It is Game No. 161. Giants lead, 4-3. The Dodgers can keep playoff hopes alive by winning. With one out, Ellis cracks a certain double to left-center, then does the uncharacteristic, the unthinkable. He tries to stretch it into a triple.
"I'm thinking," he says now, "one out, one-run game." A sacrifice fly ties it.
Ellis is out from there to the Golden State Freeway. He says he made a bad read.
"I saw the ball come off the wall," he says, "and it dropped straight down. I figure [center fielder Angel] Pagan will have to chase it down. It won't come off the wall to him. I thought I had time. He got to it faster than I thought he could."
Now, with two out, Shane Victorino sends a triple into right field. Ellis could have scored on hands and knees from second. Scully, ever so gently, says it's moments such as these, Bill Buckner moments, that make the game distinctive, memorable.
Now it is the ninth, last chance for the Dodgers. Two out, rocket man Dee Gordon on second and Ellis at the plate.
Scully, in succinct and superb summary, says, "Well, it figures."
Ellis says now, "There was no way the guy [reliever Sergio Romo] was going to get me out. I couldn't wait to get up there."
Ellis battled. Romo battled. Then Ellis got enough of a pitch to get it out of the infield, but not enough to keep it from settling into an outfielder's glove.
Ellis says that, in the aftermath, his teammates were great, as were Mattingly and even General Manager Ned Colletti. Mattingly says, although that game is long forgotten, it may also "serve as motivation for Ellis."
"You learn from failure," he says. "That's why I want my three kids to play athletics."
The long road beacons Ellis again. The 2013 season looks smooth, but he knows those bumps are inevitable.