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Elian Herrera Provides Life Raft For Dodgers In Win

Elian Herrera stole this base earlier in the game, then drove in the winning run in the ninth inning.
Elian Herrera stole this base earlier in the game, then drove in the winning run in the ninth inning.

Elian Herrera drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning, then made a diving catch in center field to rob Freddy Galvis of extra bases, giving the Dodgers a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night at Citizens Bank Park in the first game of a four-game series.

Herrera's single through a drawn-in infield scored Dee Gordon, who tripled off Jonathna Papelbon to open the ninth inning. Gordon, in his second game since returning to the leadoff role, went 2-for-4 on the night with a run scored and an RBI.

Herrera, the 27-year old utility man who has found a home at the top of the Dodgers lineup, is hitting .308/.384/.369 through his first 19 major league games.

The Dodgers cashed in a pair of walks in the first inning, as singles by Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu plated Herrera and Andre Ethier, respectively for an early lead. An Adam Kennedy bloop double, a sacrifice, and an infield single by Gordon gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead in the second inning, but as has been the case for most of the last week nothing would come easy for the Dodgers, not even with their ace on the mound.

John Mayberry led off the bottom of the third with a near home run off the top of the wall in left field, but settled for a double. He settled for a double, then scored on a single by Galvis. Three batters later Placido Polanco drove a ball through the wind and into the left field seats off Clayton Kershaw to tie the game at 3-3.

Kershaw was able to overcome a one-out triple by Jimmy Rollins in the fifth inning, thanks largely to the contact play, but Kershaw's biggest obstacle appeared to come while batting in the top of the seventh. While running to first base on a sacrifice bunt, Kershaw appeared to tweak something in one of his legs, though the extent of the injury was hard to discern from one of the roughly 50 replays on both KCAL and ESPN.

Kershaw came out to pitch the seventh, and though he allow two bloop singles and an infield hit to load the bases he was able to exit the inning unscathed.

Manager Don Mattingly and bench coach Trey Hillman weren't around to see the Gordon and Herrera heroics, as both were ejected in the middle of the sixth inning. After A.J. Ellis and Jerry Hairston Jr. each struck out looking to end the top of the sixth inning, both HIllman and Mattingly had issues with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn's strike zone. Mattingly was overheard on KCAL telling Reyburn, "I'm tired of this [stuff]."

Only he didn't say stuff.

Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless eighth inning for his first major league win since September 28, 2010.

Up Next

Chad Billingsley gets the call for the Dodgers in the second game of the series, while the offense has to face Cliff Lee, who has allowed one run in four career starts against the Dodgers, including the playoffs.

Tonight's Particulars

Home Runs: Placido Polanco (2)

WP - Ronald Belisario (1-0): 3 up, 3 down

LP - Jonathan Papelbon (0-2): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (7): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts