Garret Anderson rounded first base with his right arm raised, a rare celebratory gesture by a veteran in the midst of what is probably the most challenging season of his career.
But when Anderson's teammates flooded out of the dugout to celebrate the Dodgers' third walk-off victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in three days, the player who drove in the only run of the 14-inning marathon Wednesday started to retreat into left field. He knew better than to run into the mob.
"I've seen this team over the years celebrate, so I was trying to get away as far as I could," Anderson said.
Matt Kemp, who scored the deciding run of the sweep-sealing 1-0 victory on Anderson's single to center, shook his head as he walked past Anderson's locker.
"Trying to run from me," Kemp said. "You're too old for that, man."
The victory marked the first time in 28 seasons that the Dodgers won three consecutive games on the final play. They didn't give up a run over the final 31 innings of the series and extended the last-place Diamondbacks' losing streak to 10 games.
Up next for the Dodgers is the team that employed Anderson last season, the Atlanta Braves.
Anderson's season with the Braves was his last as an everyday player. The longtime Angel — and soon-to-be 38-year-old — signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers this spring to be their left-handed bat off the bench.
Adjusting hasn't been easy.
His start Wednesday in left field, designed to rest Manny Ramirez in a day game after a night game, was his 13th of the season.
Anderson was hitless in his first five at-bats and his 14th-inning single, which was almost caught by center fielder Chris Young, raised his batting average to .157.
"It's something I've never done before," he said. "I'm just trying to find my way."
Anderson admitted he was frustrated Wednesday, pointing in particular to the 10th inning, which James Loney led off with a double. Anderson struck out, failing to even hit a groundout that would have allowed Loney to go to third base. The Dodger Stadium crowd booed.
"It was well-deserved," he said. "I wasn't getting some things done. I don't mind getting boos when I'm out there not doing things I'm capable of doing. I'll take those boos."
The reaction was similar in the fifth inning, when a single by Young skipped between Anderson's legs and reached the wall.
However much Anderson might be bothered by the way he's played — "That would bother any player in any situation, whatever job they have," he said — Manager Joe Torre noted that he hasn't noticed any change in Anderson's demeanor.
"Every single day is the same," Torre said. "He's a pro. He's not a finger-pointer. He goes up there and gives you the best he has."
Anderson is no longer the only player who is slumping.
The Dodgers have scored two runs in 24 innings in their last two games. They were shut out over the first nine innings Wednesday by one of their former prospects, right-hander Edwin Jackson, and over the first eight innings Tuesday by Dan Haren. Of the five runs they scored in the series opener Monday, two were on an error and one came on a balk.
Andre Ethier, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday, was one for 14 in the series.
"I guess you could say we're pressing," Torre said.
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