Elian Herrera delivered a single off the glove of Marco Scutaro to give the Dodgers a 3-2 walk-off win over the Giants in the opener of their three-game series at Dodger Stadium, keeping the Dodgers alive for at least one more day.
Hanley Ramirez opened the ninth with a single for the Dodgers and advanced to third one out later on a single by Luis Cruz. After getting a three-ball count on A.J. Ellis, Santiago Casilla intentionally walked him to load the bases, setting the stage for Herrera.
The victory was the sixth straight for the Dodgers, the third time they have had a six-game winning streak this season. But unless the streak reaches eight the Dodgers season will end on Wednesday, and even that might not be enough.
The Cardinals beat the Reds 4-2 on Monday to clinch at least a tie for the second National League wild card, which means the Dodgers not only have to win their final two games but also have St. Louis lose their next to as well, just to force a one-game playoff against the Cardinals on Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
Andre Ethier was hitting .455 (25 for 55) in his career against Matt Cain entering play Monday, but had never hit a home run off the right-hander. But in the fourth inning, in his 64th career plate appearance against Cain, Ethier deposited a pitch over the wall in right center field to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 Dodgers advantage. Ethier went 1-for-2 against Cain, but that only raised his average to .456.
Aaron Harang made it hold up in his six innings of work. He allowed a walk, then an RBI double in the first inning to Buster Posey, but didn't give up a run after that. Harang allowed just two hits and two walks in his six innings his longest outing since Aug. 18.
Adrian Gonzalez singled in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by a Dodger within this season. It's the longest Dodger hitting streak since Matt Kemp had a 16-game hitting streak that ran from Sept. 16, 2011 to Apr. 8, 2012. Gonzalez also doubled in the sixth inning, his 47th of the season to set a new career high.
Since his return from an irregular heartbeat on Sept. 20, Kenley Jansen had not given up a hit to any of the first 19 batters he faced. But Angel Pagan ended that with a one-out double in the eighth inning, snapping an 0-for-12 streak of his own. Then with Marco Scutaro batting, home plate umpire Jerry Layne granted a late time request, disrupting Jansen in mid-delivery.
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visited the mound to calm Jansen down, but after Jansen threw two balls, Scutaro singled to left field to score Pagan to tie the game at 2-2. It could have been worse, as Shane Victorino completely missed the cut-off man on the throw home, allowing Scutaro to move into scoring position with one out. After he struck out Pablo Sandoval, Jansen got Buster Posey to bounce back to the box, though Jansen's throw to first base on the latter was a bouncer that may have been the slowest ball he has ever thrown. Gonzalez was able to catch the throw to end the threat.
After 160 games in 180 days, the Dodgers' season comes down to this: they need two wins, and they need two losses by the Cardinals. Four possible outcomes that all need to go the Dodgers' way, or they are done.
- A.J. Ellis walked in the fifth inning, his first walk since Sept. 9, snapping a string of 58 plate appearances without a walk. But despite the drought Ellis still leads the team with 64 walks, 15 more than his nearest competitor (Ethier).
- Gonzalez has exactly two hits in seven of his last eight games.
Home Runs: Andre Ethier (20)
WP - Brandon League (2-6): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout
LP - Santiago Casilla (7-6): ⅓ IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk