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Dodgers outfield depth helps bury Mariners to complete sweep

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers continued to get production from up and down their roster, with Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke pacing a face start en route to a 5-2 victory and a three-game sweep of the Mariners at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers have won four straight games.

With a Carl Crawford held out of the lineup with a sore ankle, Van Slyke started in left field, his first start against a right-handed pitcher this season. He hit a two-run double off Taijuan Walker, part of a three-run first inning that saw the Dodgers jump out to a rare early lead.

The club that was outscored 10-1 in the first inning through the first eight games of the season was up 3-0 after one on Wednesday, then 5-0 after three innings, and never looked back.

Ethier scored one of those runs in the first, then scored again in the third, part of a 2-for-3 night for Ethier that made him 6-for-12 over his last four games. He has reached base eight times in his last 14 plate appearances.

Joc impact

Ethier and Van Slyke weren't the only Dodgers outfielders productive on Wednesday. Center fielder Joc Pederson was 1-for-1 with three walks on the night, but his biggest impact came with a pair of defensive highlights.

Pederson laid out to rob Mike Zunino of extra bases to end the second inning with this nifty diving catch:

Then, in a series that saw the Dodgers send runner after runner home to test the poor Seattle outfield arms, Pederson terrorized Zunino again, this time throwing him out at the plate:

"Joc's a solid defender. It talks about the importance of what we think he's capable of doing out there and kind of on an everyday basis," manager Don Mattingly said. "Not so much having to make the spectacular play, but just the bread and butter, getting good jumps, running good routes, and being a solid defender for us."

Staying hot

Two of the hottest hitters in baseball in the first two weeks of the season have been Adrian Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz, and both continued to leave their mark on Wednesday. Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with an RBI single in the second inning, extending his hitting streak to 11 games, dating back to 2014. He added a double in the sixth inning, which produced this neat factoid perfect for April 15.

On the season, Gonzalez is hitting .528/.595/1.111 and with 19 hits set a Dodgers franchise record for most in the first nine games of a season, surpassing Zack Wheat (1923, 1925), Tommy Griffith (1919), Reggie Smith (1980) and Eric Karros (1995), all of whom had 18 hits through nine games.

Cruz hit his major-league-leading sixth home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth inning that broke his tie with Gonzalez. It was the fourth home run of the three-game series for Cruz, who has homered in each of his last five games.

In the series, Cruz was 5-for-10 with four home runs, five runs scored, five RBI and three walks.

Pitching

Brett Anderson induced seven ground balls in his first 10 batters faced, and through five innings allowed only one run, but ran into some trouble in the sixth. After a fielding error at first by Gonzalez, Anderson allowed a single and a walk to load the bases with nobody out.

That left Paco Rodriguez in a precarious position, though he escaped with only one run scoring, thanks in large part to Robinson Cano having a brain fart and trying to jog home, thinking the bases were loaded. Oops.

"It was kind of a brain fart, I guess," Anderson said of Cano's gaffe.

Rodriguez, Chris Hatcher, Pedro Baez and J.P. Howell combined to pitch the final four innings without allowing a run. That culminated a strong three-game series for the Dodgers bullpen, which combined for 12 innings, allowing only one run on five hits, with four walks and 19 strikeouts.

Up next

The Dodgers are off on Thursday, but resume their homestand with a three-game weekend series against the Rockies. In the Friday night opener at Dodger Stadium, Clayton Kershaw will make his third start of the season, facing Kyle Kendrick for Colorado.

Wednesday particulars

Home run: Nelson Cruz (6)

WP - Brett Anderson (1-0): 5+ IP, 6 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

LP - Taijuan Walker (0-2): 4 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts