A.J. Ellis, we’ve been waiting all year; it’s a nice way to welcome you back.
Ellis’ fifth-inning home run was not only the first of his major league career and one of his two-run scoring hits in his first MLB game since July 8, but it also came just 115 miles from his hometown of Cape Girardeu, MO. Over the last 24 hours, Dodger catchers are five for nine with three homers and a double. Dioner who? After not having hit a homer since 2008, Ellis now has three in the last two months, clearly brought about by the fact that he may or may not have been reading our gentle ribbing about his lack of power on the family of Dodger blogs.
Of course, Ellis wasn’t alone in helping the Dodgers destroy the Cardinals 9-4 on their way to their first sweep in St. Louis since 1993. Ellis’ second-inning single merely made him the eighth consecutive Dodger to reach to start the inning against Cardinal lefty Jaime Garcia, which included one of James Loney‘s three hits on the day and Juan Rivera‘s first extra-base hit, a run-scoring double to deep left. Loney’s third multi-hit game in four days gives him 17 total bases in his last 17 at-bats, a fact noted by many, but don’t get too used to it: after a day off Thursday, the Dodgers are back at home on Friday. (To be fair, they do face the Rockies, so maybe it’ll be a wash.)
Rivera followed by hitting a two-run homer in the 6th inning, accounting for the 8th and 9th Dodger runs, and pushing his line with Los Angeles to .322/.367/.496. Since these are the 2011 Dodgers, that merely served to prompt a barrage of “yeah, but how much is Ned Colletti going to toss at him this offseason simply because he’s made a great first impression” jokes, understandable given what we’ve seen in years past with Rod Barajas and others. That’s a discussion for another day; for now, I’m cognizant of Rivera’s somewhat mediocre past (Toronto does not drop value for nothing lightly) while greatly enjoying his upgrade over Marcus Thames, particularly as Andre Ethier struggles mightily.
Eugenio Velez grounded out hitting for Hiroki Kuroda in the eighth to extend his misery to 0-27, but there’s roster moves on the way: Kenley Jansen and Dee Gordon could each be activated by the weekend. (Update: that was quick; right after the game, the Dodgers announced via Twitter that Josh Lindblom had been sent down for Jansen. Your time is still coming, Eugenio.)