05/20/06 2:54 AM ET
Dodgers post LA-record 25 hits in win
Ethier's five hits lead 16-run offensive attack vs. Angels
By Jim Street / MLB.com
Ethier had the first five-hit game of his 37-game Major League career and Martin contributed his first three-hit game as the Dodgers launched the 10th Freeway Series with a 25-hit, 16-3 romp over their American League West Angels before 55,655 at Dodger Stadium.
Reserve infielder Oscar Robles beat out an infield single in the eighth inning for the record-breaking hit. The previous club record was 24, accomplished twice -- in Phoenix against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 2, 2002, and against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium on August 20, 1974.
While this was anything but a one- or two-man show, two of the least-experienced players in manager Grady Little's starting lineup had the most hits. The remainder of the lineup chipped in big-time during a nine-run sixth inning that turned a close game into a rout.
Ethier and Martin each had a run-scoring single in the big inning as the Dodgers won for the fourth time in five games.
"I had five hits in a game last year at Double-A," Ethier said, "but that's a whole lot different than doing it here. Something like that at the Major League level is pretty good."
It was the first time a Dodger had five hits in a game since Robles had that many against the Rockies in Colorado last July 5.
"I'm proud for the kid," Little said. "It will be something he remembers for a long time."
Ethier was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on May 2, started in left field against the Diamondbacks and doubled in his third at-bat. He hit his first Major League home run the following night and has been pretty much treading water, entering Friday night's game with a .222 batting average. He departed with a .317 average.
He singled in the second inning and scored the Dodgers' first run of the game; singled again in the fourth and scored the go-ahead run; and singled in the fifth and sixth innings before slugging a home run to left-center in the seventh inning off Angels reliever Brendon Donnelly.
Ethier's big night ended with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
"I have been asked if I was trying to get a sixth hit, but you're not even thinking about that," he said. "You are just focusing on the task at hand. We had guys at second and third and you're thinking of a way to get those guys in some way.
"Some say the ball seems big [on a night like this], but it still seems small to me. All you think about is putting a good swing."
Little said he liked what he saw of Ethier "from the first day of Spring Training. This is, by far, his best game, but he will have many more good games in the Major Leagues."
The nine-run scoring burst was the biggest by the Dodgers since they scored 10 first-inning runs against the Reds on May 6, 2005, at Cincinnati. The nine hits in the inning were the most since a 10-hit burst against the Cardinals on May 27, 1990.
Right-hander Aaron Sele never batted in the big inning, watching from the dugout as his teammates made sure of his 19th career Interleague Play victory -- second on the all-time list to Greg Maddux.
Sele started the game tied with Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina.
|"I had five hits in a game last year at Double-A, but that's a whole lot different than doing it here. Something like that at the Major League level is pretty good."|
|-- Andre Ethier|
And it didn't start all that well.
Six of the first eight batters Sele faced reached base. Fortunately for the veteran right-hander, only two of them made the entire trip around the bases, both on Vladimir Guerrero's 11th home run of the season.
Chone Figgins led off with a single and was thrown out trying to steal second. Orlando Cabrera singled to left field and Guerrero sent a Sele pitch over the wall in center field. Sele also issued a walk in the inning before walking back to the dugout for a between-innings breather.
He ran into trouble again in the second inning when the Angels put runners on second and third base with none out. The no-DH rule helped Sele, who got opposing pitcher Jeff Weaver to ground out to shortstop.
Figgins flied out to center, not deep enough to allow Dallas McPherson to score from third, and Sele escaped the jam by getting Cabrera on a grounder to second base.
The Dodgers began pecking away at the two-run deficit in the bottom of the second when, with two outs and none on, Ethier singled to left field and scored on Martin's double past third base.
Proving that having nobody on with two outs isn't that big of deal, the Dodgers scored their second run in the same fashion. This time, in the third, Nomar Garciaparra singled with two outs, J.D. Drew walked and Jeff Kent rolled a run-scoring single through the gap between third and short. The RBI was the 1,338th of Kent's career, moving him past Johnny Mize and into sole possession of 74th place on the all-time list.
Los Angeles took the lead for good in the fourth inning on Ethier's second hit, a sacrifice bunt and a single to right by Rafael Furcal. The Dodgers (22-20) tacked on another run in the fifth to knock out Weaver, and put the series opener far out of reach of the Angels (17-25) with the nine-run sixth.
"To fall behind, 2-0, in the first inning is not very good," Sele (2-0) said, adding that a tip from pitching coach Rick Honeycutt enabled him to find "a better rhythm on the mound."
Sele retired the last 12 batters he faced.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.