Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
TORONTO (CBSLA.com) — The Dodgers made a statement that captured the very essence of their ascent from a last place bewilderment to a serious post-season contender.
For the first time this season, the Dodgers took the field in sole possession of first place.
With a 16-hit attack by the lineup in Monday’s season-high 14-5 win, Los Angeles reached a season-high four games above .500, and looked to win their ninth consecutive game on the road in game 2.
It is only the fifth time the Dodgers, since moving to Los Angeles, have accomplished the feat (1963, 1970, 1977, and 2004).
Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier both homered in a four-run eighth as the Dodgers rallied from a five run deficit to beat the Blue Jays 10-9 for their ninth straight road win.
The Blue Jays got things rolling in the third inning when Jose Reyes hit an RBI double off the wall in left center, and later scored on a single by Jose Bautista, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead.
Andre Ethier responded with his twenty first double of the season with runners on first and second. The double was hit to left center, and took an unfortunate bounce over the wall, scoring only Gonzalez from second, and holding Hanley Ramirez at third.
The Ethier-Ellis duo again proved to be effective — except this time, it was Mark Ellis, instead of A.J., who came through when he grounded one to right, just out of the reach of second baseman Brett Lawrie to score Ramirez and tie the ball game at two runs.
Toronto retook the lead in the fourth when Mark DeRosa connected to hit an opposite-field homer over the right field wall.
Capuano dug himself and the Dodgers a deeper hole later in the inning when he gave up a double to Rajai Davis, and let what looked like an easy ball slip right past him, allowing an infield hit for J.P. Arencibia. Capuano then missed his location with a pitch hung right over the plate for Lawrie, who aired it deep to center. The ball would have been an extra-base hit if not for the stretch of Andre Ethier in center. Instead, it was a sacrifice, and the Jays took a 4-2 lead.
The fifth inning was no better for the troubled pitcher, leaving another fastball hanging for Bautista, who zeroed in and crushed the ball deep over the center field wall.
Capuano was relieved, and Carlos Marmol took the mound for his Dodger debut.
Marmol gave Dodger fans a taste of what Cubs fans have already tasted for some time.
Marmol, who was acquired from the Cubs two weeks ago, took the field with a 2-4 record and a 5.86 ERA.
Marmol saw four Blue Jays in his first inning as a Dodger, giving up a single, and a walk before getting out of the inning.
The deficit was cut to two runs when Jerry Hairston Jr. connected on a high fastball for his second home run of the season in the top of the sixth.
Just as quickly, however, Marmol restored the deficit by giving up a double to Arencibia, a wild pitch to advance him to third, an RBI single to Lawrie, and a two run shot to Jose Reyes, all before recording a single out in the sixth inning.
The Dodgers, again, brought themselves within two runs after Andre Ethier drew a bases-loaded walk and Ellis connected on a line drive single to left that scored two runs, making it 8-6.
A controversial call at home plate went in the Blue Jays’ favor when Nick Punto lined a bases-loaded pitch back to Dustin McGowin on the mound. McGowin recovered the ball and rolled it to home plate, right as Ethier was sliding in. Arencibia bobbled the ball, never actually gaining possession until after Ethier touched the plate.
Home plate umpire Mike Everett, however, called Ethier out to end the inning.
It was a setback.
However, in the eighth, with Darren Oliver on the mound, the Dodgers showed just why they have climbed the standings so willfully over the past month.
Crawford and Puig each got on board, and Adrian Gonzalez absolutely clobbered a ball deep into center and into the stands to give the Dodgers a 9-8 lead. It was Gonzalez’ 15th homer of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Los Angeles.
Andre Ethier then swung and connected to send a low line drive into right field. The ball, somehow, managed to stay up just long enough to clear the wall by what looked like no more than an inch. That inch was the difference, as Ethier’s home run, his seventh of the year, gave the Dodgers a 10-8 lead.
Kenley Jansen came in to close, but had an uncharacteristically scary ninth inning. With one out, Jansen allowed a pinch-hit double to Adam Lind, and gave up a walk to Emilio Bonifacio before getting Davis to fly to right. Arencibia then singled to left, making it a one-run game and putting the tying run in scoring position.
Brett Lawrie, who had gone 2-for-3 on the day, then stepped up to the plate, and aired one deep to left-center. The ball kept carrying, but eventually fell just before the warning track and Crawford made the catch to end the ball game.
The good news of the day for Dodger fans, apart from the hard-fought rally, was the return of Yasiel Puig’s speed. Puig ran out two infield hits, beating the throw both times, and stole second, showing that, while his bat has yet to fully return after the crash in center field at Coors Field, his speed is a good indication that things are on track.
The Dodgers, going for the sweep on Wednesday, will send Ricky Nolasco (6-9, 3.75 ERA) to the mound against Esmil Rogers (3-4, 3.84) to wrap up the road trip.