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Dodgers' Dee Gordon insists he was safe on stolen base attempt

Pinch-runner claims he avoided tag on attempted steal in the ninth inning and he says replay backs him up.

October 04, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers pinch runner Dee Gordon is called out as he is tagged by Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons on a stolen base attempt during the Dodgers' 4-3 loss in Game 2 of the National League division series Friday.
Dodgers pinch runner Dee Gordon is called out as he is tagged by Atlanta's… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

ATLANTA — Dee Gordon was adamant: When he attempted to steal second base in the ninth inning of the Dodgers' 4-3 defeat to the Atlanta Braves Friday night, he was safe.

"I'm not going to harp on what he called, but I thought I was safe," Gordon said.

Gordon entered the game as a pinch-runner for catcher A.J. Ellis, who drew a one-out walk in the ninth.

With pinch-hitter Andre Ethier at the plate, Gordon bolted for second base. Second base umpire Bill Miller ruled that Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons received the throw from catcher Gerald Laird and tagged Gordon before he touched second base.

"I felt like everything was good," Gordon said. "Simmons even blocked the bag and I felt like I got under it."

Ethier also drew a walk, but Braves closer Craig Kimbrel struck out Carl Crawford to preserve the Braves' one-run lead and tie the best-of-five series, 1-1.

Gordon said upon returning to the clubhouse, he immediately watched video of the play. He said what he saw confirmed what he felt.

"In real life, I felt like he didn't tag me until I felt him hit my foot," Gordon said. "I was all over the base when that happened."

Manager Don Mattingly also thought Gordon was safe after viewing a replay.

Adrian Gonzalez wasn't as certain.

"One replay you could say he's safe, one replay you could say he was out," Gonzalez said. "The question is where does [Simmons] have control of the ball? If control is when the ball touches the web of the glove, he was out. If control is when he squeezes, he was safe."

Fear the beard

Brian Wilson has worked his way into becoming the Dodgers' eighth-inning pitcher, according to Mattingly.

Wilson, who underwent reconstructive elbow surgery last year, didn't sign with the Dodgers until July 30 and didn't pitch in the major leagues until Aug. 22.

Whereas previous eighth-inning options Ronald Belisario and Paco Rodriguez faded late in the season under their substantial workloads, Wilson continued to get stronger.

Wilson posted an earned-run average of 0.66 in 18 regular-season games. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Games 1 and 2 of the division series against the Braves.

Wilson, who won a World Series with San Francisco in 2010, has pitched in 12 career postseason games and has never given up an earned run.

Contingency plans

Scott Van Slyke will be the backup center fielder until Ethier can play the field again. Mattingly said he isn't counting on Ethier to be able to play center field in the division series.

With Ethier limited to pinch-hitting because of shin splints and Matt Kemp not on the playoff roster, the Dodgers started Skip Schumaker started in center field in Games 1 and 2.

If something were to happen to Schumaker, Mattingly said he would be inclined to move Van Slyke to center field rather than move right fielder Yasiel Puig.

"It's just moving too many people," Mattingly said.

Mattingly compared Van Slyke's defensive smarts to Ethier's.

"If he had speed, he would be in center," Mattingly said.

Short hops

Mattingly is considering scrapping the Dodgers' workout at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. The Dodgers were scheduled to return to Los Angeles early in the morning. … Contrary to what Magic Johnson said in the Friday edition of The Times, Dodgers President Stan Kasten never called Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick to apologize for the Dodgers celebrating in the swimming pool at Chase Field.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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