LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 12: Juan Rivera #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a gmame winning three run home run in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 12, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 5-2. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The eighth inning provided the story for the Dodgers on Tuesday night, as they turned a one-run deficit into a 5-2 win over the Angels at Dodger Stadium. It was the second time all season the Dodgers won when trailing after seven innings, exactly one week after the first time they turned the trick against Cliff Lee and the Phillies.
The Dodgers got to Jerome Williams, who was cruising into the eighth but ran into some trouble with two runners on and Andre Ethier at the plate. There was only one pitcher warming in the Angels bullpen, and it was right-hander Jordan Walden. No lefty in sight.
"I was watching the bullpen and kept watching who was warming up. They had a lot of faith in Jerome out there pitching, and rightfully so. He commanded the strike zone, and threw a lot of pitches for strikes," said Ethier after the game. "We finally caught up to him and capitalized."
Did they ever capitalize.
Ethier singled in the tying run, becoming the 13th Los Angeles Dodger with 500 RBI, and Juan Rivera followed with a three-run home run to provide the winning runs. Both hits came off Williams.
Hisanori Takahashi threw 30 pitches in recording five outs in Monday's game, so it's understandable why Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't bring him in to face Ethier. Scott Downs, the Angels' other lefty reliever, was unavailable with a rib-cage injury, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, and injury that was unknown to reporters before the game.
For Rivera, it was his first home run since returning from the disabled list eight days ago, and his first career home run against the Angels, his former team. Rivera, who rarely shows much emotion on or off the field, seemed pretty happy as he admired his home run, but he insisted there wasn't any extra special meaning to hit it against his former team.
"I tried to hit the ball hard," Rivera said. "I was so happy to get the job done."
As manager Don Mattingly put it, "You hit a three-run homer that puts your team ahead, it doesn't matter who you're playing, you feel pretty good."
The Dodgers go for the series win on Wednesday night against the Angels, completing their stretch of 20 games in 20 days, on which they have gone 10-9 so far. Nathan Eovaldi starts for the Dodgers, facing C.J. Wilson for the Angels. Oh yeah, and the Kings will be here with the Stanley Cup.