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Youngsters lead Dodgers past Phillies, 6-2

Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa settles down after a shaky beginning in his first career start and shortstop Dee Gordon has singles in his first three major league at-bats.

June 07, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

Reporting from Philadelphia — Dee Gordon was at shortstop, aware that his father was watching him from the stands. Rubby De La Rosa was on the mound, convinced that his grandmother was looking down on him from the heavens.

The two 23-year-olds came from distinctly different backgrounds, but they shared a dream. They lived that dream Tuesday night, when they made their first starts in the major leagues.

Gordon, the son of a former well-paid major league pitcher, had three hits, a stolen base and a run in the Dodgers' 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. De La Rosa (2-0), who was raised in poverty by his late grandmother, was the pitcher of record.

"It's been a blur," said the fleet-footed Gordon, who was called up from triple-A Albuquerque on Monday.

"It was exactly what I thought it would be," said De La Rosa, the hard-throwing right-hander who stepped into the indefinitely sidelined Jon Garland's place in the rotation.

De La Rosa claimed he wasn't nervous, but catcher Dioner Navarro said he knew better. So did anyone else who was watching.

The Dodgers' top pitching prospect couldn't throw a strike.

"I think it's understandable," Navarro said. "He was going too fast. We were trying to calm him down. His stuff is way too good for him to be doing that."

De La Rosa threw 47 pitches in the first two innings, only 18 for strikes. He walked four batters in that span.

The Phillies loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning but scored only one run.

"Whenever he had to make a pitch, he made the pitch to get us out of there," Navarro said. "That says a lot about him."

De La Rosa settled down and retired the last six batters he faced. In five innings, he was charged with a run and four hits. He struck out four and walked five.

Navarro said he has no doubts about De La Rosa's gifts.

"He's a breed of his own," Navarro said. "He's going to make a lot of money in this business. Hopefully, I can help him figure it out."

After the game, De La Rosa talked about his grandmother, who died in April. He said he was sure she watched the game.

"She's always looking over me," he said.

On the other side of the clubhouse, Gordon was laughing, saying how his father's presence behind the Dodgers' dugout made him nervous. His father, Tom "Flash" Gordon, used to call this ballpark home.

Before the game, the elder Gordon recalled how his son grew up thinking of himself as a basketball player and didn't play organized baseball until his junior year of high school.

"That's the amazing part of it," Tom Gordon said.

Dee Gordon's rapid ascension continued Tuesday. He hit a single to left field to lead off the game.

Gordon singled in the third inning and scored from second base when starter Roy Oswalt tried to pick off Casey Blake at first base and threw the ball into foul territory. The run was the Dodgers' second in a three-run third inning that put them ahead, 4-1.

Gordon got an infield hit and stole second base in the fifth inning.

The Dodgers extended their lead to 6-2 in the eighth inning when Matt Kemp hit a two-run home run.

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