Ped­er­son’s ‘in­cred­i­ble’ catch at cen­ter-field wall is a game-saver against the Padres.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Dy­lan Her­nan­dez

SAN DIEGO — Juan Ni­ca­sio cracked a smile as he pic­tured the catch Joc Ped­er­son made Sun­day in the Dodgers’ 4-2, 12-in­ning victory over the San Diego Padres.

“Un­be­liev­able,” Ni­ca­sio said.

Ni­ca­sio’s thoughts were shared by oth­ers in the vis­it­ing club­house at Petco Park.

“Joc saved the game,” start­ing pitcher Mike Bolsinger said.

With two on and two outs in the ninth in­ning, Ped­er­son ran down a line drive by Justin Up­ton and made a back­handed catch over his head. The rookie cen­ter fielder crashed face-first into the cen­ter-field wall, af­ter which he rolled on his back, feet in the air.

“Just in­cred­i­ble,” Manager Don Mat­tingly said.

Ni­ca­sio, who de­liv­ered the pitch to Up­ton, was spared from wit­ness­ing a walk-off cel­e­bra­tion from the mound. The Dodgers went on to win for the sec­ond

time in the three-game se­ries, as Adrian Gon­za­lez drove in two runs with a 12thin­ning sin­gle.

Gon­za­lez was also re­spon­si­ble for send­ing the game into ex­tra innings, as he tied the score, 2-2, with an eighth-in­ning dou­ble that scored Yasiel Puig from first base.

Mak­ing what was ar­guably the team’s most spec­tac­u­lar de­fen­sive play of the sea­son didn’t make Ped­er­son any more talk­a­tive than usual.

“I think the sit­u­a­tion makes it big­ger than it was,” Ped­er­son said.

Mat­tingly made note of how Ped­er­son runs down hard-hit balls, de­scrib­ing it as some­thing of a lost art.

“He’s one of the few guys now that you see will turn and run,” Mat­tingly said. “He runs to a spot. He’s run­ning to an area and then he’s look­ing. It al­lows him to cover more ground like that.”

Ped­er­son said he learned the tech­nique from his fa­ther, Stu, a for­mer out­fielder who played eight games for the Dodgers in 1985. Ped­er­son cred­ited mi­nor league coach Da­mon Mashore for re­fin­ing his de­fen­sive acu- men.

Mat­tingly laughed as he re­called how some fans called for Ped­er­son to be traded for a pitcher at the non-waiver trade dead­line last sea­son.

“I’m glad we didn’t,” Mat­tingly said.

Ped­er­son’s play on de­fense has made up for the rookie’s loss of form at the plate. Ped­er­son is bat­ting .133 over his last nine games. He was one for four with two walks on Sun­day. Ped­er­son isn’t alone. The Dodgers scored only nine runs in the 30 innings they played over three days in San Diego.

“We hung in there with pitch­ing,” Mat­tingly said.

That was par­tic­u­larly true in the se­ries fi­nale.

The team’s much-crit­i­cized bullpen was par­tic­u­larly solid on Sun­day. With Bolsinger fail­ing to com­plete five innings, six re­liev­ers com­bined to pitch 71⁄3 innings.

“Great bullpen win,” Gon­za­lez said. “They did an in­cred­i­ble job, com­ing out, get­ting the last out of the fifth and not giv­ing up any­thing af­ter. They kept get­ting big out af­ter big out. For us, this game is go­ing to go down for what the bullpen did.”

Chris Hatcher, who en­tered the game with a 6.62 earned-run av­er­age, recorded two par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant outs in the sev­enth in­ning.

With the Dodgers trail­ing, 2-1, in the sev­enth, Hatcher struck out Up­ton and forced Matt Kemp to fly out to right field with run­ners on the cor­ners.

Hard-throw­ing rookie right-han­der Josh Ravin pitched a score­less 10th in­ning and re­turned to the mound to pitch a score­less 11th.

Ravin was cred­ited with the win.

He did a lot more to earn this victory than he did his first, when he re­tired one bat­ter to be­come the pitcher of record in a win at Colorado 12 days ear­lier.

“I guess you could say I earned this one,” Ravin said.

Ken­ley Jansen pitched a score­less 12th in­ning to earn his ninth save.

“Ev­ery­one did their part, keep­ing the team in the game and giv­ing our of­fense a chance to win it,” Ravin said.

De­nis Poroy Getty Images

JOC PED­ER­SON slams into the cen­ter-field wall af­ter run­ning down a line drive by San Diego’s Justin Up­ton and mak­ing a back­handed catch over his head.

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