A.J. Ellis Lifts Los Angeles Dodgers to Walk-Off Win Over Philadelphia Phillies

The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled out a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night, thanks to the walk-off heroics of A.J. Ellis.

A night after drubbing the Dodgers 16-1, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Cliff Lee matched up in a battle of dominant left-handed starters.

The Phillies didn’t waste any time getting on the board on Saturday: second baseman Chase Utley continued his hot streak by mashing a curve from Ryu into the right field pavilion on the first pitch he saw, giving Philadelphia a 1-0 first inning lead.

Yasiel Puig continued his mastery of the league by lining a one-out single to center against Lee in the bottom of the inning, which was followed by a walk to Adrian Gonzalez – giving L.A. a prime opportunity to score early. Hanley Ramirez promptly crushed a high fastball to deep center for a three-run home run, shooting the Dodgers into a 3-1 lead and extending his hitting streak to 11 games.

Utley blasted another solo shot in the third (his seventh career long ball at Dodger Stadium), shrinking the Dodgers’ lead to 3-2. An inning later, Ryu put two runners on with one out but retired Lee on a fly out to Scott Van Slyke to end the threat.

Ramirez continued his blistering play with a leadoff double in the fourth, which was followed by walks to Matt Kemp and Van Slyke, loading the bases with nobody out. A.J. Ellis hit into a rally-killing 1-2-3 double play and Juan Uribe grounded to short, allowing Lee to escape without any damage.

Lee evaded damage again in the sixth, striking out Kemp and Van Slyke with Ramirez on second base to keep the score at 3-2.

Ryu finished with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, turning the game over the Dodgers bullpen to attempt to preserve the win.

Some insihgt on Ryu’s start, which was seven quality innings of two-run ball:

Mattingly used three different pitchers for all three outs in the eighth inning: Paco Rodriguez retired Dominic Brown to start the inning, before Ronald Belisario came in to face Delmon Young – who lined Belisario’s first pitch to center for a single. Pinch-hitter Laynce Nix doubled to left-center, putting runners on second and third with one out for Ben Revere. After an intentional walk to Revere and a fielder’s choice by Carlos Ruiz (nabbing Young at the plate), the call was made to bring in J.P. Howell to face pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen. Frandsen hit a hard ground ball to Ramirez at short, who threw to second for the force, ending the inning and keeping L.A. on top 3-2.

In the ninth, Kenley Jansen came in for the save, but a sequence of unfortunate defensive plays doomed him and the Dodgers’ precarious 3-2 lead. Michael Young dropped a fair ball down the line in right for a leadoff single – and scampered to second when Puig bobbled the ball for an untimely error.

Young advanced to third on a groundout from Utley, bringing up Rollins against a drawn-in Dodgers infield. Rollins lofted a shallow fly to center field. Young didn’t tag up immediately, but he scored when Kemp’s throw to the plate bounced up the line and wasn’t corralled by A.J. Ellis.

Dominic Brown then lofted a triple to left-center out of the reach of Andre Ethier, but Jansen recovered to strike out Delmon Young on three fastballs to end the frustration and set up the Dodgers’ opportunity for a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth.

Ramirez cracked a leadoff single (his 20th hit in his last 40 ABs) up the middle against new Phillies pitcher Justin De Fratus leading off the ninth. Some insight on the hit:

Kemp then struck out looking (his third of the night). Andre Ethier walked, and A.J. Ellis brought in Ramirez from second by lacing a single to right, pulling out an exciting win and picking up the slack of the top of the inning’s misplays.

With the win, the Dodgers improve to 37-43, five games behind the first-place  Arizona Diamondbacks in the wide open N.L. West. They’re also only a game behind the San Francisco Giants, who lost their sixth straight on Saturday and are now 38-42.

L.A. will try to pull out a series victory tomorrow afternoon at 1:10 behind Stephen Fife (2-2, 3.41 ERA) who will be matched up against Kyle Kendrick (7-4, 3.46 ERA).