In a game that manager Joe Torre charitably called "sloppy," Ethier gave another of his Duke Snider impressions, finishing with a single, double and home run for the second time in three games, and he has now homered in three consecutive games.
He is 9-or-19 (.474) over the past five games with eight runs batted in and four homers in his last eight games, 15 RBIs in his last 18 games and a team-leading .464 slugging percentage.
His home run came off lefthander Jonathan Sanchez, seven of his last 10 hits have been for extra bases, including four home runs, and is playing like a man who noticed Andruw Jones coming off the disabled list and had enough of sitting on the bench or sharing his position with someone.
It was a typical, blue-collar, roll in the dust battle that the Dodgers and Giants have been having since, oh, about 1884. Sparkling plays, grievous errors both in commission and omission, and the kind of game you don't mind spending 50 bucks to watch.
Derek Lowe forgot to look Omar Vizquel that resulted in an easy stolen base and costing a run. Jonathan Broxton walked the first man in the Giants tw-run eighth with a four-run lead. Luis Maza, replacing Jeff Kent late in the game, failed to cover second on a stolen base attempt that cost a run. And James Loney dropped a foul popup and the Giants made him pay for it with an RBI single.
Giants left fielder Fred Lewis dropped a Nomar Garciaparra line drive and the Dodgers jumped on the mistake for five unearned runs. Pitcher Jonathan Sanchez had won six of his past seven starts but walked in two runs in the third.
"It was a sloppy game. We were lucky to win. We made too many mistakes," Torre said. "I'll take it though. ... Derek didn't have his best day but he battled and kept us close."
Los Angeles made a season-high three errors, two of them on consecutive plays in the eighth inning that allowed the Giants back into the game. Torre held a brief but to-the-point meeting after the game to point out their shortcomings but in the end, it was the patient approach that Torre has stressed that seems to be finally working out.
The return of the walking wounded drew mixed results.
Nomar Garciaparra doubled twice, walked and knocked in two but Andruw Jones was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, making one think it wasn't a bum knee that has his average waivering around the .150 area.
After losing a hat-full of games he should have won this season, Derek Lowe one on he probably didn't deserve, putting the Dodgers in a 5-2 hole after five innings. The five-run explosion in the sixth (all run unearned) gave the Dodgers a lead that they clutched to their chest and protected the rest of the game.
Hong-Chih Kuo was unhittable for two innings, Broxton surrendered two runs in the eighth to make it 9-7 and the imperturbable Takashi Saito saved his 14th game with a clean ninth.
A single, Lowe's throwing error and another single made it 2-0 Giants in the first inning. Lowe made up for it with a leadoff single in the third. Matt Kemp walked and Ethier singled to load the bases. Martin and Garciaparra walked to tie the game.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, Fred Lewis and Ray Durham singled, Lewis stole home and an Aaron Rowand double made it 4-2 Giants. Lewis doubled in a run in the fourth before Ethier slugged a homer in the fifth.
Trailing 5-3, Garciaparra reached base on Lewis' error in left. Andy LaRoche walked with one out and pinch-hitter Delwyn Young single to right for the first run. With two out, consecutive doubles by Ethier, Russell Martin and Jeff Kent put Los Angeles up 8-5.
Martin and Garciaparra doubled in the eigthth to boost the lead to 9-5 but he Giants tapped Broxton for a pair of runs, one unearned, to close to within a pair.
LaRoche homered to deep left field in the ninth to end the Dodgers scoring and a 1-2-3 ninth by Saito sewed it up.
In all, Los Angeles had nine extra-base hits, two each by Ethier, Martin and Garciaparra in his first game since late April because of a left calf injury.
Jones, five weeks after knee surgery, and Garciaparra will start again tonight. "I hadn't been at shortstop awhile, but it felt familiar," said Garciaparra, who missed two months with a calf muscle problem. "To see the game from that angle, it just felt like a familiar place."
The two veterans volunteered to return ahead of schedule after Juan Pierre tore up his knee and Furcal went down perhaps for good. Both he and Garciaparra played three Minor League games earlier this week. Torre said Jones was "still rehabbing," but Jones made no excuses.
The Dodgers and Giants go after it again today with RHP Chan Ho Park (4-2, 2.45 ERA) against the Giants' millions and millions of dollars man LHP Barry Zito (3-12, 5.99 ERA).
?Park will be filling in again for Brad Penny whose return from the disabled list has been put off one more cycle through the rotation. Park been at his best as a starter this year with a 1.20 ERA in three starts, striking out 19 in 15 innings.
