The first inning Monday night against Atlanta pretty much encapsulated the Dodgers’ season to date.
Dee Gordon singled to lead off the game, stole second base, and advanced to third on a flyball from Mark Ellis.
Matt Kemp, he of the .460 batting average and nine home runs, was pitched to carefully and walked. Andre Ethier followed with a single, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.
The RBI for Ethier was his 22nd of the season, tying him with Kemp for the major league lead. Their 44 combined RBI are just three shy of the major league record for teammates through the first 17 games of the season, held by Alex Rodriguez (31 RBI) and Jason Giambi (16) of the 2007 Yankees.
“They have been pretty amazing, really,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Matt has been off the charts in every category. Dre has been picking up every run that Matt doesn’t drive in. They have been pretty dynamic together. It’s hard to imagine two guys having a better start as far as driving in runs and being big for their team.”
But what won the game for the Dodgers was production in their lineup from hitters other than Kemp and Ethier. James Loney, Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis, the Nos. 6-7-8 hitters in the lineup, combined for eight hits, four runs and five RBI in Los Angeles’ 7-2 win over the Braves.
Uribe had four hits, his first four-hit game since Sept. 8, 2007.
“Matt and Andre can’t get every ribbie and score every run,” Mattingly said. “The fact that we were able to put some runs on the board, with Juan getting some big hits there, and A.J. swinging the bat well, we were just able to do what we needed to do to get a win.”
NOTES, QUOTES Mattingly: Billingsley is healthy –RHP Chad Billingsley battled a sore groin before his Sunday start in Houston, where he allowed nine runs and wasn’t able to finish the fourth inning. However, Billingsley is expected to make his next start Saturday against the Nationals. “Whatever the reasons, he didn’t pitch great (Sunday), but I feel like he’s healthy and not really worried about his next start,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I’m sure he’ll feel better on a regular routine. He didn’t come out of (his start) limping or with something bothering him (Monday).” –CF Matt Kemp hit .381/.458/.857 with three home runs and six RBI for the week of April 16-22. However, he missed out on fourth consecutive National League Player of the Week award, as Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman captured the honor. “The other day I was messing around with him about the Player of the Week. He said, ‘I want to be Player of the Year,'” manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s kind of the mentality you want. We’re trying to win something, and he wants to be the best player all year long. I like guys thinking like that.” Kemp went 2-for-3 Monday, raising his average to .460. –Kemp has hit nine home runs this month, tied with Ron Cey (1977) for the second most hit by a Dodger in April. Gary Sheffield holds the franchise record with 10 April home runs in 2000. –3B Juan Uribe came into Monday’s game with no runs scored in 11 games and 40 plate appearances on the season, but he scored twice against the Braves. He also drove in three-runs in a four-hit game. –C A.J. Ellis has seen 4.74 pitches per plate appearance this season, second in the National League to Diamondbacks OF Jason Kubel. Ellis leads the Dodgers with 11 walks this season. He went 2-for-4 with two run-scoring hits Monday. BY THE NUMBERS: 4 — Hits by 3B Juan Uribe on Monday against Atlanta, his first four-hit game since Sept. 8, 2007. QUOTE TO NOTE: “It is nice because this guy is a good teammate, and the guys love him. He always has a smile on his face. He has continued to play good defense for us. The fact that he was able to have a night here at home, it was nice to be able to do that in front of our fans.” — Manager Don Mattingly, on 3B Juan Uribe, who went 4-for-4 Monday against the Braves.
ROSTER REPORT MEDICAL WATCH: –RHP Todd Coffey (right knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list April 14. –2B Ivan De Jesus Jr. (torn left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. –RHP Blake Hawksworth (arthroscopic right elbow surgeries in January 2012 and February 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list March 27. –RHP Rubby De La Rosa (Tommy John surgery in August 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26.