Ellis drives in winning run as Dodgers keep on rolling
JUL 30, 2013 11:12p ET
But this is what the Dodgers are doing these days, creating high energy and close calls and games with amazing endings.
Yes, the New York Yankees had something to do with it, but when Mark Ellis looped the game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth inning, it didn't matter who they were playing. A celebration was in order.
These have become routine of late, players bursting from the dugout to mob the night's hero -- in this case Ellis, who drove in Andre Ethier from second base to defeat the Yankees 3-2 at Dodger Stadium.
"The momentum is nice," manager Don Mattingly said. "These kinds of games we just feel like we're going to win right now."
They can't seem to lose. The Dodgers won their fourth game in a row and are 10-1 since the All-Star break for the first time in franchise history. Their lead over second-place Arizona in the National League West is now 3½ games, and since their hot stretch began June 22, they are 27-6.
They are also unbeaten in their past eight one-run games.
"We feel like we've turned the corner and are headed in the right direction," Ellis said.
Is there any question about that? The Dodgers are doing everything right, from starting pitching to splendid bullpen work to timely hitting. Sunday, Yasiel Puig's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth beat the Cincinnati Reds. Tuesday, Ellis came through after Andre Ethier hit a one-out single and stole second base, picking up something in the delivery of Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley that allowed him a good jump.
Ethier had just three steals all season, so swiping one at that moment, Mattingly said, was "a little bit out of his norm right there. But we had an opportunity with (first-base coach Davey Lopes) over there, and obviously they took advantage of it."
Ellis then delivered the winner, lofting a two-out single over the glove of shortstop Derek Jeter in shallow center field.
"When I hit the ball, I had a pretty good thought it was going to go over Jeter's head," Ellis recalled. "The big play was Andre stealing second base, too. That changed the whole at-bat for me. All I had to do was lob one out there, which I did."
It sent many in a sellout crowd of 52,447 into delirium. They weren't all Dodgers fans; the Yankees routinely attract fans regardless of where they play, and L.A. was no different. But the electrically charged atmosphere was precisely what the Dodgers wanted to see.
"It feels like the way Dodger Stadium should feel," Ellis said. “It's definitely more fun to play in front of 50,000 people.”
Starter Zack Greinke gave up two runs in seven innings, giving way to a pinch hitter in the seventh. He stayed even with Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, who surrendered a second-inning homer to Juan Uribe that traveled an estimated 441 feet and landed in the second deck inside the left-field foul pole.
But the game came down to Ethier and Ellis, who put away the game and then celebrated on the field.
"We battled all night," Ellis said. "We had two good pitchers going tonight. It was a great game, a lot of fun. To come up with a hit like that was a good feeling."