Andre the Great: Ethier’s Blast Wins Home Opener for the Dodgers

April 10, 2012

Los Angeles -- Andre Ethier capped off a historic and energetic opening day, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and their fans celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium, and Ethier celebrated his 30th birthday with a clutch home run to give the Dodgers a 2-1 victory Tuesday over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Ethier, who was previously 0 for 4 against Pirates’ reliever Jason Grilli, launched a two-out solo shot over the right field wall against the Pittsburgh righty in the bottom of the eighth to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead and propel the team to victory.

After struggling last season because of a knee injury, Ethier thus far has shown no repercussions from his 2011 surgery, as he is currently hitting .316 on the season with 2 home runs and 9 RBI's.

In the top of the ninth inning, Dodger fans sang Happy Birthday to Ethier as he took his position in left field.  The fans then had more to cheer about as closer Javy Guerra ended the game with a double play off the bat of Andrew McCutchen, notching his third save of the season and securing the Dodgers' fourth victory of the year.

The Dodgers got the crowd cheering early in the first inning, as they got on the board by manufacturing a run with some fundamental baseball.

Dee Gordon led off with a single and stole second base, and Mark Ellis moved him over with a ground ball to the Pirates’ second baseman.  Matt Kemp then drove in Gordon with a ground ball to the shortstop.

Clayton Kershaw continued to show why he is the defending National League Cy Young Award winner, as he tossed seven brilliant innings of one-run baseball, striking out seven batters and allowing only four hits.

After surrendering a leadoff triple in the second inning to Pirate third baseman Casey McGehee, Kershaw escaped the jam by striking out the next two batters and getting former Dodger catcher Rod Barajas to weakly fly out to right field.

The Pirates finally got on the board in the seventh inning with back-to-back singles by Alex Presley and McCutchen.  McGehee then flied out to left, but LA's Juan Rivera threw to third as both runners advanced instead of throwing to second base and keeping the double play intact.  Presley then scored on a weak ground ball to shortstop, ending Kershaw’s shutout.

The Dodgers will attempt to win the three game series against the Pirates tomorrow with Chad Billingsley taking the rubber.  Billingsley looks to earn his second victory on the season after a dominant 8 1/3 scoreless-inning, eleven-strikeout performance against the Padres this past weekend.

By Joshua De Bets
Contributing Writer for The Daily Sports Herald

1 comment:

  1. Ethier has appeared to be extremely focused this year, all throughout spring training and here at the start of the season his business like demeanor makes me believe he's going to hit that 20 homerun threshold this year.


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