And on a gorgeous Monday evening, there was an Andre Ethier sighting.
That would be two-time All-Star Andre Ethier, not the right-fielder who had been struggling since the break.
Ethier, who was batting .152 (3 for 35) without one RBI since the All-Star break, crushed a two-run homer in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie.
With rookie Rubby De La Rosa allowing only three hits in his six innings, and with the Dodgers surviving a rough ninth inning, they went on to win 8-5 for their third consecutive victory before an announced crowd of 28,860.
De La Rosa (4-4) allowed only three hits, all singles, in his six innings. The three hits came consecutively with two outs in the third, Dexter Fowler’s basehit scoring the Colorado run.
Steve Dilbeck and The Times' Dodgers reporters
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Rare as water in the desert, and just about as needed, the Dodgers managed one of their best comebacks of the season Saturday.
Down 6-2 after just three innings, they scored three times in the bottom of the inning, tied it in the seventh on a wild pitch and then won it in the ninth thanks to a trio of hit-starved batters.
Rod Barajas snapped an 0-for-22 streak with a leadoff single in the ninth. He was erased on a would-be Trent Oeltjen sacrifice fly, but Jamey Carroll (1 for his last 21) singled and then Rafael Furcal (5 for 49) doubled into the left-center gap to score Oeltjen.
The Dodgers, who were just 3-45 when trailing after six innings, had rallied for a 7-6 victory before an announced crowd of 34,590.
It was only the third time all season the Dodgers have come back from a four-run deficit.
Don't look now, but Dodgers have won three straight; Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley lead 6-1 win over Tigers
Meanwhile, back at the yard, a strange occurrence.
The Dodgers won again, won with the kind of pitching they were built around, won without Matt Kemp having to do a single heroic thing, won for the third time in as many games.
The Dodgers fairly knocked the Detroit Tigers around, winning 6-1 Tuesday as Andre Ethier crushed a two-run homer and right-hander Chad Billingsley started to get back on track.
The little three-game winning streak matched their season high, something they’ve accomplished three other times this season. If they scratch out a fourth consecutive victory Wednesday afternoon, it will also mark their first series sweep.
There’s a time to show faith in your players, and a time to touch base with reality. Don Mattingly showed way too much love for his miserable bullpen Tuesday night.
They are not very good to begin with, and then they just got beat up for four wild days in Colorado. Not that it’s all their fault. Of the seven arms in the bullpen, only two were supposed to be here -- and that’s counting Blake Hawksworth, who might not have made it if Ronald Belisario ever discovered north from south.
The Dodgers sport the worst bullpen (4.80 ERA) in the National League. It ranks 29th in the majors, ahead of only Minnesota, though they are closing fast.
Yet Tuesday night in a 1-1 game after seven innings, with the guy who is their one legitimate stud in the rotation -- Clayton Kershaw -- throwing smoothly and in command, Mattingly lifted him to start the eighth ... because the Reds pinch-hit Miguel Cairo to lead off the inning?
At that point, Kershaw had allowed four hits and two walks (one intentional). He had thrown a reasonable 104 pitches. It was still his game to win or lose. Anyway, you would think so.
Tuesday looked like too many Dodgers games this season: a close contest, a big hit that never came, a struggling bullpen, another defeat.
The Dodgers wasted a strong outing by Clayton Kershaw, falling, 3-2, to the Reds as the relievers faltered once again.
The loss dropped the Dodgers to 31-38 and a season-high eight games back of the San Francisco Giants.
It was a pretty terrific pitching duel, though as it’s been going for the Dodgers lately, not quite terrific enough for their starting pitcher.
Kershaw, who pitched well early in his last start before struggling in the sixth and seventh innings and losing to Colorado, held the Reds without a hit through the first three innings.
By then he was up, 1-0, thanks to an unearned run the Dodgers scored in the first inning.
Dee Gordon led off with a single to center. Jamey Carroll walked to advance Gordon to second.
Andre Ethier then hit a ground ball that should have resulted in a double play. But Brandon Phillips’ relay to first went wide for an error. First baseman Joey Votto retrieved the ball quickly, but not quickly enough to even make a play on the speedy Gordon, who scored without a throw.
Power is not the Dodgers' friend. Sometimes, seems barely a fleeting acquaintance.
The Dodgers began Sunday's game ranked 20th in the majors with 49 home runs -- and 19 had come from one player, Matt Kemp.
So imagine their delight when they fairly exploded for three home runs against the Rockies, powering their way to a 10-7 victory -- which, with the game being played in Colorado, naturally required them to hang on.
Kemp got his seemingly daily home run, a solo shot in the fifth that pushed his National League-leading total to 20. And catcher Rod Barajas followed two outs later with another solo shot, his first home run since May 13.
The biggest blow, however, came from an unlikely source: James Loney.
The Dodgers seem to be collecting these things, the painful, haunting type of losses that can tear a team up. The devastating kind that can cripple a season.
They added one more Thursday night, a loss that seemed almost inexplicable considering how the game had been going -- Clayton Kershaw dealing, Matt Kemp absolutely crushing.
The Dodgers twice staked Kershaw to a four-run lead, but the Rockies used a five-run seventh to escape with an 9-7 victory that must have mystified Rockies Manager Jim Tracy as much as Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.
