Dodgers sweep Seattle as Cruz homers in fifth straight
By Ken Gurnick and Greg Johns
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers roughed up Seattle starting pitcher Taijuan Walker for five runs in four innings and ran their win streak to four games with a 5-2 victory in the 2015 Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Night at Dodger Stadium.
In five-plus innings, Dodgers starter Brett Anderson allowed a fourth-inning home run by Nelson Cruz (who hit four in the three-game series) and an unearned run in the sixth, when a baserunning blunder by Robinson Cano at third base torpedoed the Seattle rally. J.P. Howell, the fourth Dodgers reliever, got the save.
"We caught a break with Robbie off third, obviously a huge out for us," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Andre Ethier's RBI single in the first inning was followed by Scott Van Slyke's two-run double. The Dodgers added one run in the second inning on three walks from Walker and an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez, then another run in the third inning on Joc Pederson's RBI single. Gonzalez's two hits gave him 19, setting a Dodgers record for the first nine games of the season.
The three-game sweep dropped the Mariners to 3-6. In addition to Cano's gaffe, they had a runner thrown out at the plate and saw another poor performance from what is expected to be a strong rotation.
"We got in the way of our talents on a lot of different fronts tonight," said Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. "It's one of those games we're going to have to put to rest and get ready for our homestand."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED With bat and glove: Van Slyke, starting in left field because of a minor ankle injury to Carl Crawford, had a two-run double in a three-run first inning for the Dodgers' first first-inning lead of the season. Van Slyke, son of Mariners coach Andy Van Slyke, also made a diving catch of a Cano sinking liner in the fourth.
All he does is hit homers: Cruz continued his long-ball barrage for the Mariners with another blast in the fourth inning off Anderson. It was Cruz's fourth home run of the series and sixth in the last five games. After starting the season 1-for-15 with no home runs or RBIs, the big man has racked up six long balls and nine RBIs in the past five days, while going 9-for-19. Only one Mariner has ever homered in more than five straight games, as Ken Griffey Jr. shares the MLB record with eight straight in 1993. More >
Gold Glove Joc: Pederson, who stole an extra-base hit from Mike Zunino with a diving catch in the second inning, threw out Zunino trying to score from second on pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano's one-out single in the fifth inning. More >
Don't walk this way: Cano made a colossal mental error in the sixth inning when he apparently thought the bases were loaded and began strolling home after Logan Morrison drew a one-out walk. But there actually were only runners on second and third and the Dodgers threw out Cano as he tried to scamper back to third once pitcher Paco Rodriguez spotted the miscue and fired to catcher Yasmani Grandal. What had looked like a promising rally quickly died when Zunino grounded out for the third out to leave Seattle trailing, 5-2. More >
"I felt in that situation the dumbest guy in the game. I wish he'd thrown it into left field. Those are the things that make you embarrassed, being in the game so long and those little things happen in a game. I told the manager, 'It's my fault, I should have been paying attention." -- Cano on his baserunning mistake
"I think we missed the boat a little bit. The guy had success all the way through [the Minor Leagues]. You think maybe it's not as good as it looks. He comes up [last year] and maybe they haven't seen him yet. Ten years later, hey, he's pretty good. That [radar] gun doesn't always tell the story." -- Mattingly on how rookie reliever Yimi Garcia was overlooked
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Veteran lefty J.A. Happ makes his second start as Seattle opens a nine-game homestand Friday against the Rangers in a 7:10 p.m. PT game at Safeco Field. Happ threw well in a no-decision in his debut against the A's. He's 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA against the Rangers, whom he hasn't faced since 2012.
Dodgers:Clayton Kershaw looks for his first win, coming off an underwhelming loss in Arizona. Kershaw's last start against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium was a no-hitter June 18. He was 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA against Colorado last year. The Dodgers are hopeful Yasiel Puig (hamstring) and Crawford (ankle) return from injuries.