[mlbvideo id=”36045181″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman
For the first five innings, the Dodgers were being no-hit. Before the next two innings were over, Oliver Perez was throwing at Andre Ethier (one might have concluded) because the Dodgers were hitting too many home runs.
There were three homers in all, two of them three-run blasts in back-to-back innings by Adrian Gonzalez, who became the first Dodger since Eric Karros in 1993 to hit two trifecta round-trippers. (Cody Ross, a Dodger opponent today, had a three-run home run and a grand slam for Los Angeles in 2006, in his final start with the team).
[mlbvideo id=”36046513″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
Fortunes change, don’t ya know? It’s all about piling up more good than bad. And that is what the Dodgers have done in 2014.
Saturday, I interviewed Dodger general manager Ned Colletti for the print edition of Dodger Insider, and I asked him if there had been a defining moment for the 2014 Dodgers. He didn’t immediately see one, acknowledging at least so far that this year, the team was more methodical than dramatic. That lack of drama has come to be considered a strike against the Dodgers, as if the pennant race were a beauty contest rather than a measurement of which team has the most victories at the end of season.
Today, the Dodgers moved 19 games about .500, tied with Washington for the best in the National League.
But those insisting on an observable spark certainly have to like what they saw from the Dodgers this afternoon, when, after waiting until the sixth inning to gather kindling, they lit a fire. Dee Gordon broke up Trevor Cahill’s no-hitter with a one-out double, Hanley Ramirez walked, and Gonzalez absolutely smashed a ball over the fence in to dead center.
Though this won’t qualify as a late-inning clutch hit, it was a huge one, and comes a day after Gordon’s tiebreaking RBI single in the bottom of the eighth Saturday. Yes, Virginia, this team does come through.
An inning later, it was the same trio. Perez walked Gordon, then Ramirez reached base on an error by shortstop Cliff Pennington. Gonzalez hit his third home run of the past 21 hours and second homer of the year off a lefty, giving him his seventh 100-RBI season of his career and matching his 2013 total as a Dodger. And then for good measure, Matt Kemp hit his 19th of the year. (This article seems timely.)
Perez then smacked Ethier in the back (making him the Dodgers’ all-time leader in HBPs with 53), and when umpire Laz Diaz warned both benches, that didn’t sit well with Don Mattingly and Monday’s starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, both of whom were ejected. Thankfully, Kershaw isn’t pitching against Arizona again this year, which saves us the worry about him retaliating and getting thrown out himself.
[mlbvideo id=”36046593″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
Since August 29, San Francisco has won six of its past eight games. If the Giants don’t win tonight in Detroit, they’ll have gained no ground on the Dodgers in that stretch.