Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis saw both ends of the performance spectrum on Wednesday night in San Diego. He hit a two-run home run in the second inning in the Dodgers' 4-3 win over the Padres, his first of the season. But he also let a potential game-ending strikeout slip by him in the ninth inning.
Brandon League got Chris Denorfia to swing at a split-fingered fastball that should have ended a 4-2 game, but the ball got by Ellis, allowing Everth Cabrera to score and put the tying and winning runs on base. But eight pitches later, League got Yonder Alonso to pop out to end the game.
"The ball got by me. Leaguer made a great pitch. The game should have been over. I have to keep that ball in front of me whatever way I can," Ellis said. "I knew it was coming, I knew it was going to be a split-fingered fastball there. He hung out there for another (eight) pitches. Fortunately he picked me up, and was able to get Alonso out."
The home run for Ellis came against old friend Eric Stults, whom Ellis has known since 2003. They were teammates on three different levels and their families remain close to this day. But that didn't mean Ellis didn't enjoy hitting a home run off of his buddy.
"I love Stultsie, he's one of my oldest friends in baseball. I can remember hanging out with him all the way back in A-ball in Vero Beach. We're friends, our families are friends, my kids are friends with his kids. It's great to see him, and I'm just so happy he's on a major league team and in a major league rotation," Ellis said. "But when it's time to play the game the Dodgers are more important than anything else."