A.J. Ellis was having himself a rough night. He had struck out, bounced into a double play with the bases loaded, been unable to corral a wild throw home from Matt Kemp.
Safe to say all was forgiven when Ellis’ walk-off single allowed the Dodgers to come back for a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on a hot Saturday night before a sellout Dodger Stadium crowd of 52,455.
On a night when the hot-hitting Hanley Ramirez hit a colossal three-run homer, Ellis was able to redeem himself in the bottom of the ninth after the Phillies had tied the score in the top of the inning.
Ramirez, who is 20 for 40 at the plate during an 11-game hitting streak, also started the Dodgers' rally in the bottom of the ninth with a single off Justin De Fratus. After Kemp struck out, Andre Ethier walked to bring up Ellis.
On the seventh pitch he saw, Ellis lined his game-winner to right field as Ramirez ran through third base coach Tim Wallach’s stop sign.
The victory was the Dodgers' seventh in eight games and actually left them just five games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.
The Dodgers thought they had a nice little 3-2 victory all ready to wrap up when they sent out closer Kenley Jansen to start the ninth.
But the Dodgers’ defense was still to be heard from.
Michael Young led off the ninth with a single to right. It turned into trouble when Yasiel Puig failed to get his glove down on it, the ball rolling past him for an error as Young took second.
Chase Utley’s groundout advanced Young to third, and he was ready to stay there when Jimmy Rollins flied out to medium center. But after Kemp caught the ball, he came up firing, throwing the ball some 30 feet up the first base line.
Young, seeing this, now took off for home. Catcher A.J. Ellis couldn’t immediately handle the bouncing throw, and Young scored without a play. Kemp was charged with an error.
Domonic Brown then tripled, but Jansen struck out Delmon Young.
The Phillies’ Utley tried to equal the early exploits of Ramirez, powering two homers, but both were of the solo variety.
The Dodgers should just walk Utley every time he comes up. He hurt them for the second consecutive night. After going two for three with a double on Friday, he slugged solo home runs in both the first and third innings off Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Fortunately for the Dodgers, in between came the monster blast from Ramirez.
The Dodgers started the hot night with a 9-2 career mark against left-hander Cliff Lee, but went into attack mode in the first inning.
Puig singled with one out and moved to third when Adrian Gonzalez walked. That brought up the hot-hitting Ramirez.
Ramirez absolutely crushed the first pitch Lee offered, sending it over the center-field wall and onto a camera platform at an estimated 439 feet away.
It was near the spot where Jose Canseco hit his grand slam in the 1988 World Series. Canseco’s blast actually hit the top of an NBC TV camera that was on a smaller platform just above the fence.
The Ramirez three-run homer landed on a large, elevated platform maybe eight feet higher. Canseco’s blast, of course, must be the most overlooked grand slam in World Series history, since that’s the game Kirk Gibson hit his game-winning homer.
Ramirez now has six home runs in just 24 games, third on the team behind Gonzalez (10) and Puig (seven). He has an 11-game hitting streak going.
After Utley’s second homer in the third -- and his 11th on the season -- it stayed a 3-2 game until the top of the ninth.
Ryu went seven innings, allowing the two runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out six.
Lee would have matched him, save for Ramirez, also going seven innings and allowing three runs on just four hits and three walks, with 10 strikeouts.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times