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Jerry Sands is an instant star in The Show as Dodgers beat Braves, 4-2

L.A.'s new 23-year-old left fielder gets a double and an RBI in major league debut, inspiring chants of 'Jer-ry' at Dodger Stadium. Ted Lilly pitches seven shutout innings for his first win.

April 18, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers left fielder Jerry Sands watches his first-inning double against the Atlanta Braves on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers left fielder Jerry Sands watches his first-inning double against… (Kirby Lee / US Presswire )

Dodger Stadium sounded like the set of a particular lowbrow talk show on which the bespectacled host baits guests into trading punches or pulling each other's hair.

"Jer-ry! Jer-ry!"

The chant was heard when the rookie outfielder drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right field.

"Jer-ry! Jer-ry!"

The call was heard again when the 23-year-old kid from small-town North Carolina caught a ball he momentarily lost in the lights.

"Jer-ry! Jer-ry!"

Welcome to Los Angeles, Jerry Sands. These are your fans.

Dodgers-Braves box score

Called up from triple-A Albuquerque to inject life into the Dodgers' stagnant offense and half-empty stadium, Sands was one for three with a double and a run batted in in his major league debut, helping his new team secure a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday.

Manager Don Mattingly laughed as he acknowledged that the chants directed at Sands made him think of "The Jerry Springer Show."

"I hate to admit it," Mattingly said.

Desperate for offense, Dodgers bring up Jerry Sands

Still laughing, Mattingly said, "We'll have Jerry Beads flying out there," referring to the Mardi Gras-style necklaces Springer offers to female audience members.

Told what Mattingly said, Sands also laughed.

"It'd be pretty cool," he said.

Video: Jerry Sands, Don Mattingly on 4-2 win over Braves

Sands, batting seventh in the lineup, doubled to right in his first at-bat, which came at the end of a three-run first inning for the Dodgers.

He went the opposite way again in the third inning, when he hit a sacrifice fly that drove in Juan Uribe to extend the lead to 4-0.

And after Braves starter Tim Hudson (2-2) threw at Sands' head in the sixth inning, Dodgers starter Ted Lilly (1-2) made sure to retaliate on his behalf by throwing a similar pitch to Nate McLouth an inning later.

"I was kind of amped up," Sands said. "I had to take some deep breaths and relax a bit."

The real difference-maker for the Dodgers on this day wasn't Sands, but Lilly, who held the Braves to four hits and two walks over seven innings.

The 35-year-old left-hander had been hit hard in his previous three starts, over which he had posted an 0-2 record and 6.00 earned-run average.

"I was able to repeat [my delivery] a little better," Lilly said.

The most trouble Lilly encountered was in the second inning, when he walked Freddie Freeman to put men on first and second with one out. He responded by striking out Alex Gonzalez and getting McLouth to fly out to right.

The Dodgers backed Lilly with some early runs.

A first-inning single by Matt Kemp drove in Aaron Miles for the first run of the game.

James Loney drove in two runs with a single to center to extend the lead to 3-0.

Mattingly said before the game that Loney, who started the day with a .150 average, could lose playing time to Sands if he remained out of sorts at the plate. Loney went two for four.

Loney's second hit came in the third inning, when he moved Uribe from first to third with a single to left. That set up Sands' run-scoring fly ball to right field.

Andre Ethier singled to left in the seventh inning to extend his major league-best hitting streak to 15 games.

Closer Jonathan Broxton did nothing to dispel concern about his form, as he gave up three hits, including two doubles, in a two-run ninth inning for the Braves.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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