Kemp was almost personally destroying the Rockies. He homered, tripled and doubled to drive in three, leaving him a single from hitting for the cycle. He struck out in his two other at-bats, including as the potential tying run in the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, Kershaw had shut the Rockies out through five innings. By then, Kemp had hit a solo home run in the fourth, and Andre Ethier had singled in another and Kemp tripled home two more in the fifth.
A 4-0 lead with Kershaw in control? As close to a lock as the Dodgers could hope. Practically a dream scenario.
But be careful what you wish for. The Rockies scored three times in the sixth, two coming off a Troy Tulowitzki double.
The Dodgers, however, came right back with three more in the seventh. Kershaw started the rally with his second single of the night, which in retrospect, might have been part of his eventual problem.
A Dee Gordon bunt single was thrown away for an error by catcher Jose Morales, allowing Kershaw to score. Also perhaps, seriously wind himself.
A Casey Blake double scored Gordon, an Ethier sacrifice fly scored one more, and the Dodgers were back up 7-4. All seemed in control.
Mattingly elected to let Kershaw start the bottom of the seventh, a decision he might like to have back. Kershaw loaded the bases without getting an out.
Then the bullpen imploded. Scott Elbert gave up a run-scoring single to Carlos Gonzales and walked Todd Helton to force in a second run. Mike MacDougal took over and fared no better. He gave up a two-run single to Tulowitzki, hit Ty Wigginton with a pitch to reload the bases and then walked pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to force in the go-head run.
The Dodgers were left 29-35, but knowing some losses stung more than others.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Ted Lilly pitched well again. Trouble was, the other guy pitched really well.
The other being Philadelphia left-hander Cliff Lee, who shut the Dodgers out through seven innings and pretty much dominated in the Phillies' 3-1 victory Monday.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly tried an all-right-handed lineup against Lee to no avail. He started Casey Blake at first for James Loney, sat Andre Ethier and batted Marcus Thames in the third spot.
Mattingly called Thames "hit or miss" against Lee, noting he had hit three home runs and struck out 15 times in 36 career at-bats.
The Dodgers made little noise against the Philly ace, but the two times they did, Thames unfortunately went the "miss" route.
The Dodgers opened the game with leadoff singles by Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles -- both now slated for the bench with the Monday roster additions of Juan Uribe and Dee Gordon.
Thames, straight off the disabled list with a strained quadriceps, promptly bounced into a double play. Matt Kemp was called out on strikes, and the Dodgers had come up empty.
The Dodgers got two-out singles from Carroll and Miles again in the fifth, and Thames struck out. Those were all the chances they got against Lee (5-5), who struck out 10 and walked one.
The Phillies didn’t fare much better against Lilly, but cashed in on their opportunity in the third.
Wilson Valdez open the bottom of the inning with a double and Lee’s bunt sacrificed him to third. Lilly, who had walked only 12 batters in 72 2/3 innings, then walked Shane Victorino on four pitches.
Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard followed with run-scoring singles.
Lilly gave up only five hits in his six innings, but three of them came in the decisive third. He walked one and struck out four, giving up two runs. It was the seventh consecutive game he went at least six innings.
The Phillies added a third run in the eighth against reliever Mike MacDougal on a pair of walks and a Carlos Ruiz double. Walks killed the Dodgers all night.
The Dodgers did manager to avoid being shut out by scratching a run together against interim Phillies closer Ryan Madson in the ninth.
Uribe led off with a single, and then Gordon -- making his major-league debut -- pinch ran. Loney, who entered the game when Blake was thrown out arguing strikes, singled and the speedy Gordon took third. Ethier pinch hit and bounced out, Gordon scoring on the play.
But Madson struck out Rod Barajas and pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro to earn his 13th save.
After two uplifting victories the past two games in Cincinnati, the Dodgers had hit a familiar wall in Philadelphia.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers first baseman Casey Blake tosses the ball to pitcher Ted Lilly, but Philadelphia's Dominic Brown was safe on the play. Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
Who’s the Dodgers’ closer?
Manager Don Mattingly responded to the question with one of his own: “How do I know?”
Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Vicente Padilla and Kenley Jansen are on the disabled list.
Mattingly said that if his team has a ninth-inning lead, he is inclined to call on one of the pitchers recently promoted from the minors to close: Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert or Rubby De La Rosa.
Veterans Matt Guerrier and Mike MacDougal have been the Dodgers’ most consistent performers out of the bullpen, but Mattingly said he would like to continue using them in middle-relief roles. Mattingly pointed to how Guerrier and MacDougal have often entered games in the middle of innings with men on base and limited the damage.
“If one of our younger guys get in trouble, it’s nice to have a MacDougal or Guerrier right there to come in the middle of an inning and know where they’re at,” Mattingly said. “They know how to pitch in those situations.”
-- Dylan Hernandez
Photo: Left-hander Scott Elbert will be among a group of relievers who could be used in a save situation while a handful of potential closers are on the disabled list. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire
Manager Don Mattingly and eight Dodgers are scheduled to sign autographs before Sunday’s game to raise funds for Missouri tornado victims.
Mattingly and pitchers Scott Elbert, Ted Lilly, Chad Billingsley, Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra, Mike MacDougal and Ramon Troncoso are scheduled to sign from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
The manager and players will sign as part of the team’s Viva Los Dodgers celebration in parking lot six.
A $5 donation is encouraged by the club. Cash and checks will be accepted. All funds are scheduled to be given to the Salvation Army.
The Dodgers said Elbert, who is originally from Joplin, Mo., is spearheading Sunday’s effort.
-- Steve Dilbeck