Zito a thundering disappointment to the Giants after they paid him a long-term, mullti-million contract. He was thumped by the Cubs in his last start and is now 0-8 at AT&T Park. The lefty is 3-3 with 4.53 ERA in seven career starts against the Dodgers
Score by innings Los Angeles 002 015 011-10 San Francisco 202 100 020- 7 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Kemp rf 4 1 1 0 .281 Ethier lf 6 2 3 3 .281 Martin c 4 2 2 2 .309 Kent 2b 5 0 1 1 .265 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Jones cf 5 0 0 0 .159 Garciaparra s s 4 1 2 2 .257 Berroa ss 0 0 0 0 .194 Loney 1b 5 0 1 0 .303 LaRoche 3b 3 2 1 1 .212 Lowe p 2 1 1 0 .176 Young ph 1 1 1 1 .266 Kuo p 0 0 0 0 .000 Maza 2b 0 0 0 0 .225 Totals 39 10 13 10 San Francisco 37 4 11 4 Errors- Lowe (2), Maza (4), Loney (7). 2b hits- Loney (20), Ethier (20), Martin 2 (17), Kent (15), Garciaparra 2 (2). HR- Ethier (10), LaRoche (2). RBI- Martin 2 (42), Garciaparra 2 (7), Ethier 3 (37), Young (5), Kent (39), LaRoche (2). S-Kuo. SB- Kemp (18). LOB- Los Angeles 10, San Francisco (4). DP- Berroa, Maza and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Lowe (6-8) 5.0 8 5-4 0 2 4.02 Kuo 2.0 0 0-0 0 3 1.86 Broxton 1.0 3 2-1 1 0 3.72 Saito (sv 15) 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 2.21 HBP- Maza. T- 3:20. A- 40,477.Help Wanted: Shortstop
While that message was not flashed on the Dodger Stadium scoreboard, it nontheless is circulating in all the major league front offices after the report that Rafael Furcal's back surgery will sideline him for two months or more.
This puts the Dodgers in dangerous waters, much like GM Fred Claire when, without a second baseman, traded Pedro Martinez to Montreal for Delino DeShields.
The general manager's rule of thumb is, "If you trade an important member of your squad and you make the playoffs, it is worthwhile. If you don't make it you have made a terrible error."
The fact the club has battled back into the N.L. West race may lead Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti to a trade that involving at least one of his prized young players. Had they remained five or six games out, the urgency would not be felt so vividly.
"We're more open-minded to who we may have to move than we were in the past," said Colletti, who has doggedly refused to part with top prospects since he took over after the 2005 season, filling most holes with free-agent signings.
All-Star catcher Russell Martin is presumed to be untouchable, along with outfielder Matt Kemp, pitcher Clayton Kershaw and perhaps pitcher Chad Billingsley. But Colletti's comments certainly give the impression that James Loney, Andre Ethier and Andy LaRoche, as well as a possible veteran such as Derek Lowe, might be put into the mix.
"We'll try to see if we can go outside and get somebody," Colletti said. "It's not easy to find, especially at midseason."
And it is a decision that could determine his future. The right trade and a playoff spot could boost his stock immediately. A misstep, losing a part of the Dodgers seemingly bright future, could cost both he and the club dearly.
Colletti pointed out that because the Dodgers need an everyday shortstop and so few are available, if one were to be found it likely would take "a bigger deal rather than a one-for-one type deal."
"The first step is to find a solid backup; that's a step in the right direction," he told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "But an everyday player would be even better," he said.
Playing a part in the entire process is the fact that Furcal is a free agent after this season. Coming off a three-year, $39-million contract, the decision to take a chance on his surgically-repaired back or to look for an available free-agent is one to consider hard and long.
There is more than three weeks before the trading deadline, and Colletti pointed out that Nomar Garciaparra will have the opportunity to show that a deal is not necessary. "He deserves an opportunity to play and see where we're at," he said.
Sweeney on DL, Repko to Vegas
Struggling veteran Mark Sweeney was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring and outfielder Jason Repko was sent back to Ls Vegas to make room for Garciaparra and Jones.
Sweeney did not blame his .094 average on the injury but said he has been experiencing pain for three or four weeks. "It probably looks it had an effect, but it hasn't," Sweeney said. "It's a little thing. It's my front leg, so it's just getting out of the box."
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers finally seem to have gotten themselves untracked offensively, having have scored 26 runs over their past four games, half of them with two outs, while pounding out 23 extra-base hits. They had seven doubles Friday for the first time since 1988. The single-game record is eight, set in 1978. ... Matt Kemp had his 18th stolen base Friday, but he also struck out three times to go with a walk and a single. ... The Dodgers moved shortstop Rafael Furcal from the 15- to the 60-day DL. ...Jason Schmidt got knocked around in his rehab start at Las Vegas last night, but by all accounts, he pitched well and his velocity was good. ...The Dodgers will honor the U.S. Navy during National Navy Week on Monday prior to the game against the Braves. Pregame ceremonies will include a Navy enlistment ceremony for 40 recruits, the presenting of the colors and a ceremonial first pitch by San Clemente native Navy Rear Admiral Sonny Masso. Archie Folks, a member of the Navy Band, will sing the national anthem and the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs will also make a special appearance.