Apr 7 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon (9) on deck against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning at PETCO Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Gordon reached base in five of his six plate appearances, and the one time he made an out he lofted a ball into the right field corner that nearly made it into the weirdly jutted section of seats near the foul pole for a home run. Dee had two walks and a double, and his final hit was a sharp line drive to right field that scored A.J. Ellis from second base in the top of the 11th inning.
Yet Gordon's attitude stayed the same as it was when he opened the season 1-for-10 in the first two games.
"He's really been fine. His demeanor doesn't really change. He's upbeat, he's confident," manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "I've been saying all spring this kid can hit. He's just about playing the game and winning games."
Gordon, who collected his first game-winning hit in the majors, echoed the sentiments of his manager. "I try to stay the same, that's what Donnie always tells me. Stay the same, stay humble, stay hungry," Gordon said.
He also stole three bases, tying a career high and setting up runs in both the first and third innings.
"He is such an exciting, high energy guy. When he gets on first base everyone in the ballpark is expecting him to run. It puts so much pressure on you," said A.J. Ellis, who reached base four times himself, including a home run. "As a catcher, I can understand what it's like calling pitches and getting ready to throw. It just changes the whole game."
Gordon is fearless on the bases ("I don't think anything stops him, and he's not afraid of anything," Mattingly said), but aside from his blinding speed he has some help in the form of his first base coach.
"He's got Davey [Lopes] over there too. It's not like he's over there all by himself," Mattingly said. "He's got a pretty good base stealer and probably the best in the game over there at first base about reading pitchers and knowing when to go and when not to go."
About That Fifth Inning
The Dodgers held a 5-0 lead with two outs in the fifth inning, but five walks, a wild pitch and a hit batter during the frame, by three different pitchers, led to five Padres runs to tie the score. In the dugout, Mattingly felt helpless.
"You can't do a whole lot when you're not throwing strikes," he said.
Chris Capuano issued three of those walks, which marred an otherwise good performance, one that ended after 4 2/3 innings and a 5-1 lead, though the bases were loaded with two outs.
"It was frustrating. For 4 2/3 innings, I felt great throwing the ball. I had great stuff," Capuano said. "With first and third and two outs there in the fifth with a 5-1 lead, I have to be of a mindset to challenge them and make them put it in play."
Capuano said he has a new two-seam fastball this year with a different grip. It was the pitch he threw to Chase Headley which resulted in a bases loaded walk and the Padres' first run, ending Capuano's night.
"I've been happy with the movement I've been getting on it. Right there, I threw it right on the otuside corner and it tailed off a few inches," Capuano said. "I need to be a little more aggressive, attack the plate a little bit more and let that movement work for me."
As you can imagine, since the Dodgers won the clubhouse was much more upbeat than had they lost a game they once led 5-0. When A.J. Ellis was asked after the game how long the fifth inning felt, he quipped, "Are we out of it yet?"
Though Ellis also shouldered some of the blame himself for the fifth inning.
"I probably could have done a better job helping those guys out, maybe mixing those pitches a little more," Ellis said. "That's just stuff we'll work on and if that comes up again we'll make adjustments."
- Matt Kemp had two more hits and extended his hitting streak to 15 games, dating back to last season.
- Andre Ethier drove in two more runs with a fifth inning double off Dustin Moseley.
- The Dodgers are 9-3 in their last 12 games at Petco Park and have won four straight series in San Diego.
- The last time the Dodgers started a season 3-0 was 1999.
- The last time the Dodgers swept a four-game series in San Diego was June 28 - July 1, 2001.
The Dodgers go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon, with ex-Padre Aaron Harang starting for the Dodgers facing Clayton Richard. The last time the Dodgers swept a four-game series in San Diego was June 28 - July 1, 2001.
Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket