Ethier Strikes Again; L.A. Wins in 10

Ethier congratulated by Torre

Andre Ethier, who just may be the best clutch hitter in Dodgers history, ripped a one-out single to deep center in the last of the 10th to break a 5-5 tie, giving the Dodgers their first lead of the night and a win in the third game of the series 6-5. Matt Kemp homered for the third straight game and in four of the last five.

Jackie Robinson would have been proud of how the game was won, with the Dodgers scoring twice in the ninth and once in the 10th. All uniformed personnel on both teams—and the umpires—wore No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson on the 63rd anniversary of his first major league game with the Dodgers in Brooklyn.

"I believe in the human race. I believe in the warm heart. I believe in man's integrity. I believe in the goodness of a free society and I believe that society can remain good only as long as we are willing to fight for it -- and to fight against whatever imperfections may exist." Jack Roosevelt Robinson, 1919-1972.

Ethier, who has 10 career walk-off hits, six of them last year, drove a long shot over the center fielder's head in the last of the 10th inning to break a 5-5 tie and end a highly-contested series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The win came less than 24 hours after the DBacks had won a nearly five-hour game by scoring two in the 12th. By comparison, this game "only" lasted 3:42.

Second baseman Blake DeWitt, who had been 0-for 10 against Arizona stater Dan Haren, didn't start the game but came in as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and stayed on at second. He started the winning rally with a single and scored the winning run on Ethier's hit.

An error by Arizona shortstop Steven Drew allowed the Dodgers' tying run in the ninth and what many felt was an error by the Diamondback's manager, A.J. Hinch, allowed Ethier to hit with the winning run on third base in the 10th.

After DeWitt led off with a single, Rafael Furcal bunted him to second and Matt Kemp, who had homered in the seventh inning, was intentionally walked. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third and brought up Ethier who could have been intentionally walked to load the bases.

But the specter of Manny Ramirez batting with the bases loaded and two out were apparently to vivid for Hinch and he opted to pitch to Ethier in what would turn out to be a bad choice -- at least for the Diamondbacks.

Working with his slider instead of his sinker that wouldn't sink, Hiroki Kuroda, who didn't allow an earned run over eight innings in his first start of the season, worked seven innings and allowed 10 hits and three runs, two of them earned. He struck out seven and didn't issue a walk, finishing the game with a 1.20 earned run average.

Jeff Weaver, working in his seventh game of the season (out of nine), allowed a run in the eighth and gave way to George Sherrill, who again struggled, facing five Diamondbacks and retiring one before being rescued by Ramon Ortiz. Jonathan Broxton (1-0), working in his third game in a two, went 1-2-3 in the 10th and collected his first win of the season.

Arizona scored twice in the second inning when Kemp lost a fly ball that should have been caught resulting in a double for Chris Young, and he wound up scoring the game's first run. Furcal's throwing error cost he second run.

The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the second and runners at first and third in the fourth.

Arizona added a third run in the fifth inning when Diamondback's pitcher Dan Haren doubled and scored on a single by Drew, to take a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.

Ramirez walked in the bottom of the inning and was singled to third by James Loney. Casey Blake's ground ball put L.A. on the scoreboard.

The Dodgers added two more in the seventh to tie the game at three each when pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard singled and rode home on Kemp's third homer in three days. However, Weaver allowed a home ruin the eighth and Sherrill allowed another in the ninth before Ortiz saved the day.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing 5-3, Furcal walked and with two out, Ramirez dropped a soft single into left field to drive him in. Loney's third hit of the game moved him to third base and Blake beat out an infield hit to short that would have loaded the bases but the ball slipped out of Drew's hand on the throw to first base and allowed the tying run.

Then came the climatic 10th and Andre the Giant came through again. "It always feels like the first time. It's a great feeling," Ethier said after the game. "One swing of the bat either gets the job done, of you walk back to the dugout with your tail between your legs. I don't know if it's being in the right place at the right time or in the right spot in the lineup, but I seem to keep getting those situations popping up in my favor like that.

"They walked Matt for a reason. I was still ready going up there to drive the ball when you have Manny Ramirez behind you. I think his resume's a lot longer than mine and what he's capable of doing. But I guess each manager has their own rhyme and reason of what they do. Who do you want to take a chance with? Good for us that they wanted to come after me in that situation. It feels like last year. Hopefully this will get us rolling."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre sidestepped the second-guess of who to pitch too with the winning run at third. "With Manny on deck, it gets your attention. I'm not sure what I'd do in that situation."

"The important thing is," said Torre, "we never quit."

Pitching Probables for the Giants series:
Tonight, RHP Todd Wellemeyer (0-1, 5.68) vs. RHP Vicente Padilla (0-1, 11.42)
Saturday, RHP Tim Lincecum (2-0, 1.29) vs. RHP Charlie Haeger  (0-0, 4.50)
Sunday, LHP Barry Zito (2-0, 2.25) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 4.50) 

Dodger Blue Notes --Back surgery on injured Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus Thursday went as expected, the club announced. Ausmus had a herniated disk in his lower back repaired. He complained of pain down his leg and numbness in his foot after catching Thursday in Pittsburgh. He is expected to be sidelined for three months and has been replaced on the roster by A.J. Ellis. ...Head groundskeeper Eric Hansen explained a 10-minute delay during the game to repair second base. The base has a metal attachment that slides into a metal receptacle that is encased in a cement block to assure stability. But the cement block cracked, leaving the entire base unstable and turning sideways. The grounds crew finally wedged tongue depressors to eliminate the slippage. After the game, the cement block and receptacle were replaced. ...Los Angeles improved to 1-2 in extra-inning games this season and won for the seventh straight time on April, the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut. ...Belliard singled and scored after pinch hitting for Kuroda to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, raising his overall average to a team-high .571 (8-for-14) mark. Torre announced in his pregame media session that Belliard was likely to start on both Saturday and Sunday against the Giants to give Casey Blake and James Loney days off. Blake has now hit safely in his last five games, batting .381 (8-for-21) with four doubles, a homer and six RBI during that stretch…continued his red-hot Spring Training, when he hit .352 with a homer and 10 RBI in 21 games. Loney went 3-for-5 to post his fourth-consecutive multi-hit game, batting .450 (9-for-20) in that span. He also picked up his third steal in nine games on the young season and on pace to shatter his career high of seven stolen bases, which he set in both 2008 and 2009. ...One year ago, Clayton Kershaw became the youngest pitcher in L.A. Dodger history to strike out at least 13 batters in a game when he fanned 13 Giants on Jackie Robinson Night, 2009.    

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