There are approximately 11,862,298 different ways a baseball team can win a game. That includes blown calls, acts from above, and animals on the field. Pretty much zero of those ways involve Juan Uribe hitting one of the longest homers you’ll see in Dodger Stadium and Andre Ethier setting up the winning run with a stolen base that had absolutely no business being attempted, much less completed.
That’s baseball, sometimes, except that the “sometimes” seems to be happening just about every single night. Usually, that’s what makes baseball so great, but right now, it’s what’s making this team something unbelievably special.
Actually, after Uribe’s second-inning blast gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead, we weren’t really sure how this was going to end, because it was a pretty quietly well-played game after that. Zack Greinke made one mistake to Lyle Overbay that ended up in the seats for the first run, then allowed the tying run in the fourth on an Overbay groundout, but was otherwise effective over seven innings. Ronald Belisario & Kenley Jansen — about whom enough simply cannot be said right now — pitched in two more scoreless frames to get it into the ninth.
Despite the fact that Andy Pettitte never really looked all that great — especially in the first inning, when Yasiel Puig came about three inches from parking one over the center field wall — and allowed every Dodger in the lineup other than Carl Crawford to get at least a hit, he managed to minimize the damage through seven innings of his own. So let’s skip ahead to the ninth, where a sellout crowd saw A.J. Ellis ground out and Ethier poke a hit to left. I’ll be honest at this point — even before the inning started, I was hoping against hope that Uribe (due up third in the inning) would get a chance to come up to be the hero. Well, he got that chance, and he was well aware of it. Too aware of it, really, because he was coming out of shoes on every swing, even losing his grip on the bat at one point.
Sadly for those of us hoping for Uribe’s tale of redemption to come full circle, Shawn Kelley struck him out, and up stepped Mark Ellis. For reasons I still don’t quite understand — perhaps a missed hit-and-run? — Ethier ran on the second pitch, a called ball, and really didn’t beat the throw. But the ball slipped out of Robinson Cano‘s glove on the tag, putting Ethier in scoring position for Ellis to drive a full-count ball into the left field gap.
Ethier came around, and we have a stolen base, a Uribe blast, and some quality pitching to thank. Now 27-6 in their last 33 and 10-1 since the All-Star break, the Dodgers have a comfortable 3.5 game lead in the West.
I keep saying this can’t last. For every rational reason in the world, it can’t last. It shouldn’t last. But it keeps lasting. And while I may not be able to explain, I sure am enjoying it.