LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers scored an insurance run in the eighth inning on Friday night and it proved to be very much needed as the Dodgers held on for a 4-3 victory over the Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series. That run was scored by A.J. Ellis, not exactly known for his wheels.
Ellis was on second base when the red-hot Justin Turner singled to right fielder Gerardo Parra. Dodgers third base coach Lorenzo Bundy put up a stop sign but Ellis, in his first game back after missing 17 games with a sprained right ankle and who missed 33 games earlier this season after left knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, kept running.
"I couldn't stop," Ellis explained. "There was no way I was going to be able to plant coming around third."
It worked out for the Dodgers, luckily, as Parra's throw was up the line. It was the first time Ellis scored from second base this season on a single, in two tries. The National League average is to score from second base 60.1 percent of the time, nearly indistinguishable from the 60.2 percent in 2013.
Ellis in 2013 was above average, scoring 11 of 18 times from second base on a single (61.1 percent). In his career he has scored from second base 19 times in 41 singles (46.3 percent).
Ellis was asked how many stop signs he has ever run through.
"I ran through one when I was 16 years old when I got my license, and that was bad. I got grounded for a week," Ellis quipped. "Other than that, usually that turns out bad for me on the baseball field."
Turner, the man who hit the single to score Ellis, leads the Dodgers with eight RBI in June. He has a multi-hit game in each of his last five starts, and has current hot streaks of 11-for-23 (.478) and 18-for-43 (.419), depending on how far you delve back into his game logs.
Turner is 8-for-14 with runners in scoring position dating back to May 31.
But he is also dealing with tightness in his calf, aggravated during the series in Cincinnati. He was used as a pinch hitter on Friday, but with trouble running was replaced by pinch runner Jamie Romak.
Manager Don Mattingly said Turner likely wouldn't start on Saturday, just based on how he was running Friday night. But he likely will be available as a pinch hitter again, as he was Friday.
"We knew he could swing the bat," Mattingly said.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Dodgers were batting and leading 2-1. But at an otherwise ordinary moment in the game, pockets of fans around Dodger Stadium began to cheer. It soon spread throughout the stadium and got louder and louder. The Kings had just won the Stanley Cup, a mere four miles away at Staples Center.
"We knew they weren't getting fired up for a Chone Figgins at-bat," Ellis joked. "For me it was similar to the Freeway Series when I started hitting and the crowd started going nuts. That was when the earthquake happened."