Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, allowing one… (Mike Stobe / Getty Images )
The Dodgers were stumbling along again, looking like they were suffering from some kind of hangover from their walk-off loss Wednesday.
Only this time in the ninth inning Thursday they were the ones who struck. This time Andre Ethier, who had been struggling with runners in scoring position, came through in the clutch.
Following a Nick Punto double, Ethier sliced a run-scoring single off left-hander Scott Rice for the go-ahead run and the Dodgers escaped New York with a 3-2 victory.
Juan Uribe added a run-scoring infield single in the ninth for the needed insurance when Brandon League gave up a solo homer to Ike Davis in the bottom of the inning.
It certainly had not looked promising offensively throughout most the game for the Dodgers. After a first-inning run, the Dodgers did not put another runner in scoring position over the next seven innings. They were handcuffed by a pitcher they should have been hammering.
The Mets started Jeremy Hefner, whose season claim to fame was that he had given up seven home runs. That tied him for most homers allowed in the National League. And he had managed it in just 14 innings.
No matter, after allowing a run in the first, the 27-year-old might as well have been Justin Verlander. Hefner ended up throwing the best game of his life, holding the Dodgers to the one run in seven innings on three hits and three walks (all to Uribe?). He struck out four.
The Dodgers’ big early rally came after Carl Crawford was hit by a Hefner pitch to lead off the game. Crawford did not attempt to steal second, but one out later advanced on an Adrian Gonzalez groundout.
Matt Kemp followed with a clean single to center to score Crawford, and there was your Dodgers’ offense through eight innings.
Hyun-Jin Ryu made that run stand up through five scoreless innings. But in the sixth a brief bout of wildness proved costly.
Ryu walked Ruben Tejada and gave up a base hit to Daniel Murphy to start the bottom of the inning. A Ryu wild pitch allowed Tejada to take third, which proved costly when David Wright lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score the tying run.
Ryu ended up pitching seven strong innings, allowing the one run on three hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.
Punto doubled to lead off the ninth and took third on a Gonzalez groundout. After Rice intentionally walked Kemp to set up the force, Ethier hit his soft liner to right-center to put the Dodgers up 2-1.
Uribe’s hard bouncer up the middle was stopped by a sprawling Tejada, but he had no play as Kemp scored the third run.
League, who had blown his first save as a Dodger on Wednesday, gave up the homer to Davis to lead off the bottom of the inning, but got the final three outs for his sixth save.