LOS ANGELES (AP) -Andre Ethier's brief career is quickly filling up with milestone moments.
Ethier reached another significant benchmark Friday night, hitting his first grand slam after homering his first time up in the Dodgers' 10-8 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
``It took me five years to get my first one, but I finally got it,' Ethier said. ``I've hit my fair share of home runs those first four years and never got one, so I'm glad it's over now.'
Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand was hit on the bill of the helmet by a pitch from Vicente Padilla in fifth. After several minutes on his knees by home plate, Rowand walked off the field without help, accompanied by San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy and a trainer. He sustained two small fractures in his left cheekbone and mild concussion.
``Hopefully, he's all right. I like that dude,' Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. ``In that situation, you're trying to get a groundball. So he was trying to throw a sinker down in the zone. Obviously, that's not where it ended up. It just took off leaving his hand. I don't know if it hit him square on the helmet or on the bill, but I know his nose was bleeding.'
Padilla (1-1) allowed three runs and four hits over seven innings and struck out seven after Ethier's slam staked him to a 7-0 lead.
``I've hit him pretty good in my career, but tonight he was a different guy,' Aubrey Huff said. ``He was making his pitches and just painting them away. He went away on everybody - and just when you think you're going to get him away, he busts you in. When he's on, he's really tough. And he was on tonight.'
Matt Kemp tied a career best by homering in his fourth straight game, but slugger Manny Ramirez left after three innings because of tightness in his right calf.
The Giants made it close in the ninth. Eugenio Velez hit a three-run homer off Ramon Troncoso with two outs after the Giants already had scored twice against Russ Ortiz in the inning.
``It almost feels like we won this game - down 9-2 and coming back like that,' Huff said. ``I've been on teams where it was like, `Hey, let's just get this game over with.' But we battled back. If you're going to lose, you want to make it a little exciting at the end. And we did that.'
Bochy didn't get any enjoyment out of his 55th birthday, watching starting pitcher Todd Wellemeyer fall behind 3-0 after just three batters and 14 pitches. Wellemeyer (0-2) walked Rafael Furcal on a close pitch before Kemp homered to right-center and Ethier followed with a drive to right.
``It's a difficult task, especially when the zone was as small as it was tonight,' Wellemeyer said. ``When you throw a strike, you expect it to be (called) a strike. That's all I'm asking for. It's a big difference when you walk the leadoff guy than when you striking him out, but you've just got to go from there and keep battling.'
Kemp became the first Dodgers player to homer in each of the team's first four home games since the franchise moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. The only other L.A. Dodgers player to homer in his first four home games was Willie Crawford, who played in four of the first five at Chavez Ravine in 1972.
Wellemeyer gave up seven runs, six hits and three walks in four innings. The right-hander, who threw 52 pitches over the first two innings, buzzed a fastball past Kemp's head in the second before walking him. That loaded the bases for Ethier, who homered to center on the next pitch and earned a curtain call from the crowd of 49,319.
``Maybe sometimes in the past, I tried a little too hard in those situations,' Ethier said. ``But right there, I think the last thing on my mind was to hit a grand slam. I just wanted to put a good swing on the ball and drive it into the gap.'
The Giants, one of six teams that had the day off Thursday, the 63rd anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game in the big leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers, wore jersey's with No. 42 the back. The Dodgers also wore Robinson's number - for the second straight night.
NOTES: Robinson played in more games (103) and had more at_bats (439) against the Giants than he did against any other opponent back in the days when the NL had only eight teams. But he had just seven career homers against them, and his 35 RBIs represented his lowest total against any club. ... Rowand has been hit by a pitch 88 times since the start of the 2005 season, and 111 times during his 10-year career. ... The Dodgers have averaged 7.5 runs over their last eight games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved