Three games into September and the Los Angeles Dodgers keep winning the close ones.
A.J. Ellis singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning, giving them a 4-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night for their second consecutive walk-off win. The Dodgers’ past five games have been decided by two runs or less, with three wins so far this month.
”Other than getting our heart rates up, we’re not making it easy on ourselves,” said Andre Ethier, who homered in the ninth to force extra innings. ”That feeling of knowing we can win these games late is being fortified better. It shows all the guys on this team we’re not going to roll over. You got to go out there and earn it.”
The Dodgers remained 4 1/2 games behind NL West-leading San Francisco and a half-game back of St. Louis for the second wild card.
”We know what we’re chasing,” Ethier said. ”You can say you’re not watching the scoreboard, but it’s out there behind me in right field.”
Ellis got the game-ending hit off Cory Burns (0-1) after two-out singles by Ethier and Luis Cruz, who had a career-high four hits. The Dodgers’ 10th walk-off win of the season leads the NL.
”It’s September, now it’s time to go,” said Ellis, who had his fourth career walk-off hit. ”As long as we take care of business on our end, we’ll be happy at the end of the month. A couple guys in the clubhouse called it fourth-quarter September. We just want to get in (the playoffs).”
The Dodgers celebrated a new tradition by shredding the jersey of the player with a walk-off hit, in this case Ellis, who found himself on the bottom of a dog pile.
”You’re hoping to make it out healthy,” he said.
Ethier tied the game 3-all with his 16th homer off Luke Gregerson with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
”I don’t feel like I missed with that pitch or that I hung it or anything,” Gregerson said. ”I thought I put that pitch exactly where I wanted it: right on the outside edge of the plate and at his knees, but he just went out there and got it and put a good swing on it. That shows what he can do.”
Brandon League (1-1) got the win with two innings of relief. He gave up one hit, struck out two and walked one.
Padres starter Andrew Werner allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, struck out a career-high eight and walked one in his third major league start. The left-hander got a Padres rally started in the seventh with his first big league hit, a one-out single. After Everth Cabrera flied out to center, pinch-hitter Logan Forsythe singled off the pitching hand of Dodgers lefty Randy Choate, who promptly left the game but said afterward that he wasn’t hurt.
Choate was replaced by Belisario, who gave up a two-out single to Chase Headley that scored pinch-runner Clayton Richard, the scheduled starter for Wednesday’s series finale, to give San Diego a 3-2 lead.
Hanley Ramirez homered, his 10th since joining the Dodgers, with two outs in the sixth on the first pitch from Werner to tie the game at 2.
Headley’s 24th homer in the first gave San Diego a 2-0 lead. The Dodgers gained a run back in the fifth on Mark Ellis’ RBI single that scored Cruz, who singled, was sacrificed to second and scored when catcher John Baker couldn’t secure the throw from left fielder Chris Denorfia in his glove.
Dodgers starter Joe Blanton gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked two. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Cabrera to end the inning.
NOTES: Padres LF Carlos Quentin was a late scratch from the lineup with right knee irritation, with Denorfia starting in his place. Quentin pinch-hit in the 11th. … Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has set his rotation for the team’s weekend games at San Francisco. RHP Josh Beckett will start Friday, followed by LHP Chris Capuano on Saturday and LHP Clayton Kershaw on Sunday. … Olympic champion gymnasts Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross each threw out ceremonial first pitches, with only Maroney getting the ball to the plate on a clean throw. Later, the trio boogied on the stadium’s dance cam.