Andre Ethier leads Dodgers’ slugfest win
Reporting from Philadelphia — Manny Ramirez was still out of the lineup, and out of sight, for that matter.
So was Russell Martin. And Rafael Furcal was on his way to joining them on the disabled list.
But on Tuesday night, the Dodgers got back Andre Ethier.
In the Dodgers’ 15-9 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Ethier had his first four-hit game of the season, driving in three runs and scoring four.
The run total was the Dodgers’ highest of the season.
Manager Joe Torre credited the ability of new 1-2 hitters Scott Podsednik and Ryan Theriot to get on base, but added half-jokingly and half-seriously, “When Ethier hits like that, it makes me a smart manager.”
Although Ethier hadn’t gone anywhere physically, his production had plunged in the last couple of months, a stint on the disabled list disrupting what was a triple-crown season through the middle of May.
It was Ethier’s seventh game with multiple runs batted in since he was sidelined May 15 because of a fractured pinkie. Before that, he had 12.
But Ethier appeared to be gradually working his way into form last week, as he hit .321 with two home runs in the Dodgers’ recently concluded seven-game homestand.
“I feel like my mechanics are getting back to what makes me a good hitter,” Ethier said.
Ethier drove in Podsednik for the first run of the game in the first inning with a single to center field. His double to right-center field in the third inning drove in Theriot. He knocked in starting pitcher Vicente Padilla with a single to right field in a four-run fourth inning that put the Dodgers ahead, 7-1.
Ethier drew a walk and scored in the Dodgers’ four-run sixth inning, after a three-run fifth inning for the Phillies.
“That was big for us,” Torre said of the sixth inning, which increased a 7-4 lead to 11-4.
Ethier reached base six times, as he singled in the seventh inning and was hit by a pitch in the ninth.
The Dodgers collected 19 hits, as six players had multi-hit games. The team that couldn’t score after the All-Star break has scored 23 runs in its last two games.
“These things go in cycles,” Ethier said. “Hopefully, this is a cycle we can roll until the end of the season.”
The game was a particularly memorable one for Jay Gibbons, the 33-year-old outfielder who was called up from triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday.
Gibbons last played in the majors three years ago, when he hit .230 and was identified in the Mitchell Report as a user of human growth hormone.
Gibbons was three for four with a home run, his first in the big leagues since he hit one against Felix Hernandez as a member of the Baltimore Orioles on July 12, 2007.
“It’s been a while,” Gibbons said.
The only disconcerting aspect of the game for the Dodgers was their pitching. Torre used four relievers, including Octavio Dotel, whom Torre summoned with two outs in the ninth inning with the Dodgers ahead by eight runs.
“Every time you bring another pitcher in, you’re shortening your list for tomorrow,” Torre said.
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