Dee Gordon’s heads-up baserunning sparks Los Angeles Dodgers’ sweep

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error SAN FRANCISCO >> Dee Gordon’s speed has allowed him to steal 46 bases, make his first All-Star team, and get penciled into the top of the Dodgers’ batting order practically every day this season.Against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, Gordon’s speed sparked the Dodgers to victory. Taking his lead from third base in the fifth inning, Gordon felt like he was far enough down the line to score when a third-strike pitch bounced away from Giants catcher Buster Posey. He was right. On offense, the Dodgers were sparked by a different player in each game of the series. Friday, it was Yasiel Puig and his franchise record-tying three triples. Saturday, Juan Uribe went 2 for 4 with two RBIs against his former team.Sunday, it was Gordon.The Dodgers’ second baseman reached base three times without a hit or a walk. He reached on a fielding error to lead off the game, and was hit by a pitch in the third inning, but didn’t score either time.In the fifth inning, Gordon struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt by newly acquired Giants starter Jake Peavy (0-1). The pitch got by Posey, allowing Gordon to reach first base.Puig then walked and Peavy wild-pitched both runners up a base. When Gonzalez struck out swinging on another wild pitch in the dirt, Gordon scored the game-tying run. Gonzalez said he “absolutely” thought Gordon would score from third base.“That’s why I ran,” Gonzalez said. “I always think about it when I’m on third base but I don’t have the speed. I’m glad he took the chance. It was a great read.”Ryu, for his part, didn’t expect Gordon to score. He was glad he was wrong.“It changed the energy of the team,” Ryu said through an interpreter.“Dee does things that nobody thinks about doing,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.The inning wasn’t over. Ramirez singled, scoring Puig with the go-ahead run. Carl Crawford tripled to right field, and Ramirez scored all the way from first with a slide under the tag from Posey.There are reasons to believe the Dodgers can maintain whatever momentum they gained during their 5-4 road trip. Mattingly is using the off-day today to skip struggling starter Dan Haren’s next turn through the rotation. Josh Beckett will take the ball Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves. Then the rotation will turn over again, with Greinke and Kershaw closing out the series.Meanwhile, the lineup seems to have stabilized with Puig in center field and Kemp in right. The team is healthy and the roles are more clearly defined than in weeks past. Andre Ethier, with a .248 average and four home runs, and left-handed killer Scott Van Slyke are the fourth and fifth outfielders — a point Mattingly all but conceded prior to the game.After some hiccups in St. Louis and Pittsburgh, the Dodgers have the best record in the National League.“You know it’s a chance to build momentum,” Mattingly said of the sweep. “It’s a confidence-builder for your club to come into a tough environment and play well, get some runs.”center_img Posey threw out Adrian Gonzalez at first base as Gordon sprinted home and beat the throw, tying the game 2-2. The Dodgers scored twice more in the inning and the rally held up for a 4-3 win over the Giants at AT&T Park.“As soon as he snapped his head,” Gordon said of Posey, “I just made the choice to go and I was safe.”After sweeping the three-game series, the Dodgers lead the National League West by a game and a half; they entered the series trailing the Giants by a game and a half. Their other reward: A day off today followed by eight games at home.The sweep was as close to a total team effort as the Dodgers have received in weeks. Matt Kemp went 2 for 3 Sunday and 6 for 11 in the series. After taking four days off to nurse a sore left hand, Hanley Ramirez went 6 for 13 in the series. The Dodgers’ starting pitchers didn’t allow a run until the third inning Sunday.Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-5) wasn’t as dominant as Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw. He allowed three runs in six innings, and that was good enough. J.P. Howell, Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the win. Jansen’s save was his 30th of the season.last_img

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