Dodgers 8, Braves 3
The 35-year-old Sele was at Triple-A Las Vegas with Ethier and some other recent callups in April, and he says he saw the success coming.
Ethier hit a two-run homer—his fourth—and drove in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning single to lift the Dodgers to an 8-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
“They have the right attitude,” said Sele, who gave up three runs in six innings in a no-decision. “They show up and they’re ready to work. They absorb what’s going on. That’s why they’ve had such great success.”
Sele, denied his fourth win in his fifth start since he was called up to Los Angeles on May 6, walked three and left with the game tied 3-3.
Ethier, an outfielder recalled from Las Vegas on May 2, is hitting .313 with four homers and 12 RBIs. The Dodgers called up outfielder Matt Kemp on Sunday, and he had two hits and drove in two runs in a 12-5 win over the Braves on Monday.
The Dodgers have seven rookies on their 25-man roster, and many have played key roles in the team’s strong month.
The Dodgers have won 10 of 12 and are 18-9 in May. The last time they won 18 games in May was in 1993, when they were 18-8.
“They’ve got one of the best hitting teams we’ve faced,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “They’re good.”
Though he didn’t start Monday, Ethier has been receiving regular starts in left field.
“He showed us a lot in spring training, but what he’s been able to show us when he’s been with the club has been amazing,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said.
Little showed his confidence in Ethier by allowing the left-handed hitter to stay in the game against veteran left-handed reliever Mike Remlinger in a key eighth-inning situation.
Ethier’s single up the middle drove in Nomar Garciaparra from second to break a 3-3 tie.
“I haven’t faced too many lefties since I’ve been up here,” Ethier said. “You have to find a way to get it done.”
Ethier said he took more pride in the hit off Remlinger than his two-run homer in the fourth off Sosa.
“Of course it’s a different ballgame up here, but in my minor league career I’ve had success against lefties,” Ethier said.
Kenny Lofton, who had two hits Tuesday, and J.D. Drew are the veteran regulars in center and right, respectively, for the Dodgers. Repko was hitting .304 with eight stolen bases before landing on the disabled list on May 10. Another veteran, Jose Cruz Jr., has started 37 games.
Danys Baez (3-2) allowed one hit in two innings and earned the win in relief.
Remlinger (2-3) gave up two hits and two runs in the eighth.
The Dodgers added three runs in the ninth off Yates on an RBI double by Garciaparra and the two-run double by Aybar.
Sosa gave up seven hits and three runs in seven innings.
Sosa threw 37 pitches through three shutout innings but needed 30 pitches to survive the Dodgers’ three-run fourth.
Lofton led off the fourth with a single, moved to third on Garciaparra’s grounder to Sosa, and scored on Drew’s single to center.
Sosa struck out Aybar but then gave up a two-run homer to Ethier. The homer landed in the Braves’ bullpen behind the wall in right-center, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
Adam LaRoche led off the Braves’ fourth with an opposite-field homer to left, his ninth, to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Braves pulled even in the sixth. With two outs, Ryan Langerhans tripled past Lofton in center. Brayan Pena followed with a grounder that Martinez fielded behind second base but his throw skipped past Garciaparra at first. Pena was credited with a single.
Sele’s double in the fifth inning was his second career extra-base hit and his first in eight years. He also had a double in 1998 for the Texas Rangers, his only extra-base hit in 37 at-bats in 13 seasons in the American League from 1993-2005. … The three earned runs were the most allowed by Sele in his five starts with the Dodgers. His ERA rose from 1.69 to 2.20.