He was having such a terrific overall game, it’s too bad Dee Gordon’s last play of the night had to be a sacrifice bunt attempt he popped up to first. Gordon was clearly not happy.
“I’ve just got to get that down,” Gordon said. “I bunt way too often to pop that ball up.
“I pride myself on my bunting and that’s something that just can’t happen. I was frustrated because I work too hard on that part of the game.”
Yet there it went, up in the air, softly landing in the glove of Detroit’s Victor Martinez on Tuesday, Dodger Chone Figgins left standing at first in the 10th inning.
Carl Crawford’s double scored Figgins to win the game for the Dodgers and take some of the sting out of the play, and just maybe enable Gordon to appreciate the other parts of his game that did work well.
He led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Tigers ace Max Scherzer, drilling a 1-2 pitch out to left that surprised everyone, including him.
“I got lucky,” Gordon said. “I was thinking three (triple) and then the crowd let me know it was out. I actually didn’t see it.”
It was only the third home run of his still-young career, but Gordon did not respond particularly well after his previous two. He hit his first May 11, 2012 and then proceeded to hit .185 in his next 14 games. He hit his second last May 11 and hit .088 in his next 11 games.
The concern by the Dodgers was that after hitting a homer, he started subconsciously trying to put the ball in the air and not keep it on the ground to maximize his great speed.
But Gordon seems to be a mature, grounded player this time around.
“The only other time I put the ball in the air tonight was on the bunt,” Gordon said. “So I kinda showed you guys that I’m not going to be putting it in the air. I got right back to myself and played my game.
“I’ve been learning. I learned from the experience I had with that. I was definitely conscious of it and trying to keep the ball on the ground.”
Gordon beat out an infield hit in his second at-bat and grounded out twice prior to the missed bunt.
But Gordon is also looking increasingly comfortable at second base. A career shortstop, he didn’t really start playing second until the end of last season.
Yet he is not only making the routine plays, he’s contributing some nice defensive work. He started a sharp double play in the eighth.
“I’m just going to play good, solid defense,” he said. “The team needs me to play solid defense and get on base, and that’s what I’m going to do.”