The conclusion to Saturday night’s Dodgers-Padres game at Dodger Stadium was something not even Don Mattingly had seen in his 30-plus years in professional baseball. But it was a finish the Dodgers manager said he hopes to soon forget.
Kenley Jansen stood at the mound, one strike away from his 17th save of the season. After the Padres had rallied in the ninth inning, it appeared the Dodgers would escape with a one-run victory.
Then Everth Cabrera, stuck on third base, pulled the unthinkable.
With teammate Alexi Amarista at the plate, Carbrera darted for home. Jansen’s throw to catcher A.J. Ellis was high, allowing Carbrera to score. Will Venable, who was on second, scored the go-ahead run as Ellis retrieved the ball.
Jansen retired the next batter, but the Dodgers were unable to generate runs in the bottom of the ninth, falling, 7-6, at Dodger Stadium.
“I wanted to try something different, “ said Cabrera, who entered as a pinch runner in the ninth.
Prior to the sequence that had unfolded, Jansen was seen kicking the mound. He later said that he had an irritating clump of dirt stuck in his cleats that caused him to lose focus when Cabrera bolted.
“I didn’t think to call a timeout,” Jansen said.
The series that unfolded negated a strong night by Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, back together in the lineup for just the second game since returning from the disabled list. The pair batted 6-for-8 and had four RBI. Ethier had a sixth inning homer that put the Dodgers in control until the top of the ninth.
After the game, Ellis attempted to put the game in perspective, insinuating that L.A. lost its focus down the stretch.
“You never want to let your guard down,” Ellis said. “We’re one strike away from winning that game and you’ve got to be ready for anything that can happen.”
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