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Dodgers overcome fifth-inning meltdown to win, 6-5, in 11 innings

April 07, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • A.J. Ellis runs down San Diego's Nick Hundley to bring the Padres' five-run fifth inning to a merciful end Saturday night.
A.J. Ellis runs down San Diego's Nick Hundley to bring the Padres'… (Denis Poroy / Getty Images )

No doubt attempting to get their ugliest inning of the season out of the way early, the Dodgers presented the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday in San Diego.

“Bully” thought it had a difficult time avoiding an R rating, but there’s no way children should have been allowed to watch this implosion. Although those at Petco Park might well tell their children about it one day. Not that it would be believed.

As penance, the Dodgers were forced to go 11 innings in the third game of the season before Dee Gordon drove in the winning run in the Dodgers’ 6-5 victory.

A.J. Ellissingled to lead off the 11th and was sacrificed to second by Justin Sellers before Gordon lined his third hit into right to score Ellis.

All of those dramatics would have been unnecessary if the Dodgers had not tried to give the game away in the fifth.

The Dodgers were simply cruising along, leading, 5-0, with Chris Capuano having given up only two singles in 4 2/3 innings, when suddenly a Dodger throwing a strike became rare as snowfall on Mission Bay.

By the inning’s merciful end, the Padres had driven in four runs via bases-loaded walks. There was also a hit batter and a wild pitch. They might still be playing the fifth if the Padres ultimately had not run themselves out of the inning.

The Dodgers built their 5-0 lead behind two runs batted in each from Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and a solo home run by Ellis. With the soft-throwing Capuano in command against the weak-hitting Padres, the game seemed comfortably under L.A. control.

Capuano had two outs and two on, via a single and a walk, when he slipped into the rabbit hole. He walked Chris Denorfia, still looking for his first hit this season, to load the bases. Then he walked Chase Headley, also hitless in 2012, to force in San Diego’s first run. It was the fifth walk he gave up, so Manager Don Mattingly went to Jamey Wright.

Wright immediately threw eight consecutive balls with the bases loaded to force in two more. The call then went to Scott Elbert, whose first offering went in the dirt for a wild pitch to score a fourth run.

Elbert was ahead of Yonder Alonso, 1-2, when he hit him with a pitch to load the bases again. Orlando Hudson, who had started the inning by striking out, then singled in a run. The Dodgers got out of the inning when every baserunner overran his base, and Nick Hundley was caught in a rundown.

By the game’s end, the Dodgers had walked 10 batters and hit one.

Five Dodgers relievers held the Padres scoreless over the last six innings, with Javy Guerra throwing the ninth to earn his second save.

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Dodgers overcome fifth-inning meltdown to win, 6-5, in 11 innings

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