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Walk-off Gwynn: Dodgers shock Angels
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com | 6/26/2011
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have been losing so much that the rare win doubles as a moral
One came along Sunday, as Tony Gwynn's RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth
gave the Dodgers a 3-2 walk-off win over the Angels to halt a three-game losing streak and take
some of the sting out of an otherwise costly 4-8 homestand.
"It's a great feeling, that's for sure," said manager Don Mattingly. "You hear the noise out there
and guys get excited. From our standpoint, we're looking for any spark, and you never know
when that spark comes. Is it today, can we sustain and add on to that?"
Clayton Kershaw (8-3) struck out 11 without a walk and became the first Dodgers pitcher to
throw consecutive complete games since Chan Ho Park 11 years ago. He ran his two-month win
streak to six, even though he allowed a game-tying homer to Vernon Wells with two outs in the
top of the ninth on a 3-2 pitch. Kershaw also singled, scored the first Dodgers run and turned a
difficult double play on a bunt.
"When doesn't he pitch terrific?" asked Gwynn. "And he's the one that got that two-out single in
the seventh that gave me a chance to score him right there. Clayton's Clayton. He pitches well,
throws up zeros for us, keeps us in the game and this time we were fortunate."
But the Dodgers had to unleash the rare comeback rally to win, launched with an equally rare
walk to slumping Juan Uribe leading off the ninth. Speedy pinch-runner Dee Gordon not only
stole second to put himself in scoring position, but after being bunted to third by Jamey Carroll,
scored on a disputed sacrifice fly from Aaron Miles.
Gordon and center fielder Peter Bourjos' strong throw met at the plate, with 200-pound catcher
Jeff Mathis blocking the 150-pound Gordon. But replays appeared to show that Mathis' glove
never touched Gordon. If Gordon had been called out, the Dodgers lose.
"I didn't know if my foot got through," said Gordon, although a spike tear of Mathis' pants
indicated he did not get through. "But when I saw the umpire hadn't made a call, I reached around
with my hand for the plate."
That's when plate umpire and crew chief Tom Hallion called Gordon safe with the tying run,
bringing a protest first from Mathis, then from Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who used to block
plates for a living.
"He got there," said Hallion. "It was bang-bang."
"What [Hallion] said was [Gordon] got through me," Mathis said. "It's really frustrating. If we get
the call, it's game over. Peter made a great play, and I thought I had it covered. It just didn't go
"[Hallion] called him safe. He was out, but you can't hang your hat on an umpire's call," said
Scioscia. "The runner was sliding right into [Mathis'] glove. That's what happened. There was a
tag, no doubt. The fact we didn't get the call, sure, it's a win or a loss, but we walked two guys to
create the situation."
That play only tied the game. Then it was up to Gwynn, whose two-out triple in the seventh had
cashed in Kershaw's single. Gwynn -- starting in left field and leading off in place of the
slumping Gordon despite a .215 average -- worked a full count on closer Jordan Walden before
lacing a clean line single to right field as pinch-runner Trent Oeltjen scored from second without
"I know I'm a decent defender, I strive to be a good all-around player," said Gwynn, who also had
a bunt single. "It's fun to be at the bottom of that pile, getting beat up like that."
In outdueling Jered Weaver (they have a rematch Saturday in Anaheim), Kershaw took over the
league strikeout lead and became the first Dodgers pitcher since Derek Lowe in 2007 to throw
three complete games in the same season.
Mattingly showed confidence in Kershaw to let him bat with two outs in the seventh while
trailing, 1-0, and he delivered with a single that led to the first run, raising his average to .297.
"That's my goal every time out," he said of the complete game. "It's definitely something I take
pride in, to go deep in a game. It's big."
But the home run by Wells on a slider into the left-field box seats nearly turned it into a
"Went from bottom to the top real fast," Kershaw said. "That's the awesome thing about this
game, it can change like that. Tony picked me up today. It was a big swing of emotion."
Kershaw also helped himself with his glove, bouncing off the mound to make a back-hand stab
of Weaver's sixth-inning popup bunt, then throwing back to double Mathis off at second base.
"It's kind of a testament to Clayton that he understands that all aspects of the game are important
for him -- being able to hold runners, being able to throw strikes on both sides of the plate, use all
his pitches, the defensive side, and he's put time in on his hitting," said Mattingly.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major
League Baseball or its clubs.