Where do you even start with this one? Adam Kennedy – Adam Kennedy! – had a four-hit night. James Loney had three. Of the 16 times the starting lineup made it on base tonight, a full 13 came from the 5-8 group of Kennedy, Loney, A.J. Ellis, & Tony Gwynn. On the mound, Ted Lilly isn’t charged with a single earned run despite allowing a mammoth Matt Holliday blast which still probably hasn’t landed. (That’s a story unto itself, but suffice to say, remember this, fans of ERA).
Oh, but there’s more. Josh Lindblom & Kenley Jansen combined to get the final six outs via strikeout – with Lindblom especially impressing by striking out Rafael Furcal, Holliday, and David Freese around a single and a walk – except that in the process, Jansen allowed pinch-hitter Lance Berkman to tie the game with a solo home run, which is almost certainly going to re-ignite the closer argument none of us want to have. (Jansen got the win though. Wins are great.)
And then there’s A.J. Ellis. Good lord, there’s always A.J Ellis. In the ninth against Fernando Salas, the Dodgers put men on the corners after an Elian Herrera walk and Kennedy’s fourth (!) hit of the night. Andre Ethier struck out, and the Cardinals chose to put Loney on intentionally to face Ellis, who had already driven in Loney with a single earlier in the game. They chose… let’s say, poorly. Not against Ellis, not this year, not when he’s on his way to Kansas City. Ellis watched ball four go by, and the Dodgers, improbably, incredibly, unbelievably, take the first game of a big series against St. Louis.
The Dodgers may not have escaped with merely a victory, however. In the top of the seventh, Shane Robinson bounced into a fielder’s choice at short, which Dee Gordon flipped to Mark Ellis in hopes of turning a double play. Tyler Greene, running from first, took out Ellis with a hard (but clean) slide, flipping Ellis and looking for all the world like his left knee had buckled. Ellis shook it off and stayed in to finish the inning and line to first in the bottom of the frame, but was replaced by Justin Sellers in the field for the eighth. Any speculation on Ellis’ status is premature, but it should be noted that with all of the other injuries, the only healthy infielder on the 40-man roster is Ivan De Jesus, who the club seems determined not to play.
Clayton Kershaw takes the hill tomorrow against Jake Westbrook, and at this point absolutely nothing would surprise me. Well, other than Gordon showing signs of life, that is, now that his 0-5 put him down exactly to the Mendoza line. A conversation for another time, though, because tonight belongs to Adam Kennedy and A.J. Ellis. I’ll take “things I never, ever, ever expected to write ever” for $600, Alex.