Guerrero's stock on the rise after capping comeback win
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig homered for a second consecutive game, had three hits and developed a tight hamstring that will be examined Tuesday. With all that, he was only the second-most celebrated Cuban Dodger on Monday night.
The star, also for a second consecutive game, was Alex Guerrero, who lined a bases-loaded single to right-center with two out in the bottom of the 10th inning to cap a 6-5 comeback win over the Mariners at Dodger Stadium.
Guerrero is the Cuban player with the narrative of a $28 million mistake, a legit hitter with defensive deficiencies and a Major League job only because the Dodgers were so eager to sign him that they gave him unprecedented veto power over a Minor League assignment.
Guerrero, by the way, isn't buying that narrative.
"No, I think I earned the job in Spring Training," he said. "I took advantage of the fact the manager put me in the lineup."
And in the last two days, after injuries to third basemen Juan Uribe and Justin Turner, manager Don Mattingly did just that and was rewarded with four RBIs on Sunday and two more Monday night, including the walk-off game-winner.
Mattingly mentioned Guerrero's hit off left-hander Tyler Olson as the last of many big and small plays that brought the Dodgers back after starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy dug a hole by serving up four home runs in the first five innings.
Mattingly started with two plays by Scott Van Slyke, who started in left field for Carl Crawford. Van Slyke threw out Logan Morrison in the second inning trying to stretch a single in the corner into a double. And in the Dodgers' three-run fourth inning, Van Slyke walked to load the bases and tagged to advance to an uncovered second base on Guerrero's sacrifice fly, putting himself into scoring position for Joc Pederson's two-out, two-run single.
Mattingly also cited a double leading off the winning 10th-inning rally by Andre Ethier, inserted in a double-switch. After Puig grounded out, Adrian Gonzalez was walked intentionally, Howie Kendrick (who already had two hits) worked a walk to load the bases, Crawford struck out and Guerrero followed with the game-winner.
"A lot of good things had to happen to come from behind against that club," Mattingly said.
With Chris Hatcher and J.P. Howell bypassed, the bullpen turned in three scoreless innings using Pedro Baez, Paco Rodriguez, Joel Peralta and Yimi Garcia, the latter picking up his first Major League victory.
As for Guerrero, he was asked if he felt he had to prove to himself he could play in the Major Leagues after his difficult first professional season, spent mostly in the Minor Leagues, when he was recuperating from having a piece of his ear bitten off by former teammate Miguel Olivo.
"There's never been a doubt in my mind I could play in the Major Leagues," he said. "There is always an adjustment when you come to a new country and are switched to a new position [from shortstop to second base]. But I never doubted that."