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Dodgers Take the Good, Take the Bad

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With a lot of young players making their way onto the Dodgers this season, you have to take the good with the bad. This was quite evident with shortstop Dee Gordon Monday night in the Dodgers 6-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Manager Don Mattingly put it best after the game: “You’re going to live with what you get with a kid like that.”

Gordon has shown the great parts of his game that made his call-up to the Major League so anticipated. To lead off the third inning Gordon made back-to-back spectacular grabs. The first play was a diving stop to his left on the outfield grass on Brandon Phillips’ grounder up the middle.

If that wasn’t enough, the second play upped the ante. On a grounder up the middle by Joey Votto, Gordon headed towards second base to make the play. However the ball bounced off of Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda and back towards third base. Without hesitation Gordon changed directions, grabbed the ball and threw Votto out at first.

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“I just want to help these guys win,” Gordon said humbly.

But with the good came the bad. With the Dodgers leading 1-0 in the top of the second inning and Chris Heisey on first base, Miguel Cairo hit a double play ball towards second baseman Aaron Miles. When Gordon received the throw from Miles, he failed to tag second base allowing Heisey to be safe at second.

“I could have gotten closer to the base,” Gordon admitted. “That was a miscue on my part.”

Although they did get the out at first base, Heisey would score on Paul Janish’s RBI single to tie the game.

Later in the top of the seventh inning with the game tied 2-2, another Gordon lapse figured into the game. A rather routine grounder by leadoff hitter Ryan Hanigan eluded Gordon.

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“That’s a ball I should have executed and made the play on,” Gordon said. That being said, Gordon wasn’t the only scapegoat for the horror of that inning.

After the dust was settled, Janish hit a soft chopper down the third base line to third baseman Juan Uribe who made a great throw second baseman Miles to get Hanigan out. Since that play took some time to develop it would have been prudent for Miles to put the ball in his pocket.

But no. His eyes being bigger than his stomach, Miles threw the ball into the stands trying to get the double play to first baseman James Loney allowing Janish to stand at second base. This allowed Arroyo to help his own cause as he brought Janish home with a line-drive single down the right field line.

Mattingly then brought in reliever Matt Guerrier and the nightmare kept going. After getting Drew Stubbs to pop up, Guerrier walked Phillips. Then reigning National League MVP Joey Votto blasted a three-run homer to right-centerfield.

After seeing the horror unfold, Gordon refused to dwell. “I committed an error, but you’ve got to keep your head up and keep on going.”

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On he went in the eighth inning after Tony Gwynn, Jr. led off with a single and Jamey Carroll lined out to second base. He lined a ball down the right field line scoring Gwynn and used his speed to get to third base recording his first Major League extra-base hit and RBI.

Perhaps more audaciously was when Miles hit a very shallow fly ball to left field. Despite third-base coach Tim Wallach putting on the stop sign, Gordon ran through it and touched home safely to cut the Reds’ lead to 6-4.

“I felt like right then and there we needed that run,” Gordon said. “So I tried to go get it.”

Mattingly was just as awestruck as everyone else was.

“He’s electric. He’s going to be fun to watch. He’s going to get better and better.”

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This all led to Kuroda being yet again the hard luck loser despite pitching well through six innings. Besides that RBI single to Janish in the second inning his only other blemish to that point was a solo homer to Chris Heisey in the sixth inning. With a total of four runs, only two of which were earned, stuck on his ledger, Kuroda has now gotten his fifth consecutive loss with the Dodgers scoring an average of 1.57 runs per game during his appearances. Kuroda admitted this has affected his pitching a bit.

“I’ve become too careful because unfortunately I don’t get a lot of run support lately,” Kuroda said through translator Kenji Nimura. “In order for us to win we have to score more runs than they do.”

But Kuroda did own up to his own errors. “There are a lot of aggressive hitters in this lineup, so I tried to aim for the plate. But a lot of balls just went out of the strike zone. Unfortunately in a lot of situations it became a hitter’s count.”

LA Angels defeat Seattle Mariners 6-3. Vernon Wells alert! He hit two homers including a two-run variety in the seventh inning off of starter Jason Vargas to give the Angels the 4-3 lead. It’s his second three RBI game of the season which drove up his batting average to .196.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

Cincinnati Reds at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. KCAL9, AM 790 KABC.

LA Angels at Seattle Mariners. 7:10 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.