POSTED: 9:06 a.m. HST, Sep 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES >> Shane Victorino slid into home plate for the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning off of Adrian Gonzalez’s double in the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday to salvage a split of the series in which all four games were decided by two runs or fewer.
Los Angeles remained 4 1/2 games behind NL West-leading San Francisco and a half-game behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card.
Gonzalez, who also scored the tying run in the game, had struggled since the Aug. 25 deal that brought him, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto to Los Angeles from Boston. He was 6 for 33 in eight games with his new team, then struck out twice and grounded out in his first three at-bats Sunday.
With the Dodgers down to their final two outs, Gonzalez lined an 0-2 pitch into the right field corner off J.J. Putz (1-5).
“I got ahead of Adrian right there and tried to elevate to get him to chase it, but I just didn’t get it up enough,” said Putz, who gave up a single to Mark Ellis with one out and a walk to Shane Victorino. “The walk is the one that hurts. I was rushing to the plate, trying to be quick and try to keep Ellis from trying to swipe the bag.”
Facing a 3-1 count, Victorino was ready to pounce and his aggression carried over to the basepaths.
“I was going to go until Tim (Wallach) told me to stop,” said Victorino, who came tearing around from first base to score. “He waved me and I said, ‘Here we go.”’
Matt Kemp celebrated the Dodgers’ ninth walk-off win of the season by running up to Gonzalez and soaking him with a container of water during a postgame interview.
“These are fun moments,” Gonzalez said. “They don’t come too often so you got to enjoy them.”
“I think it’s a matter of time before this offense gets clicking on all cylinders,” Victorino told the Los Angeles Times. “Hopefully, we can get to where we’re scoring five to 10 runs a game. That’s what we’re capable of doing.”
Ronald Belisario (4-1) pitched a scoreless ninth and struck out three while allowing a double to Chris Johnson.
“We haven’t played too well at home and it’s something we need to do a better job of,” Ellis said, noting a walk-off win could be a catalyst. “Sometimes that can get a team rolling. To build off it, you just got to have good at-bats.”
Despite blowing an early one-run lead, the Dodgers recovered after winning 2-1 behind Beckett on Saturday night.
“It’s a matter of time before this offense gets clicking on all cylinders. We’re capable of scoring 10, 15 runs,” said Victorino, who joined the Dodgers from Philadelphia a month ago. “Sometimes it takes a certain time to get people going in the same direction.”
John McDonald and Miguel Montero each scored a run and drove in two others for the Diamondbacks.
Kemp hit his 18th homer leading off the second to put the Dodgers up 1-0.
Montero’s two-run homer with two outs in the fourth inning gave Arizona a 3-1 lead after McDonald’s homer leading off the third had tied the score 1-1.
The Dodgers pulled to 3-2 in the sixth on Andre Ethier’s RBI groundout to second base that scored Kemp, who walked and advanced to third on a double by Hanley Ramirez.
Arizona extended its lead to 4-2 in the seventh when McDonald reached on an infield single to pitcher Shawn Tolleson, scoring Paul Goldschmidt, who singled, took second on Montero’s single, and was sacrificed to third.
The Dodgers made it 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh on Victorino’s two-out RBI single that dropped in right field between Chris Young and Justin Upton.
Dodgers starter Chris Capuano gave up three runs and four hits in five innings, struck out four and walked none. He made 78 pitches, his second-fewest of the season.
Arizona rookie starter Wade Miley allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked two.