Ethier's defense a thorn in Phillies' side
Dodgers right fielder makes two big catches in sixth inning
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier made a potential game-saving catch in the sixth inning of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Monday, diving to rob So Taguchi of a run-scoring hit in shallow right field.Ethier made the sliding catch with the potential go-ahead run standing at third base and the Dodgers locked in a 3-3 tie with the Phillies. Second baseman Blake DeWitt and center fielder Juan Pierre also converged on the ball, but it was Ethier who dove at the last instant to catch the ball and keep the game tied.
"It was a great catch," first baseman James Loney said after the Dodgers' 7-5 loss to the Phillies. "When he first hit it, everyone was like, 'Oh, it's going to drop.'"Ethier said he was thinking, "Just catch the ball," with the Phillies poised to take the lead if the ball fell in. "I'm just going out there trying to make plays," Ethier said. "Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. It really didn't do anything in the outcome of the game, so oh well." The diving catch followed a war of substitutions in which Phillies manager Charlie Manuel called on lefty pinch-hitter Geoff Jenkins, Dodgers manager Joe Torre brought in southpaw reliever Joe Beimel from the bullpen and Manuel countered with a second pinch-hitter, righty Taguchi. After the Dodgers had taken the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies tied the score in that sixth, when Chan Ho Park hurled a wild pitch with two outs and Carlos Ruiz at the plate that scored Ryan Howard. If not for that wild pitch the Dodgers would have gotten out of the inning unscathed, because Ethier caught a shallow fly to left after barely evading DeWitt to make the play for the second out of the inning before his diving catch for the third out. On the wild pitch, Park threw a breaking ball that hit off part of catcher Russell Martin's mitt and made for a play that the All-Star catcher later lamented. "You're supposed to make that play," Martin said. "You can't really make any excuses. That's the last thing I want to happen is to let a ball get away from me -- anytime. I don't even remember the last time that that happened. It's tough, but [in] baseball, you're going to make mistakes. You've just got to move on after you make them."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.