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Dodgers Walk Off Again, This Time Against Yanks

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New York City can boast several advantages over Los Angeles. They have an excellent subway system. They are the financial capital of the country. Hell, their mayoral races are more fun. It's not like Eric Garcetti would ever post a weiner shot (cough) and have his spokeswoman call the recipient a "slutbag."

But one thing that New York City cannot boast: a better baseball team. In this mini two-game series the Dodgers took the first game 3-2 on Mark Ellis' walkoff RBI single in the ninth.

"To come up with a hit like that was a good feeling," Ellis said.

It seemed inevitable that the game was going to head to extras. After Hanley Ramirez got thrown at the plate to end the third inning, the Dodgers mustered only two singles off of Andy Pettitte and couldn't touch David Robertson in the eighth.

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After A.J. Ellis grounded out to lead off the bottom of the ninth with Shawn Kelley pitching, Andre Ethier lined a single to left field with an almost Ichiro flare. You can't blame him — he had been 0-for-3 to that point.

Juan Uribe struck out, and up came Mark Ellis. He had already extended his hit streak to 11 games in the seventh inning off of Pettitte.

With a sellout crowd of 52,447 getting louder and louder especially after Ethier stole second on a 1-1 slider, Mark worked the count full, fouled off a pitch for extra measure and lined the single to left sending the Dodger contingent happily home.

"We're just finding a way to get the big hit, something we weren't doing a whole lot of early in the season," Mark said. "We feel like we've turned the corner and headed in the right direction."

Also turning the corner is Mark himself. It seems like it's been a quiet .415 batting average for Mark since the All Star break with a homer and eight RBI.

"It's taken me a while, but I do feel good," Mark said. "I feel great with my legs under me. I feel very comfortable at the plate and can be myself a little more now."

The combination of Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez were at it again. Right off the bat in the first inning Puig doubled and Ramirez singled Puig home for the game's first run while also extending his hit streak to 11 games.

But perhaps the most surprising of all events, Juan Uribe belted a solo homer off of Pettitte in the second inning. While the home run in and of itself is not too surprising since it is Uribe's sixth of the season, the fact that it was a loge shot that went an estimated 441 feet and the longest by a Dodger not named Yasiel Puig or Hanley Ramirez was eye-opening. Even Uribe sounded surprised when I told him that fact.

"I was just trying to make contact," Uribe said. "I didn't want to take a big swing. I don't want to mess up my swing."

While the pitch that he hit was a changeup, Uribe wasn't necessarily looking for a changeup to hit.

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"I see the ball, I hit the ball," he summed up. "I know some people look for a certain pitch. Sometimes it's not too good for me when I look for one pitch.

"I just want to see the ball and have a good swing."

Zack Greinke went seven innings allowing five hits on two runs. He also hit a single in the second inning lifting his batting average to .400.

The Dodgers are running on all cylinders right now. They are a Major League best 27-6 since June 22, their best 33-game run since moving to Los Angeles. With the Tampa Bay Rays beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2, the Dodgers now take a 3 1/2 game lead in the division. One would think with the trade deadline coming up on Wednesday the Dodgers could stand pat.

But the Dodgers signed former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson to a one-year contract. The 31-year old right-handed pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2012 and will report to Arizona before being sent on minor league assignments to build up his arm strength. If all goes well the Dodgers could see him up in a couple of weeks.

"The one thing we talked about is the quality power in the back-end," manager Don Mattingly said before the game.

It's clear the Dodgers are looking for depth in the bullpen. Case in point: Kenley Jansen. For the sixth time in the last seven games, Jansen had been called upon to get three outs. It's no surprise he did so needing only 15 pitches, but overusing him has to be a concern.

"You always do, a little bit," Mattingly said. "But you've got chances to win games. You've got chances to save games. Those are his moments."

Mattingly aslo emphasized that he and Jansen communicate regularly about his health and ability to pitch from day-to-day.

"We talked to him today about him being 100 percent honest with us if there are any days he doesn't feel good or doesn't feel right then we won't use him," Mattingly said.

I know Jansen has not been forthcoming of his health in the past, so is he really being honest about it now?

"I feel like he has," Mattingly said. "He's let us know if he's not feeling good."

Yankees Scorecard: (click to embiggen)

Dodgers Scorecard: (click to embiggen)

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