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Ethier Came To Save the Day

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Andre Ethier was the savior for the Dodgers 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On Air Force Appreciation Night, the Dodgers bullpen laid a stink egg for the second consecutive night. Right fielder Andre Ethier willed the Dodgers to victory twice. First with the game tied at three in the bottom of the seventh, Ethier worked a bases loaded walk to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. Then in the top of the eighth and stole a two-run homer in off of first baseman Brandon Allen to end the inning.

“It was hit well off the bat,” Ethier said of his game saving catch. “I was giving it a hard try. I glanced over the corner of eye and saw that [center fielder Matt] Kemp was going to wait back and play it off the wall. That was the play there, so I went for it and gave it a try.”

The Dodger fans treated Ethier with three separate ovations: once after the play was made and twice more after each time the replay was shown on Dodgervision.

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However the 45,433 Dodger fans were not quite so charitable with starter Vicente Padilla. After walking the first two DBacks batters the boo birds started making themselves known.

Right fielder Justin Upton loaded the bases on a bunt single. Padilla struck out the next two batters third baseman Mark Reynolds and catcher Miguel Montero. But left fielder Gerardo Parra hit a comebacker that hit Padilla on the right leg kicking away from the pitcher that scored a run giving the DBacks 1-0.

“I was lowering my arm a little bit,” Padilla said through translator Alex Torres about walking the first two batters. The problem was remedied by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt according to Padilla.

Whatever Honeycutt said must have worked because Padilla gave up only a single, a double and a walk for the remaining 4 1/3 innings he pitched. In fact the booing that Padilla received at the beginning of the game made way for cheers once Padilla was taken out of the game in the top of the sixth inning after striking Reynolds.

In the home half of the first inning, Matt Kemp tied the game at one hitting an 0-1 pitch out to left-center field. That homer gave him a homer in four consecutive games.

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second when after two outs and back to back singles by catcher Russell Martin and first baseman James Loney, Padilla helped his own cause and drove home Martin with a bloop single along the first baseline just behind first base.

In the third inning Matt Kemp led off with a bunt single fooling Reynolds who played deep. With Ethier at bat, Kemp stole second. Ethier would fly out to right field. Upton threw back to the infield forcing Kemp to dive back to second. However Upton threw it to no one in particular allowing it to kick to left field. With third base coach Larry Bowa waving Kemp home frantically, Kemp would beat the tag home to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

“Matt Kemp has been terrific,” manager Joe Torre said. “And you know this kid has grown so much this year.”

In rehab news, starter Hiroki Kuroda made a start at class-A Inland Empire 66ers going five innings giving up an unearned run on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He made a total of 62 pitches.

“Sounded like it was good,” Torre said. “We will talk to him tomorrow.”

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Torre also said that Kuroda’s outing made it more likely that he would get the start on Sunday.