You’re supposed to remember your firsts. Of course, it helps if it’s actually memorable in a good way.
Clint Robinson waited a long time for his first major league hit. He’d spent most of the last nine seasons toiling in the minors. Four hitless at-bats for the Royals in 2012 were the only glimpses he had of the big leagues. When he turned 29 in February after joining the Dodgers -- his fourth organization -- there was little reason for the first baseman to believe things would be different.
But Monday night Robinson did collect his first hit in the majors, and he made it absolutely memorable.
With the Dodgers locked in a scoreless game with the Indians and Andre Ethier looking as if he would be stranded after a lead-off triple in the seventh, Robinson’s pinch-hit single up the middle provided the Dodgers with a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Dodger Stadium.
With Dan Haren throwing his finest game as a Dodger – holding the Indians to one hit in seven scoreless innings – Robinson’s pinch hit was the only run the Dodgers would need.
With the Giants off Monday, the victory pushed the Dodgers a half-game up on San Francisco to take sole possession of first place in the National League West for the first time since April 24. The Dodgers have won 13 of their last 17 games.
Haren made it possible for Robinson to play hero. The only hit he gave up was a third-inning infield single to Michael Bourn that came on a force-out play that was overturned on review.
Haren (8-4), the team’s No. 5 starter, pitched like an ace. Despite sporting a 5.08 earned-run average in his last six starts, he was brilliant against the Indians. He walked one and struck out five.
But Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber matched Haren’s scoreless routine until the seventh and Ethier led off with the triple. But after Juan Uribe bounced out to short, A.J. Ellis was called out on strikes and when Kluber got up, 0-2, on Robinson, things still weren’t looking promising for the Dodgers.
But Robinson -- who had been 0 for 2 as a Dodger with a walk -- worked the count full and then bounced a hit right up the middle to drive in the game’s only run.