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Dodgers: Andre Ethier 2009 Walk-Off Chronicles III

On June 29, Captain Clutch did it again.

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 06: Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pumps his fist as he runs the bases after hitting a walk-off game winning home run in the bottom of the 12th inning during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on June 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies 3-2 in 12 innings. (Photo by Paul Spinelli/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

As the 2009 season progressed, Andre Ethier not only continued to rack-up one walk-off hit after another. Each one was more dramatic than the last, starting with a 10th-inning single against the Padres on May 2. That was just a warm up for June 5 and 6 against the Phillies. In a series that ultimately previewed the NLCS, he managed a walk-off double in the first game, and then a 12th-inning solo shot in the second. 

Before the month ended, he’d eclipse all three. As June was winding down, the Dodgers were rolling, 20 games above .500 and well ahead of the Giants for first in the NL West. Monday, June 29 gave them a chance to make it 21 over against the third-place Colorado Rockies. Given it was at Dodger Stadium rather than Coors Field, that meant the Dodgers wouldn’t have to score 11 runs to have a chance. 

All the same, the game ended up being an uncharacteristically low-scoring affair. Aside from two runs apiece in the fifth inning, there was no scoring. The Dodgers offense was especially anemic, frequently being retired in order inning after inning. Despite a bullpen rife with ERAs over 4.00 and 5.00, Rockies relievers were able to keep the action rolling into extras. Even with a runner on third in the 10th, Los Angeles couldn’t punch it in. Luckily, Dodgers relievers Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncosco, Jonathan Broxton, Jeff Weaver, Brent Leach, Guillermo Mota, and James McDonald matched the Rockies’ corps frame for frame. 

Ironically, it was against Joel Peralta, one of Colorado’s best relievers, that the Dodgers would break through. The righty dispatched L.A. in order in the 11th, and stranded the winning run at second in the 12th. But in the 13th, Casey Blake led off with a single to right. Up stepped Andre Ethier, who fell behind 1-2. But he golfed a breaking ball just over the wall in right, sending the few remaining fans into delirium and prompting a dogpile by his teammates at home plate. 

It was Captain Clutch’s 15th homer of the year, his second walk-off shot, and fourth walk-off hit overall on the season. But he was far, far from done with game-ending heroics for the year. 

Written by Marshall Garvey

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