The Legend of A.J. Ellis Continues: Dodgers 4, Giants 1

A.J. Ellis has a way of coming through when the Dodgers need him the most the last two seasons. Sunday afternoon, his two out bases-clearing double into the left-center field gap in the ninth was the deciding factor in the game. The Dodgers went on to win 4-1, the margin decided by Ellis’s double. (Image source: http://l1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/B3pQ8HdpL2PU_8RgnO6a1w–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ–/http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/sptusmlbexperts/ajellis1030.jpg)

The Dodgers took the rubber game of their three game weekend set with the San Francisco Giants and now find themselves alone in second place, 4 1/2 games behind the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, 4 losses behind in the loss column, and with a three game series in Phoenix coming up to conclude this nine game road trip.

Clayton Kershaw did not necessarily appear to have his best stuff today, but gutted out an 8 inning, one run, three hit performance, allowing one walk and striking out only three batters.  Kershaw always seemed to get outs when he needed them, however, and got just enough offensive support to get credit for the win today.

The Dodgers started their scoring in the second inning.  Hanley Ramirez tripled, then Andre Ethier’s single plated Ramirez to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead off Giants starter Chad Gaudin.

The Giants countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the third.  A Guillermo Quiroz double coupled with a Kershaw wild pitch enabled Andres Torres to bring home the tying run on a sacrifice fly, evening the score at one.

The game remained deadlocked through the middle innings.  Kershaw ran into some trouble in the seventh, but managed to pitch out of it.  In the eighth, Yasiel Puig took extra bases away from Quiroz with a sensational diving catch.  Kershaw finished up the inning and came off the mound with a chance to win.

The top of the ninth brought on yesterday’s save recipient Sergio Romo to try to keep the game tied and give the Giants a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth.  However, it was not to be.  Puig led off with a hard single to left that he accentuated with a bat flip.  A hard ground ball by Adrian Gonzalez resulted in a mis-play by Buster Posey, playing first base.  A wild throw by Scutaro to short exploited an infield put in an awkward position by the ground ball to the right side.  As Sandoval went out to retrieve Scutaro’s throw, Puig raced to an unoccupied third base, giving the Dodgers first and third with nobody out.  A short grounder by Hanley Ramirez put runners on second and third with one out.  Andre Ethier followed with a walk.  Juan Uribe struck out to bring up A.J. Ellis with the bases loaded and two outs.

Romo, who had drawn the ire of Dodger fans and players by mocking Hanley Ramirez’s “I See You” gesture after closing out Saturday’s 4-2 Giants victory, hung a slider that Ellis took to the deepest part of the ballpark.  By the time the ball got back to the infield, Ellis was standing on second base and Puig, Gonzalez and Ethier had all scored, with Ethier leaping into the air enthusiastically as he crossed the plate.

Kenley Jansen gave up a single to Buster Posey with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but then struck out Hunter Pence to end the game.

Clayton Kershaw picks up the win, improving his record to 8-5 to go with a 1.83 ERA.  Sergio Romo picks up the loss, his record falling to 3-4 to go with a 3.03 ERA.  Giants’ starter Chad Gaudin, who got a no decision, pitched well, giving up only four hits and one run in seven innings while striking out nine Dodgers.  Kenley Jansen picks up his ninth save of the season.

The Dodgers pick up and head to the desert for tomorrow night’s game.  Zack Greinke (6-2, 4.30 ERA) will take the mound against Randall Delgado (1-2, 3.67 ERA) with a 6:40 p.m. Pacific scheduled start time from Chase Field in Phoenix.

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