After unsuccessfully trying to sneak past catcher Rob Johnson in the third inning, Andre Ethier decided to touch home plate with the least resistance possible for the rest of the day.
Break up the Dodgers! Ted Lilly was the first Dodger pitcher since Wednesday to give up a run, but Andre Ethier and the Dodger offense provided the support, guiding the Dodgers out of last place with a 4-1 win and a three-game sweep of the Padres. Not only was it the Dodgers' first sweep of the season, but also their first four-game winning streak of the year.
The two home runs gave Ethier his first multi-homer game since he broke his pinkie, and the 11th such game of his career. His first home run of the day, off Tim Stauffer in the bottom of the fifth inning, was the Dodgers' first long ball since Aaron Miles went deep on June 28 in Minnesota. The Dodgers went 10 full games and 404 plate appearances without a home run.
The Dodgers scored their first runs of the game in the bottom of the third inning. Stauffer walked the first three batters of the inning, and up stepped Matt Kemp, a man with more grand slams (six) than all but three in Dodgers franchise history. Kemp smashed a ground ball to third base. Chase Headley made a diving stop to rob Kemp of a hit, but decided to throw home to try and nail Tony Gwynn Jr. at the plate. Gwynn was safe at home, easily, and Headley's throw eluded catcher Rob Johnson, allowing Rafael Furcal to score as well. The play was first ruled a fielder's choice for Kemp (plus an error on the throw), then changed to a base hit, then back to a fielder's choice because, in the words of official scorer Ed Munson, "Headley could have scampered to third base for the force out."
Lilly gave up a home run to Johnson in the third inning, but that was the only run allowed in his five innings of work. With a full bullpen at his disposal, manager Don Mattingly pulled Lilly after 85 pitches, but it was enough to get Lilly his first win in his last five starts. Lilly struck out seven and allowed six baserunners. Five Dodgers relievers pitched the final four innings to preserve the win, including Javy Guerra, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save of the season.
- The home run by Johnson in the third inning snapped the Dodgers' scoreless streak at 29 innings, the longest in the majors this season.
- Kemp stole his 27th base of the season, putting him on pace for 48 on the season. He has also been caught just three times, and has the most steals by a Dodger before the All-Star break since Juan Pierre had 35 swipes in 2008.
- Before his home run off Josh Spence today, Andre Ethier had gone 146 PA since his last HR off a LHP (Randy Wolf, August 25, 2010)
- Lilly allowed one home run and one stolen base today (and nearly a second steal, as Chris Denorfia had third base stolen easily on a foul ball by Chas Headley), leaving him just short of joining Kemp as a 20/20 man at the All-Star break. Lilly has allowed 19 home runs and 21 steals this season. No Dodger pitcher has ever allowed 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season; the closest was Ismael Valdes, who gave up 32 home runs and 26 stolen bases in 1999.
- Kenley Jansen since returning from the disabled list has allowed no runs and two hits in 9 2/3 innings, with six walks and 13 strikeouts.
- The next Dodger-related activity, aside from Kemp in the Home Run Derby Monday and Kemp, Kershaw, and Ethier in the All-Star Game Tuesday, is a full squad workout by the Dodgers in Phoenix on Thursday. They play the Diamondbacks next weekend, beginning Friday night.
WP - Ted Lilly (6-9): 5 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Tim Stauffer (5-6): 6 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 5 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv - Javy Guerra (4): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout