A.J. Ellis propels Dodgers to 1-0 win over Padres

A.J. Ellis propels Dodgers to 1-0 win over Padres
A.J. Ellis celebrates after hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly for the only run of the game Saturday night against the Padres. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

Catcher A.J. Ellis lifted the Dodgers to a walk-off, 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, driving in Adrian Gonzalez with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The win moved the Dodgers back into first place in the NL West, half a game ahead of the San Francisco Giants

Closer Kenley Jansen pitched one inning of scoreless relief and earned the victory as the Dodgers improved to 28-18 against division opponents.

Gonzalez led off the ninth with a double to center field. Right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush struck out Matt Kemp and intentionally walked outfielder Andre Ethier, then third basemen Juan Uribe drew a walk to load the bases for Ellis.

Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm made his first start since May 14 and had his best outing of the season. In nine previous games (eight starts) against the Padres, Maholm had a 1-6 record and 4.56 earned-run average, but on Saturday he shut them out for six-plus innings, giving up two hits, walking none, striking out four and making only 65 pitches.

The Dodgers and Padres plodded through most of the game, combining for eight hits and no runs before the bottom of the ninth.

Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy held the Dodgers scoreless for eight innings and struck out eight.

Yasiel Puig provided the first touch of drama in the bottom of the third inning when he was ejected for arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire David Rackley. Puig looked at three straight strikes — all fastballs — in the at-bat, which ended the inning.

Puig's last previous ejection was on June 11, 2013, for fighting against Arizona.

Carl Crawford, who was activated from the disabled list Thursday, entered the game in left field after the ejection. Kemp shifted from left to center and Ethier moved from center to right.

The Dodgers put the leadoff man on in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but couldn't create a run. Miguel Rojas walked to open the third, Gonzalez singled to start the fourth, Maholm walked in the sixth, and Kemp walked leading off the seventh.

Rojas provided a defensive highlight when he ended the top of the eighth emphatically with a long, cross-body throw that retired Padres second baseman Irving Falu.


Ethier recorded his 1,218th career hit, a single in the second, moving him into a tie with Steve Sax for seventh on the Dodgers' all-time list.

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