Gwynn's big triple lifts Dodgers over Giants

Gwynn's big triple lifts Dodgers over Giants

Gwynn's big triple lifts Dodgers over Giants
LOS ANGELES -- A night after the Giants edged Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers took it out on two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.

Tony Gwynn's three-run pinch-hit triple in the fourth inning rallied the Dodgers to a 6-2 win over San Francisco on Wednesday night in the rubber game of their three-game series that included the Major League debut of Scott Van Slyke, who became the first Dodger with an RBI pinch-hit in his first at-bat in 51 years.

With hobbled Matt Kemp (three strikeouts) and rookie leadoff hitter Dee Gordon each going 0-for-5, the rest of the Dodgers' offense came alive. In addition to Gwynn and Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe had two hits and scored two runs each, while Andre Ethier and Bobby Abreu had two more hits apiece.

"They're solid," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "They have pitching, they have a lineup with depth, they have speed, they have guys in the heart of the order -- you see the RBIs they have; that's something we're missing."

Abreu replaced the injured Juan Rivera in left field and Van Slyke replaced him on the roster, as Rivera went on the disabled list with a torn left hamstring. Jerry Hairston could join the DL before play resumes Friday night with a strained left hamstring while Kemp keeps his consecutive-games-played streak intact but is noticeably restricted by a milder left hamstring problem.

Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley spotted the Giants a two-run lead through three innings. When his slot in the batting order came around with one out, one in and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, manager Don Mattingly sent up Gwynn, and Billingsley angrily slammed his bat on the dugout floor.

"I heard him slam the bat. I'm not sure if he was mad at me," said Mattingly. "At that point, he's made 85 pitches and it's a 2-1 game. We had a chance to score runs and at most he's got one more inning. Really, it was a no-brainer."

Gwynn, who lost playing time with the addition of Abreu, laced his bases-clearing triple into the right-field corner.

"He was missing with his heater and I thought he'd come in and I fought off a few fastballs and got a changeup he left up," said Gwynn, 3-for-8 as a pinch-hitter. "My bat stayed in the zone long enough, which tells me my swing is right."

Jamey Wright, who issued a walk-off walk in Sunday's loss in Chicago, rebounded with two perfect innings of middle relief to get the Dodgers to their reshaped back of the bullpen -- Ronald Belisario, Josh Linblom and Kenley Jansen -- with the bullpen turning in five scoreless innings with a day off Thursday to rest.

"We were able to grab the momentum when Wright shut them down," said Mattingly. "Those two innings, that's the key right there to get to where we're set up the way we want to go. If you give them the momentum back, you get a crazy game."

"I went back to attacking the zone and not trying to be too perfect early," said Wright. "I got a few strikeouts in a few games and all of a sudden maybe I'm a strikeout pitcher and started getting behind in counts. I had to get back to getting three outs with 11 and 12 pitches. Throw the sinker down the middle and let the movement get them out."

The Dodgers added a run in the sixth on a triple by Ellis and a broken-bat pinch-hit single by Van Slyke, who learned at noon during Triple-A Albuquerque's day game that he was coming to the Major Leagues, arrived at game time and was wiping shaving cream off his face after the game as teammates welcomed his immediate contribution.

"I wasn't expecting this, but it was cool," said Van Slyke, last year's Minor League position player of the year and son of former Major Leaguer Andy Van Slyke. "I wasn't as nervous as I thought. I got the first swing out of the way and after that, it was just another game."

The last Dodger with an RBI pinch-hit in his debut at-bat was Carl Warwick on April 11, 1961.

This was no pitchers' duel, as Lincecum was charged with four runs in five innings, one inning longer than Billingsley lasted while allowing two runs. Lincecum is 2-3 with a bloated 5.89 ERA.

San Francisco scored a run in the second inning on Lincecum's infield single to shortstop and added to its lead in the third. With one out, Melky Cabrera's liner got past Kemp, and the rebound off the fence went past Kemp the other way, ruled a triple. Buster Posey singled home Cabrera.

Kemp, however, saved a run before the inning was over. With two out and runners on first and second, Joaquin Arias singled to center, but Nate Schierholtz rounded second too far. Kemp's throw behind him nailed Schierholtz retreating to second to end the inning before Brandon Belt reached home trying to score from second base.

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