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Ivan De Jesus gets Dodgers past Diamondbacks, 8-7

Infielder drives in the tying and go-ahead runs with a double in the ninth inning, giving him three runs batted in to help L.A. overcome an early deficit.

May 22, 2012|By Bill Shaikin

PHOENIX — Those were quite the exciting games Tuesday, two rowdy Arizona crowds on the edge of their seats and at the top of their lungs in creating a hostile environment for the visiting team from Los Angeles.

Beat L.A.? Maybe another year.

The NHL's Coyotes? Done, thanks to the Kings.

The Diamondbacks? They might be just about done, thanks to the Dodgers, and to an increasingly unlikely cast of characters.

"I've got to go clean my hair now," Ivan De Jesus said.

De Jesus drove in three runs Tuesday, two more than he had in his entire career. He drove in the tying and winning runs in the Dodgers' 8-7 victory over the Diamondbacks, extending the club's winning streak to six games and earning a pie in the face from Aaron Harang.

"He got me really good," De Jesus said. "I've been waiting for this moment. I'm so happy. I'm just happy to be here. I'm just happy to help the Dodgers win games.

"I'm never going to forget today."

The Dodgers are practically mocking the Diamondbacks.

On Monday, the Dodgers fielded their junior varsity. They won. On Tuesday, the Dodgers spotted Arizona a five-run lead. They won.

The Dodgers (30-13) boast the best record in the majors, and an 111/2-game lead over the defending National League West champions.

And get this: They are 7-2 since they put Matt Kemp on the disabled list.

"This is a resilient bunch," said Tony Gwynn Jr., who had three hits and lifted his batting average with men in scoring position to .529.

"Guys don't care that Matt is hurt. Guys are wanting to step up to the challenge. You see a different guy every night. That is the sign of a special team.

"That can only help us come September. Hopefully, we're still in this thing. We've got guys that have been in this position and won't be scared of these moments."

Guys like Gwynn, who is batting .343 since taking over center field for the injured Kemp. Guys like infielder Elian Herrera, a 10-year minor leaguer who drew the first of consecutive walks in the ninth inning against closer J.J. Putz, who had walked one batter all year.

Guys like Jerry Sands, whose pinch-hit double was the first pinch-hit of his career. And guys like De Jesus, who had gone from prospect to suspect while watching even the unheralded Herrera got called up ahead of him. "The energy is amazing," De Jesus said. "If we continue, we'll get to win a lot of games and get to the World Series."

De Jesus drove in the tying run in the seventh inning, as the Dodgers scored five runs to erase a 6-1 deficit. Then, after Lyle Overbay homered to give the Diamondbacks a 7-6 lead in the eighth, De Jesus doubled home the tying and winning runs against Putz in the ninth.

Andre Ethier, the NL RBI leader, preceded De Jesus to the plate and struck out. De Jesus delivered, Kenley Jansen earned the save, and the Dodgers skipped onto the field in celebration.

The Diamondbacks fans went home with one consolation. Their team might have a losing record, and the climate here might border on the inhumane, but their ticket stub would be good for three free tacos.

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