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Dodgers go a bit wild with new owners but hang on for 7-6 win

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

They jump out to a 7-0 lead over Colorado and come close to squandering it, but embattled closer Javy Guerra secures the victory. Dee Gordon's first career homer adds to excitement.

May 01, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez

DENVER — Behind the desk in the manager's office, Don Mattingly mockingly pumped his fist.

The Dodgers won the first game in the Guggenheim era.

But it was messy, as the Dodgers nearly blew a seven-run lead against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. When embattled closer Javy Guerra struck out Carlos Gonzalez to secure the 7-6 win, there was a man on third base.

Told his new bosses would probably have trouble sleeping that night if they watched the game, Mattingly laughed and said, "That's what they get."

This was a stereotypically wild night at Coors Field, which started with the first-place Dodgers (17-7) building a huge lead on home runs by Dee Gordon, Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis. Gordon's home run was the first of his career.

Ted Lilly continued his fine early-season form and improved to 3-0, but couldn't pitch past the sixth inning because of a stiff side muscle. He wasn't the only one to visit the trainer's room: Third baseman Juan Uribe reinjured his troublesome left wrist in batting practice and wasn't available to play.

If there was something positive for the Dodgers to come out of the Rockies' late-game charge, it was that it presented Guerra with the opportunity to redeem himself.

In the Dodgers' homestand last week, Guerra lost two games. He would have lost a third if his team hadn't come back to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of what turned out to be a 10-inning victory against the Washington Nationals.

Mattingly had talked to Guerra about pitching with conviction.

"I understood what he meant by it," Guerra said. "It's a mind-set."

The mind-set was something he would need Tuesday night, as he came into the game in the ninth inning with a 7-6 lead.

Guerra struck out Tyler Colvin but gave up a single to Wilin Rosario, who moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Guerra was saved by second baseman Mark Ellis, who backhanded an up-the-middle grounder by Marco Scutaro and turned a potential equalizing hit into a groundout. Rosario stopped at third.

"He really came through for us," Guerra said of Ellis, who was four for five with a run.

Guerra ended the game by striking out Gonzalez, who started the Rockies' failed comeback attempt with a two-run home run off Lilly in the sixth inning.

The start of the game was as festive as the end was nerve-racking, as Gordon led off by smashing a ball into the façade of the second deck beyond the right-field wall.

Gordon weighs 160 pounds. He entered the game with a .207 average and no previous career home runs.

"I can swing the bat," Gordon said. "I've got power."

Gordon told Ellis before the game that he would hit a home run.

How did Gordon know?

"Cause I know me," Gordon said, smiling. "I know what I possess. I know what kind of power I have."

Gordon's home run was immediately followed by three consecutive hits, including a three-run home run by Ethier.

Ethier now has 27 runs batted in, the most in the majors.

Teammate Matt Kemp trails him by two, as does Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.

Lilly, who held the Rockies to two runs over six innings, said his side started to bother him in the fifth inning. He said it has been an issue in each of his last couple of starts.

Asked whether the injury might force him to skip a bullpen session or even a start, the left-hander replied, "I hope not."

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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