the team’s best on-base percentage.
But each player had a whale of a game in tonight’s 6-5 Dodger victory that elevated the team to 3-0. Ellis homered, walked twice and singled in the 11th before scoring a go-ahead run that was driven in by Gordon, who recovered from his slow offensive start in the Dodgers’ first two games to go 3 for 4 with two walks and three steals.
The heroics lifted the Dodgers on a night that they surrendered a 5-0 lead to a five-run Padres fifth inning that featured two singles, a hit batter, a wild pitch and five walks, including four in a row with two out. Chris Capuano, who had been pitching decently to that point, faltered by walking three after a one-out single. Jamey Wright relieved and threw eight straight balls for two more runs, and then Scott Elbert wild-pitched a fourth run in, hit a batter and gave up the game-tying single.
However, Mike MacDougal, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen (pitching two innings), Todd Coffey and closer Javy Guerra held San Diego scoreless on four baserunners over the final six innings, enough time for Ellis and Gordon to deliver once more.
The Dodgers had taken a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Matt Kemp drove in Gordon with a sacrifice fly, boosted it to 4-0 when the Roadrunner crossed the plate on Kemp’s RBI single and Andre Ethier doubled in Mark Ellis and Kemp, and then made it 5-0 on Ellis’ fourth-inning home run.
Early season OPS: A.J. Ellis 1.205, Kemp 1.198, Ethier 1.021, Juan Rivera .955, Gordon .732, Mark Ellis .670, James Loney .111, Juan Uribe .111.