By: Malaika Bobino
Los Angeles, CA – The Dodgers got their key players back to begin the second half. This part of the season determines the champs. Both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were activated today to assist in maintaing their first place position in the National League.
But the good thing about baseball is that it’s anyone’s game and tonight the standing ovation goes to Mark Ellis. His two-run homer in the sixth frame helped the Dodgers win the 2-1 decision over the San Diego Padres.
“It was a huge hit,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We were kind of stagnant there.”
“I knew I hit it good,” Ellis said. “It was a lot of fun to get a big hit tonight in front of the home crowd, in my first game back at Dodger stadium.”
It was a slow start for the Dodgers but things quickly picked up in the end. The Padres took an early 1-0 lead and maintained it most of the evening. Despite the hype of the Dodgers activating two of their best players, San Diego tried their best to keep the momentum of the game.
“It’s up to the pitcher to keep the at-bats to a low,” Cameron Maybin said. “We’ve been playing good baseball before the All-Star break. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off.”
Clayton Richard did a good job of keeping the Dodgers scoreless through five innings but the home run ruied his chances of a shutout. The bullpen picked up the other (Clayton) Kershaw after his early departure. He surrendered one hit, one run, three walks and six strikeouts.
“It was a battle,” said Kershaw. “I threw a lot of pitches and only could make it through six. You never want to just go six innings, but Mark had a huge hit and out bullpen shut it down. It was a good team win tonight.”
The expectations of Kemp were as expected, after missing almost two months with a strained left hamstring, he had a double and a single. Matt showed no signs of being injured and looked happy to be back. Ehtier who missed two weeks with a strained oblique didn’t find a hit all night.
“The crowd was electric, I don’t know if it was my return or for the fireworks,” Kemp joked. “It felt good to be back out there, it’s been awhile. We gave them something to cheer about, Mark came up with the big hit to give us the win.”
The Dodgers won their third consecutive home game to improve to 28-16 at Dodger Stadium. They also continue to hold first place in the NL. The San Francisco Giants still remain one game behind after beating the Houston Astros 5-1 last night.