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Dodgers Walk Off on Bobby Cox's Last Stand

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Emily Post be damned. The Dodgers focused more on getting a split of the four-game series with the Atlanta Braves rather than playing nice in Braves’ manager Bobby Cox’s final regular season game at Dodger Stadium walked off with a 5-4 victory in the 11th inning.

The honor went to back-up catcher AJ Ellis who was starting in only his eighth game fo the season to give Russell Martin a day off. Ellis knocked a single off of Jesse Chavez that scored Martin who led off the inning with a pinch-hit walk from second base for the winning run.

“This is definitely special,” Ellis said. “The team kept giving me chances to drive somebody in. Finally on the third try I was able to get it done.”

Ellis had been batting .217 in 27 plate appearances this season.

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“I’m really happy for him,” manager Joe Torre said. “This kid is a little bit of a throwback to the old days.”

The Braves looked as if they would be continuing where they left off after battering the Dodgers in the late innings in Saturday’s game. Dodgers’ starter John Ely was hit pretty hard giving up four runs on nine hits in his five innings of work.

“He wasn’t wild, but he was off a little bit,” Torre said. “A lot of his pitches were elevated and didn’t stay down. We haven’t had one of these outings from him in a while, but we escaped it.”

“It was definitely a battle,” Ely said. “Some days you have trouble getting the ball down. In the bullpen before the game I was spot on - I couldn’t miss. For some reason when I got out there, I guess my arm was late.”

The Braves struck first blood in the third inning when Heyward singled in Omar Infante who hit a one-out double for the 1-0 lead.

They exploded in the fifth inning on Prado’s lead-off homer and McCann’s two-run first-pitch homer for a 4-1 lead. McCann’s homer was the 18th homer in Dodger Stadium history to land in the loge section and the first since Geoff Blum with the San Diego Padres did it on September 11, 2007. The two homers also marked the first homers Ely has given up for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers tried to mount a rally in the third inning. DeWitt broke up Braves’ starter Tim Hudson’s bid for perfection in the third inning with a lead-off walk. However on the first pitch Hudson made to AJ Ellis, the apparent hit-and-run play was botched when Ellis couldn’t make contact with a fastball outside the plate. DeWitt was called out at second base, however the replays showed he was safe.

To add insult to injury, Ely managed a single with a swinging bunt - let’s call it - for his first professional hit in either the Major or Minor Leagues.

“That’s my first hit since high school,” Ely said. “It was great. I was fired up after that.”

Even though it was an itty bitty infield single, Ely has no qualms about that.

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“It’s fine,” he said. “I’m on base and the inning keeps going. That’s all that matters to me.”

As Eric Stephen of True Blue LA pointed out, this marks the first time that three Dodger starters had base hits on consecutive days since Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux did it from August 30 to September 1, 2008.

After Rafael Furcal walked, Jamey Carroll grounded sharply back to the box to end the inning.

But the Dodgers, aided by a throwing error by first baseman Troy Glaus on a double-play ball, tied the game in the fourth inning. James Loney and Matt Kemp hit back-to-back one-out singles. Garret Anderson, playing left field for the resting Manny Ramirez and hitting a whopping .149, grounded the ball sharply to Glaus who threw the ball wide of shortstop Yunel Escobar covering second.

With the bases now loaded, DeWitt took Hudson’s first pitch and lined it to center field bringing Loney home and tying the game 1-1.

After the three-run top of the fifth for the Braves, the Dodgers responded right away with one out in the bottom of the fifth when Rafael Furcal hit a solo homer, his first of the season. Jamey Carroll reached first base on a fielding error by third baseman Infante, went to third on Ethier’s double. Both Carroll and Ethier scored on Loney’s line drive single to center field to tie the game.

Justin Miller, Hong-Chih Kuo and Jeff Weaver pitched scoreless sixth, seventh and eighth innings with the only baserunner coming on Weaver’s two-out walk to Escobar.

The biggest scare for the Dodgers came in the ninth inning when Jonathan Broxton gave up a lead-off double to pinch hitter Brooks Conrad. Although Conrad stole third base during Infante’s at-bat, Broxton struck out the side to come out of inning with the stalemate intact.

The Braves threatened again in the tenth inning when reliever Ronald Belisario who gave up a run in last night’s game gave up a walk, single and a wild pitch to get Escobar on second and Gregor Blanco on third with two outs. Belisario got Melky Cabrera to strike out to end the threat.

Before the game longtime friend and bandleader of Conjunto Amistad Johnny Polanco performed a set at Viva Los Dodgers in honor of Jose Lima who passed away on May 23. Jaime Jarrin, Pepe Yñiguez and Manny Mota recounted stories of Lima-Time to the audience. The video of Lima’s 2004 performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” were shown and Jose Lima, Jr. threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Manny Ramirez.

The Dodger win officially puts Bobby Cox’s record against the Dodgers at 142-120.