Starting on three days’ rest, Clayton Kershaw held the St. Louis Cardinals to one hit through give innings. However, while their ace was locked in, the Los Angeles Dodgers were unable to score against Cardinals starter Shelby Miller.
That was until the sixth inning, when Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez combined for back-to-back singles that left runners on the corners with no outs. Matt Kemp grounded into a double play that broke the scoreless tie, and Miller then hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch and walked Andre Ethier.
Juan Uribe’s RBI single added to the Dodgers’ lead and they once again had runners on first and third. With A.J. Ellis at the plate, Seth Maness threw a pitch in the dirt that rolled to Yadier Molina’s right. Ethier began to break for home and retreated to third after Ellis told him to hold.
Molina fired the ball down to Matt Carpenter in a pickoff attempt, though Ethier was called safe. However, the play went to review and the ruling was overturned, thus ending the Dodgers’ rally. Following the loss, Ethier explained the difficulty he had in picking up the ball, via J.P. Hoornstra of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
We talked right before that, ‘let’s go for it and try to get a run here.’ I saw (the ball) skip. It’s the one passed ball in the game that is the one that is probably the toughest. It’s the ball that is directly at the angle away from you. It doesn’t kick behind or to the side. You really can’t read it. It’s one where I saw it bounce and didn’t know if it was bouncing up or away from him.”
In his recovery back to the bag, Ethier attempted to get in standing up, which may have been a costly decision. Ethier said his reasoning for not diving into the base was in hopes of making Molina’s throw more difficult:
It was one where I made a decision to either dive back or get in the basepath, try to get in the way of the ball. I guess it was a costly mistake now, but you never know the outcome of that.”
With Yasiel Puig struggling at the plate, manager Don Mattingly rolled the dice and started Ethier in center field. The veteran outfielder went 1-for-2 with two walks, which was an improvement on Puig’s strikeout rate, but Ethier’s baserunning gaffe is likely what will be remembered.