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The Baseball Gods Smile on the Dodgers

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The Dodgers just gave $85 million (or $100 million) to Andre Ethier. The baseball gods smiled upon the team giving the Dodgers the rare victory over the Angels 5-2 in dramatic form.

Staring defeat straight in the face trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning, the Dodgers had runners on first and second with two outs. But their newly minted man came up to the plate armed only with his bat. Ethier laced the game-tying single to right field to score Gordon.

While the soldout crowd of 55,279 cheered their heads off, the thought of sitting through yet another four-hour game left a feeling of abject terror in the pit of my soul. Thankfully Juan Rivera came to the rescue.

"I just try and do my job," Rivera said with his usual dose of humility. "I tried to hit the ball hard. I was so happy because the ball was gone."

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Rivera's job wound up being a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw from Angels' starter Jerome Williams that caused the crowd to erupt in joy. The Dodgers had the 5-2 lead, Kenley Jansen got his tenth save of the season with the perfect ninth inning and for the second time in their last eight matchups at Dodger Stadium the Dodgers beat the Angels.

"That was a nice win," Dodgers' Manager Don Mattingly commented. "It's fitting for Andre to get the big hit to tie it up. And then Juan's hit put us over the top there, it really took the pressure off.

"We just hung in there."

Up until the eighth inning the Dodgers had continued the theme of giving by being so charitable tio the Angels, especially on the night they honored their former catcher and current Angel manager Mike Scioscia with a bobblehead (which explains the soldout crowd on a Tuesday night.)

Charitable Contribution No. 1: It started in the third inning when Angel starter Jerome Williams got the first hit off of Aaron Harang pounding a double to left-centerfield. After Mike Trout lined out to rightfield, Torii Hunter walked and Albert Pujols singled to load the bases.

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As if that wasn't charity enough, Kendrys Morales hit a tricky grounder to second baseman Adam Kennedy who couldn't field the ball cleanly. In came Williams, the first unearned run and the 1-0 lead.

"It got a little topspin and kind of bites him," Mattingly dismissed.

Charitable Contribution No. 2: Give the Dodgers credit. They didn't take it lying down. Consecutive singles by A.J. Ellis, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera scored Ellis in the fourth inning to tie the game, but their charitable ways showed up again thereafter.

Bobby Abreu hit a long fly ball to centerfield that allowed Ethier to take third base giving the Dodgers the chance of tacking on more runs with runners on first and third. A strikeout would have continued the inning. A long fly ball would have scored Ethier. Instead, Adam Kennedy hit back to the box for the inning-ending 1-6-3 double play leaving the game tied 1-1.

Kennedy had a rough go of it at the plate seeing only six pitches in his three at-bats that netted four outs.

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Charitable Contribution No. 3: Again the bases were loaded with two outs for the Angels in the sixth inning. This time it was Williams at the plate trying to break the tie. Harang got Williams to ground to second baseman Kennedy which should have ended the inning. Kennedy could have gone to first with the pitcher running, but instead tried to get the shorter force play at second base.

Kennedy made the toss to shortstop Dee Gordon who dropped the ball, Morales scored and the Angels took the 2-1 lead.

For Mattingly this error was more worrisome than the first one.

"We had a little miscommunication," Mattingly admitted. "[Kennedy] told me he should have went to first."

In the end none of the charity mattered. It took Aaron Harang off the hook for the loss who didn't give up an earned run in his seven innings of work.

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"I was just executing pitches tonight," Harang said.

Three Stars (as voted by me):
1. Juan Rivera: 2-for-4, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 strikeout.
2. Aaron Harang: 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 0 earned runs, 4 walks (1 intentional), 5 strikeouts, 1 wild pitch.
3. Dee Gordon: 1-for-3, 1 strikeout, 1 walk, 3 stolen bases.