Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
CHAVEZ RAVINE (CBSLA.com) — The Dodgers were not used to the idea of facing an American League club so early in the season.
In fact, the Dodgers had never played an interleague game so early in a season as Tuesday night’s ball game against the Detroit Tigers, widely considered one of the most powerful teams in the league, in the entire storied history of their franchise.
Dee Gordon hit the third home run of his career and Carl Crawford hit a walk-off single in extra innings as the Dodgers held on to beat the AL Cy Young Winner Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Haren, who allowed only one unearned run on four hits in his Dodger debut in San Diego on Wednesday, evaded trouble early in the game by neutralizing the speedy Rajai Davis, who landed a leadoff bloop single just beyond the glove of a lunging Hanley Ramirez.
After Davis reached base, and subsequently stole second, Haren retired Ian Kinsler on a grounder to first, and was able to snag a comebacker from Torii Hunter to hold the runner at third before getting Miguel Cabrera to ground out to end the inning.
To add a bit of irony to the first inning, Dee Gordon opened things up offensively against the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer, with a solo home run to right-center field to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead. The homer was Gordon’s third of his career.
Gordon would ultimately show off a more commonly used weapon from his arsenal in the third inning, beating out a leadoff infield single.
Austin Jackson, who hit 12 homers in 2013, brought the Tigers to life in the second with a 1-out solo home run to left to tie the game at one run-apiece.
Both pitchers settled down after the first inning, with Dan Haren striking out four batters through six innings of work. Scherzer, meanwhile, struck out eight batters and walked one through seven innings.
The Dodgers got after Scherzer again, however, in the seventh inning, when Matt Kemp walked and Juan Uribe doubled to deep right. With runners on second and third, and one out, Kemp was able to score on a short sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Justin Turner.
The sacrifice gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Chris Withrow continued his domination on the mound, striking out one through a scoreless inning, that represented his 17th consecutive retired opponent. Chris Perez also saw an inning’s worth of work, walking one batter before retiring the inning on 14 total pitches.
Kenley Jansen allowed a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler in the ninth, but had a tremendous strikeout of Miguel Cabrera for the second out, following a Kelly groundout to third.
His momentum would not last.
Jansen gave up a 2-out RBI single to Victor Martinez to tie the game at two runs, after Matt Kemp ended up on the ground in an awkward slide toward the ball, which dropped in shallow center field.
The game extended into extra innings, with the Dodgers about to send Brandon League to the mound when Carl Crawford connected on a line drive that got past Davis in left field, who appeared to have lost his footing.
Chone figgins, who had walked earlier in the inning, scored easily from first base to give the Dodgers their first walk off of the year.
The Dodgers were dealing with the news of losing catcher A.J. Ellis for at least four-to-six weeks, after he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus in his left knee. Ellis, who underwent the 20-minute procedure early on Tuesday was replaced by Tim Federowicz, who had a dismal Spring Training in Arizona. Through 30 at-bats in Spring Training, Federowicz batted .067 with a double and two RBIs. Butera hat 14 at-bats through Spring Training, batting .286 with a home run and two RBIs.
On Tuesday, Federowicz went 1-for-3 with three strikeouts.
On Federowicz’ first at-bat of the game, he fouled a ball to deep right, with well-respected outfielder Torii Hunter giving chase. Hunter was unable to make a grab on the ball, despite a tremendous slide which landed him right into the wall. Hunter almost immediately rolled over, grabbing the back of his left knee.
Hunter continued to play for another three innings, but eventually left the game in the fifth inning to be checked out.
The Tigers announced in the top of the sixth that Hunter had suffered a left knee contusion.
The Dodgers are set to wrap up the two game series against Detroit on Wednesday, and expect to face Anibal Sanchez.