NEW YORK (CBSLA.com) — There hasn’t been much to celebrate for Dodger fans ever since Zack Greinke went down with a broken collarbone. But then, if there’s anything baseball has taught us, its that when things look like they’re falling apart, they are really falling into place.
Mark Ellis hit two home runs and went 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs to power the Dodgers, who have been abysmal at the plate with runners in scoring position this season, to a 7-2 win over the Mets on Tuesday night. The win marks their first back-to-back victories in nearly two weeks.
Ellis’ first homer, the 100th of his career, was a solo shot in the fifth inning that tied the game at 2. Mets starter Jonathon Niese had left the game in the third inning after taking a Mark Ellis liner off the right ankle.
His second shot was a 3-run homer in the eighth inning that made it 5-2. The Dodgers would increase that lead to 7-2 later in the inning off a deep double off the bat of A.J. Ellis to score Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier.
Mark Ellis, still batting out of the second spot, had not hit a home run this season before Tuesday.
“We’ve been lacking some big hits lately,” Ellis said. “We haven’t done a good job early on this season.”
Manager Don Mattingly made it clear that he intended to shift the batting order around earlier in the week, and it appears to have helped.
Matt Kemp, who is batting .236 and was close to hitting his first home run of the season in the ninth inning, moved up from the cleanup spot to the 3-hole, where he went 2-for-5. Kemp sent a fly ball deep to right-center, where it looked like it had a chance. But the ball was off the middle of the wall, and instead, Kemp had his first extra base hit of the road trip.
Gonzalez moved into the cleanup spot where he went 1-for-4 and scored 2 runs.
Clayton Kershaw, who has never lost a start to the Mets, cruised through the first two innings, but ended up not pitching into the sixth inning, giving up a pair of runs through five innings. He seemed to struggle a bit with his control, giving up four walks to go with his five strikeouts.
The 2011 National League Cy Young winner has walked at least four batters in two straight starts for the first time since April 2011.
The win came as welcome news to the Dodgers, who learned earlier that they had lost right handed pitcher Chad Billingsley for the year. BIllingsley, who opted for elbow rehab instead of surgery during the off-season, will have Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, and his recovery time is estimated at 12 months.
The Dodgers will look to Ted Lilly, coming off shoulder surgery, to stop the bleeding in the starting rotation on Wednesday in game 2 against the Mets. Lilly is the eighth Dodgers pitcher to start a game this season.
But one of the many beautiful aspects about baseball is that, when a team is struggling where you least expect them to struggle, help often comes from somewhere you don’t expect it.