04/27/11 5:20 PM ET
Ethier adds to record April hitting streak
Fourth-inning single gives LA outfielder a hit in 24 straight
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
No doubt the presence of a hot Matt Kemp behind him is a contributing factor, but Ethier was at it again Wednesday, extending his hitting streak to an April MLB-record 24 games with a fourth-inning single, then lifting the Dodgers to a 5-4 win over the Marlins with a 10th-inning home run.
"I've got to tip my cap, especially to those guys. They came after me," Ethier said after going deep off Brian Sanches, who had allowed only one hit and no runs all season. "For the most part, they're giving me strikes to hit and put in play. They're still coming after me and giving me an opportunity to swing the bat."
As a result, Ethier is hitting .380 with three homers and 15 RBIs in addition to the streak.
Ethier singled off starter Anibal Sanchez. Sanches was the last Marlins reliever available.
"I didn't know that the hitless streak and the runs streak would end with one at-bat," said Sanches. "Maybe a single and try to work out of it. Like I've been saying, if I go down, I'm going down being aggressive. I was aggressive. I was aggressive with the pitch. I have nothing to take back on the pitch. If I had to do it again, I'd do it again. He's a really good hitter, and at a hot time, he hits good pitches. He's done really well his whole career doing that. Obviously, a tough inning to a hard-fought game."
Ethier's first hit of the game, a fourth-inning single off Sanchez, not only extended the streak but triggered a three-run fourth inning that helped the Dodgers toward their best comeback of the year.
Ethier, who flied out to left in the first inning, has the longest April hitting streak in MLB history. Ethier got a hit on March 31, but his streak began on April 2. He went 0-for-4 on April 1 vs. the Giants.
It is tied for fifth-longest in club history with John Shelby's from 1988. The last Dodger to have a 25-game hitting streak was Paul Lo Duca in 2003. The longest streak in franchise history is Willie Davis' 31-game streak in 1969.
The last Major Leaguer to have a longer streak than Ethier's was Victor Martinez's 25-game streak in 2009. During the streak, Ethier has raised his average from .125 to .381.
Ethier said the grind of 20 consecutive games, a six-game trip east and a day game after a night game didn't exactly leave him feeling "locked in" when Wednesday's 9:10 a.m. PT game started.
"The last couple days of the road trip, it's tough to stay focused and keep energy, with four day games and a 4:30 a.m. wake-up California time," he said. "I remind myself of my keys and what I need to do and grind it out."
He said he can't wait for Thursday's day off, rather than worrying that it will break his momentum.
"I welcome it big-time," he said. "I still like to keep things going. Our team has been on the brink of getting really going. We should have won one or two more on this trip. We're starting to figure things out. Our offense is getting runs when we're down, and the bullpen is shaping up. It will be nice to get back to L.A. and take a breath."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.