Ethier, Rivera spearhead Dodgers' comeback

Ethier, Rivera spearhead Dodgers' comeback

Ethier, Rivera spearhead Dodgers' comeback
LOS ANGELES -- Hours after signing a five-year, $85 million contract extension Tuesday, Andre Ethier delivered a game-tying hit in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Minutes later, Juan Rivera stole his thunder with a three-run home run to give the Dodgers a 5-2 victory over the Angels in the second game of the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium.

"Andre, it's kind of fitting he gets the big hit for us to tie it up and then Juan's hit put us over the top and really took the pressure off," manager Don Mattingly said. "We just hung in there."

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That's exactly what the Dodgers did all night thanks to an effective performance by Aaron Harang, who threw seven innings and gave up only two runs -- neither of which was earned.

But while Harang kept the game close, it was Ethier and Rivera who delivered the fireworks in the bottom of the eighth.

With the Dodgers trailing, 2-1, in the eighth and men on first and second, Ethier came to the plate with a chance to show why the new Dodgers' management locked him up through 2017. The two-time All Star delivered a 2-2 pitch into right field for his 500th career RBI to score Dee Gordon, who reached on a fielder's choice and stole second on a disputed call.

With all the emotions surrounding the news of his extension -- coupled with dealing with L.A. traffic to the stadium, having to get his two kids ready and worrying about what he should wear and say at his news conference earlier in the day -- Ethier admitted he had trouble sleeping the night before. But with the game on the line, the right fielder, who had been struggling lately, looked rejuvenated.

"It's been a long, fun day," Ethier said. "If any exclamation point could put a great cap on the day, it'd be getting this big win against our crosstown rivals."

One pitch after Ethier tied the score at 2, Rivera, who played six seasons in Anaheim, sent a first-pitch cutter from Angels starter Jerome Williams into the left-field stands to give the Dodgers their first lead of the day.

"I was so happy," said Rivera, who added Williams got him out on the same pitch during his last at-bat. "I stood there for one second and then ran hard. It's hard to hit a home run at night here, so I had to hit that one really good."

However, Ethier and Rivera almost didn't have the opportunity to come up in the eighth.

With two outs and A.J. Ellis at the plate, Gordon took off for second and beat out the tag on a close call that Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out of the dugout to dispute.

Up until that point, Williams, who scored a run in the third after hitting a double, was dealing and seemingly on his way to a victory.

"It's obviously a big call to get out of the inning, but we had a lot of chances, and you can't really hang winning and losing on if an umpire misses a call," said Scioscia, who was honored for his 13 seasons with the Dodgers with a bobblehead Tuesday night. "You have to play at a higher level, and tonight we just didn't get it done."

"[Williams] was pitching a heck of a game," he said. "We all thought he had enough stuff to get out of the inning, and he did get out of the inning. Unfortunately, we didn't get the call."

Late in the game, it appeared as if the Angels were going to get it done and earn their 11th straight road victory, thanks to a pair of errors in the third and sixth innings by the Dodgers.

Adam Kennedy had trouble fielding a a bouncing grounder to second to allow a run to score with the bases loaded in the third. Then, in the sixth, a miscommunication by Kennedy and Gordon led to a dropped toss at second base to give the Angels another run and the lead.

Three singles -- by Ellis, Ethier and Rivera -- to lead off the bottom of the fourth had given the Dodgers their first run. Rivera scored Ellis on an RBI hit between the third baseman and shortstop to tie the score.

However, the Dodgers kept the score close and Mattingly credited Harang's performance as the reason why the team was able to eventually come back late in the game.

"You don't want to be behind late because you're not going to win too many of those," the manager said. "It's nice to get one, but you only get that if you hang close."

Alex Angert is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.