Grit grit gritty grit. The new-look Dodgers have climbed up to second place in the NL West thanks to never-say-die attitude that wasn't present in the first two months of the season (or if it was, it was held by our opponents). And today's ninth inning up in San Francisco, in a rubber match game that was a surprising pitching duel (Clayton Kershaw, as usual, delivered; Giants starter Chad Gaudin, unexpectedly, matched Kershaw through seven innings), was a 1-1 tie going to the ninth.
But then came the Dodgers. Yasiel Puig, jeered and mocked for his four-K performance Saturday, led off the ninth inning with a single to left. Adrian Gonzalez then singled to Buster Posey, the ball going off his glove and rolling into shallow right-center. Posey chased down the ball and tried to underhand a ball to second base, but the ball went past the bag and into short left field, forcing Kung Fat Panda to chase that error down and leaving third base unoccupied. Puig, uncommonly wise on the basepaths this time (he was thrown out trying to steal third during a Hanley Ramirez AB in the fourth), scurried to third base.
Dodgers at the corners, none out. Ramirez (who had tripled in the second and scored on a Andre Ethier single to center) decided to swing at a 3-0 count, which was a comebacker to Giants closer Sergio Romo. Romo got the force at first. With second and third occupied, Ethier was intentionally walked, with one out, to take their chances on a double play.
Juan Uribe struck out badly. But with two outs, A.J. Ellis took Romo's second pitch into deep left-center, rolling all the way to the wall and clearing all three bases, giving the Dodgers a 4-1 lead. Ellis literally took a "Beat LA" cheer and not only silenced it, he shoved it up the asses of a stadium full of Giants fans (Ellis was also incredibly poised and humble in his post-game interview with Patrick O'Neal).
Kenley Jansen came in to ice the ninth, and it was done. Dodgers win the series and are all alone in second place, 4.5 GB Arizona (our next stop on the road trip). Giants fall to 6.5 GB, one game ahead of the last-place Padres in the NL West.
Great gritty win for the Dodgers today. We need to keep Puig from making foolish decisions (Puig did make a sweet catch in the bottom of the eighth), and it would be nice to see Carl Crawford get back into things, but overall, I'll take it.