Jay Gibbons makes his case: Two-run homer in 11th snaps Dodgers' six-game losing streak, 4-2
He was given one more chance, probably a last chance, by the Dodgers this spring, who signed him to a triple-A contract. He tore it up at Albuquerque and waited.
Finally, on Aug. 8, he got the call. He was back in the major leagues. And now Gibbons is trying to make his case to stay, to be a part of whatever team the Dodgers put together for next season
He made his case a tad louder Friday night, drilling a two-run homer in the 11th inning to lead the Dodgers to a 4-2 victory over the Astros.
The victory snapped the Dodgers’ six-game losing streak.
In just 35 at-bats, Gibbons (.343, four homers, 12 RBI, six runs) has been more productive as the man he replaced as the team’s left-handed pinch-hitter, Garret Anderson (.181, two, 12 and eight) in 155 at-bats.
Matt Kemp led off the 11th with a single off Houston reliever Fernando Abad, and Gibbons followed with his two-run homer. He had three RBIs on the night.
Much earlier in the game, Hiroki Kuroda and Houston’s J.A. Happ were locked in a scoreless affair through four innings.
Then in the fifth, that rarest of events, the Dodgers scored a run.
Rod Barajas opened with a single to left and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Kuroda. Jamey Carroll, signed to be a utility player but who has now played in 125 games, continued his unexpectedly productive season by lining a single into left-center field to score Barajas.
It proved a short-lived lead. In the bottom of the fifth, singles by Angel Sanchez and Brett Wallace put runners on the corners, and Michael Bourn’s bloop hit to center tied the score.
The Dodgers, however, came right back with a run in the sixth. With Wilton Lopez taking over for Happ, Kemp drove a hit into the right-center gap that Hunter Pence misplayed into a triple.
Gibbons, entering the game earlier as a pinch-hitter, singled up the middle to score Kemp.
Houston tied it again in the seventh. Wallace hit a ground-rule double off struggling reliever Ronald Belisario and Bourn singled off left-hander George Sherrill to drive him in the tying run.
Kuroda went six innings for the Dodgers, giving up one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out four.
Octavio Dotel (3-3) pitched the final two innings of relief to earn the victory.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers left fielder Jay Gibbons, left, is congratulated by center fielder Matt Kemp after hitting a two-run home run in the 11th inning Friday night. Credit: George Bridges / McClatchy-Tribune