After struggling for their first three games without Matt Kemp, scoring just six total runs,the Dodgers' offense came alive Friday night for the second straight night, scoring six runs in their win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a weekend showdown series at Dodger Stadium.
"The thing we talked about is having each guy responsible to make the other guy fight for that out," manager Don Mattingly said. "If we can get that up and down the order it makes the guy continually work. It's one of the things we strive for."
The Dodgers made Lance Lynn work on Friday, as the Cardinals' starter threw 103 pitches in his six innings, and he gave up four runs, the most he has allowed in a game all season.
A.J. Ellis delivered the final blow with a walk-off walk, the third walk-off RBI of his career, off Fernando Salas. But that came after a ninth inning rally.
"For us to rally in the ninth, we had Elian [Herrera] with the unbelievable at-bat to start things off and set the table. I'm sure you guys have already talked about Adam Kennedy's day," Ellis said. "It's just a different person every day, that's the mark of a good team, especially when you're superstar is out."
The fifth through eighth spots in the batting order combined for 10 hits and three walks, and drove in all six Dodgers runs. Kennedy had his first four-hit game since July 30, 2010.
"It was good to square the ball up a few times, which I hadn't been doing," said Kennedy, who also downplayed the notion of his production increasing with regular at-bats, adding, "We have a job to do whether it's once a week or every day."
Ellis Injury Update
Mark Ellis suffered a lower left leg injury in the seventh inning when he was slid into by Tyler Greene on a good, hard slide. He was sore after the game, but the x-rays showed nothing broken. We will likely know more about his status on Saturday.
Gordon Continues To Struggle
Dee Gordon went 0-for-5 Friday night to drop his batting average to an even .200. He is hitting .200/.239/.255 on the season, and though Mattingly wasn't in the mood after the game to continue the discussion of moving Gordon either down in or out of the lineup, the manager is aware of his shortstop's struggles.
"Tonight was not very good. This game seems to be moving awful fast for him right now. We have to continue to make decisions," Mattingly said. "In the same breath, this kid is going to be a great player. He's going through something right now that's going to make him a better player later on.
"Things aren't easy in this game. There are times you're going to go through some rough stuff, and he's going through some rough stuff right now. We're getting wins but this is a rough time for Dee.
Mattingly Ejected, Dejected
Mattingly was ejected in the third inning by home plate umpire Tom Hallion for arguing a check swing that Mattingly felt was incorrectly called no swing by third base umpire Chad Fairchild during Matt Carpenter's at-bat. Carpenter singled to drive in one run, and Matt Holliday followed with a two-run home run. After the game, Mattingly still didn't like the call.
"I was frustrated really. I know I should keep my mouth shut. For me, A.J. doesn't swing on his and basically, he cost us three runs," Mattingly said. "You get tired of it after a while. The guy's not even paying attention down there and it's not even close."
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound on Saturday night for the Dodgers, who look to capture their third straight win. Jake Westbrook gets the call for the Cardinals.