It was the club's major-league-leading 19th walkoff and the 11th time this season. For Ethier it was his eighth time he has won a game in the final inning since the start of the 2008 season and the third time this year he has used a home run following a June 6 shot against the Phillies and a June 29th long ball against the Rockies.
The big hit came after Ethier and Manny Ramirez had left two on in the seventh and Kemp left runners at second and third in the eighth.
Ethier, who leads the Dodgers with 23 homers and 72 RBIs, said, “They never get old. It’s always jaw-dropping once you see it either land or go over the fence.”
Manager Joe Torre added, “He’s been incredible in that situation. This kid hasn’t really played a lot of major league baseball. And to just have that kind of calm in those situations is pretty special.”
Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre had singled back-to-back in the ninth before Ethier launched his game-winning rocket.
The recipient of the dramatic hit was rookie Scott Elbert, who had struck out Brian McCann in the ninth inning with a runner on first.
Starter Randy Wolf had allowed nine hits and four runs through seven innings. Hong-Chih Kuo added a scoreless eighth and Guillermo Mota retired the first two in the ninth.
Atlanta scored twice in the second inning before the Dodgers got on the scoreboard in the third on Ramirez's RBI single that scored Ethier. Wolf walked in a run in the fourth and the Dodgers countered when Pierre's sac fly scored Orlando Hudson in the bottom of the inning after Hudson had legged out the 1,000th hit of his career. Wolf gave up his final run on a Chipper Jones' home run in the seventh.
The winning hit snatched away Derek Lowe's 11th win of the year. He had worked 6.1 innings against his former team and left the game with a 3-2 lead. He was three outs away from beating the Dodgers for the second time in six days after his 4-3 victory in Atlanta.
Wolf pitched finished the evening with another no-decision, his 13th in 24 starts. "This is probably by far the best stuff I've had all year, so it adds to my frustration as far as personally because today I felt great," Wolf said. "I definitely felt like I was better than giving up four runs in seven."
Wolf had singled in the fourth and then surprised Atlanta by stealing second base in the fourth inning. The steal was Wolf's first of his career, and the first steal by a Dodgers' pitcher since Lowe himself did it in 2006.
"I knew I could take that base and gambled on it," Wolf said. "It's my first one of my career. It only took me over 10 years to do it. But it was fun to do it, never stealing a base before. I know I'm right behind Rickey Henderson now."
Colorado lost to the Phillies and the Giants were not scheduled, so Los Angeles gained ground on both of their closest opponents.
In the second game of the four game set, RHP Chad Billingsley (11-6, 3.82 ERA) will be gunning for his 12th win of the season. A cramp in the fifth inning of his last start ended his evening but he had allowed only two hits and struck out nine while he was on the mound.
?He will face RHP Jair Jurrjens (9-8, 2.85 ERA) who allowed the Dodgers four runs in five innings in his previous start, allowing a pair of singles and Matt Kemp's three-run homer to break a scoreless tie.
Score by Innings
Los Angeles 020 100 100-4
Los Angeles 001 100 003-5
Los Angeles ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss 5 1 2 0 .268
Ethier rf 5 2 2 3 .274
Ramirez lf 4 0 2 1 .313
Blake 3b 3 0 1 0 .287
Loney 1b 3 0 0 0 .289
Martin c 4 0 1 0 .266
Hudson 2b 3 1 1 0 .292
Loretta ph 1 0 1 0 .136
Kuo p 0 0 0 0 .000
Kemp ph 1 0 0 0 .319
Mota p 0 0 0 0 .500
Elbert p 0 0 0 0 .200
Pierre cf 3 1 1 1 .314
Totals 33 5 12 5
Atlanta 35 4 10 4
2B- Blake (24). 3B- Ethier (2).
HR- Ethier (23). RBI- Ramirez (41),
Pierre (26), Ethier 3 (72). S- Wolf.
SF- Pierre. LOB- Los Angeles 9, Atlanta
9. SB- Blake (3), Wolf (1). DP- Furcal
Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era
Wolf 7.0 9 4-4 3 4 3.55
Kuo 1.0 1 0-0 0 2 3.27
Mota 0.2 0 0-0 1 0 3.02
Elbert (2-0) 0.1 0 0-0 0 1 3.77
T- 3:13. Att- 46,369.
Dodger Blue Notes
-- Guillermo Mota was fined by Major League Baseball for hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch and Fielder was also fined to attempting to go into the Dodgers clubhouse after the game to confront Mota. Both players avoided suspensions. Mota said that he considers Fielder "a good guy" but he felt that Fielder's actions after the game "made it into a bigger deal." ...Hong-Chih Kuo has tossed 5.2 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts in six appearances since returning from the disabled list. ... Reliever Ronald Belisario pitched one inning in a rehab assignment with Inland Empire, allowing one hit, one walk and striking out two. Belisario has been on the disabled list with a strained right elbow retroactive to July 6 and Torre Torre said he thought Belisario's two outings in the Minors should be enough to get him ready to join the club. Belisario had also tossed a scoreless inning against Rancho Cucamonga. ...Orlando Hudson has hit safely in six straight games. ...The Dodgers are now 21-12 in one-run games, including a 17-3 mark at Dodger Stadium. ...The team will be given a voucher when they enter the game against Pittsburgh September 14th that will be good for one of its famous Dodger Dogs. The 10-inch hot dog that extends past the length of the bun costs $5 at concession stands. The Dodgers will also have a hot dog eating contest that night, with the winner getting a seat upgrade and passes to an event where they can take batting practice on the field.