Dodgers' three homers in eighth down Braves
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers launched three home runs off reliever Nick Masset in the eighth inning to beat the Braves, 6-3, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Trailing, 2-1, at the seventh-inning stretch, Los Angeles tied the game on an Adrian Gonzalez groundout in the seventh and Andre Ethier gave the Dodgers the lead the following inning with a solo shot to right-center field. Alex Guerrero and Jimmy Rollins followed suit with homers.
Dodgers starter Brett Anderson earned a no-decision, despite pitching seven innings and allowing two runs.
The Dodgers got to Atlanta's bullpen, putting up five runs after starter Williams Perez left the game. In just his second career start, Perez also received a no-decision, pitching six innings, allowing one run and striking out seven.
"I think just some of my pitches flattened out," Masset said. "I've had some good battles with these guys in the past. They put some good swings on it. That's just how the ball rolls sometimes."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Injury scare for Anderson: The Dodgers had another injury scare on the mound as Anderson was evaluated by trainers in the fifth inning. He threw a wild pitch and appeared to tweak his back, but stayed in the game after throwing three warmup pitches. The Dodgers have already lost two members of their Opening Day rotation to season-ending injuries. Catcher A.J. Ellis said he noticed Anderson was "stiff" after fielding a grounder from Andrelton Simmons in the fourth inning.
Bullpen shuffle: With their latest attempt to strengthen their bullpen, the Braves signed Masset last week, immediately after he was released by the Marlins. His eighth-inning entrance was influenced by the fact Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez did not want to use closer Jason Grilli for a third straight day. So with Jim Johnson slated to serve as the closer, Gonzalez went with Masset, who surrendered a total of three homers in 51 appearances last year. The only previous time he had allowed two homers in a game came during a one-inning appearance for the Reds against the Marlins on May 1, 2011. More >
Walking a thin line: Perez issued a bases-loaded walk to Ethier in the first inning and then induced a Scott Van Slyke double-play groundout with the bases loaded in the third inning. But Luis Avilan did not prove to be as fortunate when the Dodgers used a pair of walks and a single to load the bases for Gonzalez, who produced a game-tying RBI groundout.
Bunting issues: Rollins attempted to lay down sacrifice bunts twice, only to have Atlanta cut off the lead runner both times, once in the first inning and again in the seventh. Mattingly said Rollins voluntarily bunted with a runner on second and no outs in the first inning, but it was a designed play in the seventh. Rollins has zero sacrifice bunts this season.
"People have labeled him soft in his career and injury-prone, but this is an example to us just how tough this guy is." -- Ellis on Anderson
"He mixes his pitches really well. He's not afraid to throw his secondary stuff when he's behind in the count. That takes a while for even the most veteran pitchers. So far, I've liked the way he's pitched and progressed." -- Gonzalez on Perez, who despite encountering frequent trouble, has allowed just two runs in the 11 innings that have encompassed his first two career starts.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers scored more runs in the eighth inning (four) than they had in any of the past eight games. More >
After the Braves scratched Alberto Callaspo from the lineup shortly before Monday's first pitch, it started to sound as if his days with the Braves could be nearing an end. Callaspo's value as a utility man has diminished as Jace Peterson has thrived as the everyday second baseman. Peterson added to his recent accomplishments when he saved Perez by racing into shallow right field to make a diving catch of Gonzalez's fly ball in the third inning. More >
Braves: Julio Teheran will attempt to extend his recent success when the Braves and Dodgers resume their three-game series Tuesday night at 10:10 p.m. ET. Teheran has allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his past four starts. But the average velocity of his fastball (88 mph) during last week's start against the Rays, created some concern.
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw will get the start for Los Angeles on Tuesday. Kershaw's ERA of 4.32 is the highest of his career, but he has fared well against Atlanta. The lefty holds a 2.11 ERA in five starts against the Braves.
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