The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Seattle Mariners this evening 8-3, on the strength of three extra base hits by Jerry Hairston, Jr. In the first inning, Hairston hit his second home run of the year with Dee Gordon and Andre Ethier on base. Then in the third, with Hairston at the plate, Elian Herrera stole second and then was driven in by a Hairston double; both were hit to left field. Hairston came in to score on a James Loney single.
It was a favorable matchup today for Hairston, who had reached base seven times in eight plate appearances against soft throwing left handers this year. He also had two hits and two runs batted in against Philadelphia on Thursday, after coming off the bench in Wednesday's game. While Hairston has become questionable against right handers, but has made himself a sure thing against left handers.
Hairston was also able to knock in an insurance run in the eighth inning. With Juan Rivera running on the pitch, Hairston doubled over the second baseman's head. With the ball rolling to the wall, Rivera was able to come around and score.
Clayton Kershaw was a strikeout machine, with twelve strikeouts in seven innings, but doing it himself also resulted in a high pitch count. He threw 117, 76 of them for strikes. Still, it was a quality start and his fifth win of the year. Ronald Belisario was able to come in and pitch the eighth with Coffey coming in to pitch the ninth once it was no longer a save situation.
The Mariners were able to pull back some runs in the bottom of the fourth on a Miguel Olivio hit his fifth home run of the year with Justin Smoak and Kyle Seagar on base.
The Dodgers were lucky to get such production out of Hairston as the player they've come to rely on with Kemp injured, Andre Ethier, continued to slump on the road. Going 0-4 today he's now in a 1-26 slump, though he still leads the National League with 49 RBI. He told MLB.com after Friday's game:
"I expect to be here a long time, and both sides have expressed that. They want me here and I want to be here. Mutually, both sides want me here"
The Dodgers were able to pick up a pair of insurance runs in the ninth, after a double steal put Tony Gwynn Jr and Dee Gordon in scoring position. Elian Herrera's infield single was thrown home but Gwynn was able to slide underneath the tag. Gordon then came in to score on a sacrifice fly ball.
The Dodgers remain the best team in baseball at 38-22. They're the only team with a winning percentage above .600, and while some may attribute that to a weak schedule, it still stands that they've done the things necessary to be in a good position when the tougher games come.