Dodgers hold on to secure win for Lilly

Dodgers hold on to secure win for Lilly

Dodgers hold on to secure win for Lilly
DENVER -- So this is what owning a $2 billion baseball team is like.

Purchasing the Dodgers and taking the keys to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday morning, Guggenheim Baseball Management saw its first-place team mash three homers (none by Matt Kemp), nearly blow a seven-run lead, have starting pitcher Ted Lilly (side strain) and third baseman Juan Uribe (left wrist) injured, but escape Coors Field with a 7-6 win over the Rockies.

"That's what they get," a smiling manager Don Mattingly said of his new bosses. "The excitement of it." Nonetheless, Mattingly said the entire night was fun for him, right down to watching embattled closer Javy Guerra strike out slugger Carlos Gonzalez to end the game with the tying run on third base as the Dodgers, at 17-7, matched their best start since 1983.

"It seems like no lead is really safe here," Mattingly said. "And [the Rockies] seem to do it all the time when you watch the highlights."

Dee Gordon had the first Dodgers highlight, not only hitting his first Major League home run leading off the game, but even calling it before the game to teammate Mark Ellis, who had four hits. The other Ellis in the lineup, catcher A.J., continued his impressive start with a two-run homer and an RBI double, raising his average to .305. And Andre Ethier walloped a three-run homer, his sixth of the season, to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead before a batter was retired.

Mattingly downplayed Lilly's injury, while the pitcher conceded it isn't getting better and offered no assurance that he wouldn't need to miss a start.

"Hope not," said Lilly, off to a 3-0 start and 9-2 lifetime against Colorado.

Mattingly didn't downplay Uribe's wrist injury, an aggravation of a sprain that sidelined him for four games last month. Mattingly said Uribe reinjured it during batting practice Tuesday, which left the bench short on right-handed hitters late in the game.

Lilly said the right oblique strain that bothered him his previous start caused him to shut down Sunday's bullpen session early and forced him from Tuesday's game after six innings and only 79 pitches, few of them fastballs.

"I was throwing the kitchen sink at them," Lilly said. "I was thinking about [the side] early, and in the fifth it kept getting a little worse. I've had this in the past, but minor. I thought it was getting better. I only feel it when I throw. I started the game and felt good, but it crept up on me."

Lilly left with a five-run lead, but that meant Mattingly got into the bullpen early, and the lead was trimmed to 7-5 after Josh Lindblom allowed three runs in the seventh -- two more than he allowed in April; then 7-6 after Kenley Jansen allowed a run in the eighth.

So it came down to Guerra, who was saved with a fine defensive play from Mark Ellis on Marco Scutaro's grounder just before Gonzalez (who had homered off Lilly) fanned. Mattingly said he could see conviction in Guerra's pitch selection and execution, which was the topic of a meeting they had Sunday.

"Absolutely, the last couple days I was thinking about it," Guerra said. "I understand what he meant. It's a mindset."

Gordon got the game off to a stunning start with his first Major League home run (only eighth professionally), and even in Coors Field it was a no-doubter that hit the second-deck façade in right field.

"He was talking all day that he'd hit a home run," said Mark Ellis. "He called it."

"I don't know what to say," said Gordon. "I kind of hinted to Mark, but I can swing the bat. I know me, I know what kind of power I have. I've lived with me for 24 years."

Even with the home run, Gordon said the "highlight of the night for me" was a fifth-inning walk that drove Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin from the game.

"I've been trying to work every count," said Gordon, who has only six walks to 20 strikeouts.

After allowing Gordon's home run leading off the game, Chacin allowed singles by Mark Ellis and Kemp, then a three-run blast to center by Ethier before an out was recorded.

"Our starting pitching tonight was awful," said Colorado manager Jim Tracy.

The part of the lineup that doesn't include Kemp and Ethier contributed in the third inning, as requested by manager Don Mattingly. Tony Gwynn singled, stole second, took third on a bungled pick-off throw and was doubled home by A.J. Ellis.

Eric Young's diving catch of Gordon's drive to left-center robbed the Dodgers of another run to end the inning. But after Gwynn's double leading off the fifth, A.J. Ellis homered to left.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.