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Dee Gordon sparks Dodgers in first game back from disabled list

The rookie shortstop leads off the game with a single to set up a three-run first inning in Dodgers' 6-4 win at Pittsburgh.

September 01, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon slides safely back to first base on a pickoff attempt during the Dodgers' 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon slides safely back to first base on a pickoff… (Justin K. Aller / Getty Images )

Reporting from Pittsburgh — If you are 23 years old and have never previously been injured, a few weeks on the disabled list can feel like a long time.

"The longest time in the history of life," Dee Gordon said.

In his return from his three-week exile, the rookie shortstop was two for five with a two-run double and a run scored in the Dodgers' 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Dodgers' ninth victory in 10 games was a makeup game for a contest that was rained out on May 12.

The fleet-footed Gordon led off the game with a single. After a one-pitch at-bat by James Loney, Gordon bolted for second base on the first pitch delivered to Matt Kemp — only for Kemp to foul it back.

"I was ready," Gordon. "I was too ready."

Gordon reached third base on a single by Kemp. Both he and Kemp scored on a single by Aaron Miles. Andre Ethier scored on a sacrifice fly by Tony Gwynn Jr. to increase the lead to 3-0.

Gordon drove in the Dodgers' last two runs on a double to right in the eighth inning.

Over the final month of the season, the Dodgers will determine whether Gordon is ready to take over as the team's starting shortstop next season. The team traded longtime starter Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals at the non-waiver trade deadline.

"We'll see what happens next year," Gordon said. "I want to show them I can play."

Eveland shines

His elbow cleaned up in a minor operation over the winter, Dana Eveland said he reported to spring training thinking he was ready for a bounce-back season.

Three sprints into the first drill, the journeyman left-hander strained a hamstring. The only times he pitched in spring training were on the minor-league side of the Dodgers' complex, and he broke camp with triple-A Albuquerque.

An All-Star in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Eveland got his chance to pitch for the Dodgers on Thursday, holding the Pirates to one run and six hits over eight innings. He didn't walk a batter.

"It was one of those days that everything goes your way," Eveland said.

The 27-year-old, whose fastball was generally timed in the mid-80s, said he was helped by the presence of A.J. Ellis behind the plate. Ellis caught Eveland in Albuquerque for most of the season.

Eveland's last game in the majors was last year as a member of the Pirates. He made three appearances for the Pirates, including one start, and posted an 8.38 earned-run average. He finished the season with the Pirates' triple-A affiliate.

"I was only with them for three weeks," Eveland said. "There wasn't much to remember."

Eveland is expected to remain in the rotation, as the Dodgers are planning to move rookie Nathan Eovaldi to the bullpen to preserve his arm.

Short hops

With rosters expanding, the Dodgers called up utility infielder Russ Mitchell from triple-A in addition to Eveland. Mattingly said he expects to call up another five or six players from the minor leagues. … Reliever Matt Guerrier and his wife, Dejie, welcomed their second child, son Jack. Guerrier is away from the team on paternity leave.

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