Tuesday, July 01, 2014
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Robinson's first career hit lifts Dodgers past Indians

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[July 01, 2014]  LOS ANGELES -- Usually, the traffic beating a path past Clint Robinson's locker is heading for teammate Dee Gordon.

Gordon, whose spot is adjacent to Robinson's, is frequently sought out by the media. Robinson? Not so much.

That changed Monday night.

Robinson's pinch-hit, RBI single in the seventh inning boosted the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians before 45,627 fans at Dodger Stadium.

For Robinson, it was the first hit of his major league career. Just five days ago, the 29-year-old career minor-leaguer had his contract purchased by the Dodgers from Triple-A Albuquerque for only his second trip to the Show.

"I was just looking for something in the strike zone and to put the bat on the ball," said Robinson, who was 0-for-2 with a walk before Monday. "Right then, if it would have worked out that I would have taken a walk, I would have, but he threw in the strike zone, so I couldn't really do that."

The win gave the Dodgers (48-37) sole possession of first place in the National League West, a half-game ahead of the idle San Francisco Giants. It is the first time Los Angeles is on top since April 24.

The Indians (39-43) dropped their third game in the past four and their eighth in the past 11.

Dodgers starter Dan Haren (8-4) threw one-hit, shutout ball over seven innings, striking out five and walking one on 103 pitches (65 strikes). He retired the final 13 batters he faced. The lone hit Haren allowed was an infield single by center fielder Michael Bourn in the third inning, which first base umpire Adrian Johnson initially ruled as an out before a replay review requested by Cleveland manager Terry Francona overturned the call.

"I thought Haren pitched really well," Francona said. "Threw a lot of strikes and stayed out of the middle of the plate the entire game. He threw enough cutters in to where he broke a couple of bats or jammed us and got us to thinking in. I didn't see a whole lot of mistakes he made."

Reliever Brian Wilson worked a perfect eighth, and closer Kenley Jansen shut the door in the ninth for his 25th save. Overall, Haren and the two relievers retired the final 19 Cleveland batters.

"His last game in Kansas City was kind of the only game he didn't have the same bite on the ball," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Haren. "I'm sure he was on a little bit of a mission to get back on track tonight."

Dodgers left fielder Andre Ethier tripled off the wall in left to open the seventh, and he scored on Robinson's two-out single up the middle.

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"Man, that feels good," said Robinson, a first baseman whose only other trip to the big leagues was for four games with the Kansas City Royals in 2012. "It put us in a position to win the ballgame. It was awesome. The crowd cheering and all the teammates fist-pumping and all that kind of stuff. It was great."

Robinson's hit was enough to chase Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, who gave up a run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Kluber (7-6) struck out five and issued one walk, which was intentional. He threw 107 pitches (67 strikes).

"I thought Kluber was tremendous. Just really good," Francona said. "He was outstanding."

Both teams threatened early, but neither scored.

In the third inning, Cleveland right fielder David Murphy drew a walk, was sacrificed to second by Kluber and advanced to third on an infield single by Bourn, who stole second. However, Haren fanned shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to end the threat.

Los Angeles first baseman Adrian Gonzalez reached on a one-out single in the fourth. Gonzalez went to third on a double by left fielder Matt Kemp, but Ethier struck out and third baseman Juan Uribe flied out to center to end the inning.

NOTES: The game marked the 34th consecutive contest Dodgers starters walked two or fewer batters, the longest streak in the National League since 1914. ... Indians C/1B Carlos Santana, originally signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent in 2004, faced his old club for the first time. Santana was traded by Los Angeles to Cleveland for 3B/1B Casey Blake in 2008. ... The Indians possess the American League's worst road mark, 16-28. ... The clubs are meeting for only the second time at Dodger Stadium and the first time since 2008. ... Former Dodgers pitcher Bobby Castillo, who is credited with teaching Fernando Valenzuela how to throw a screwball, died Monday morning from cancer. He was 59.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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