Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier follows through after connecting for… (Mike Stobe / Getty Images )
NEW YORK — Andre Ethier hadn't seen his splits with men in scoring position.
"I feel it's not good," Ethier said.
He was right. Entering Thursday, the player who used to be called Captain Clutch was two for 19.
But Ethier managed to single when it mattered most in the final game of the Dodgers' six-game trip, delivering a ninth-inning hit to drive in the go-ahead run in a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.
Ethier didn't know why he wasn't doing this earlier, as he couldn't point to anything wrong with his approach with men on base.
"I feel like I've been having good at-bats," he said. "I just wasn't capitalizing on that one pitch you get to get the job done."
He sensed the big hit was coming.
"That's the one thing that kept me from banging my bat all over the place," he said.
Ethier's run-scoring single came with one out in the ninth inning, men on the corners and the score tied, 1-1. On the mound was left-hander Scott Rice.
Ethier has worked with hitting coach Mark McGwire to refine his approach against left-handers, who held him to a .222 average last season.
Ethier is now batting .265 (nine for 34) against left-handers. However, he is batting only .211 (eight for 38) against right-handers.
Chad Billingsley's reconstructive elbow operation Wednesday went as expected, the Dodgers announced. The 90-minute procedure was performed by team physician Neal ElAttrache. Billingsley will start physical therapy in seven to 10 days and is expected to be sidelined for 12 months.
Reliever Shawn Tolleson will also spend the coming months recovering from surgery, as he was scheduled to undergo an operation Thursday to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. Tolleson was called up from triple-A Albuquerque on April 12 and pitched that day. He hasn't pitched since. The 25-year-old is expected to miss three to five months.
The polls open
Fans will be able to cast All-Star ballots at Dodger Stadium on Friday, when the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Voting will end on June 14.
The Dodgers have eight players on the ballot: Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Ethier, Mark Ellis, Hanley Ramirez, A.J. Ellis and Luis Cruz.
Ballots can also be submitted online at mlb.com.