Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Adrian Gonzalez kept up his strong play to begin the season with two hits and an RBI to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on a day the league honored Jackie Robinson.
Jackie Robinson Day is more than just honoring the first African American player to grace Major League Baseball. It is a reminder that this country continues to strive for equality in all aspects of life. Robinson broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947 playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, who later moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
The Hall-of-Fame second baseman was influential in the Civil Rights Movement, and what he did throughout his time on and off the field continues to live on in the form of baseball today.
After pregame festivities recognized all of those accomplishments, Brett Anderson (1-0) went out and pitched five-plus innings to earn the win. The southpaw allowed six hits and two runs -- one earned -- with three strikeouts.
"Brett was really sharp. He kept them off balance," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "He ran out of steam in the sixth. Everybody else that came in did a nice job."
Scott Van Slyke had a pair of RBI, Andre Ethier scored twice and Joc Pederson reached base four times and added an RBI for the Dodgers, who swept the three-game set with the Mariners for a fourth straight win.
Nelson Cruz hit a homer in his fifth straight game for Seattle, setting a career-best mark. Alex Rodriguez was the last Mariner to homer in five consecutive games back in 1999.
Mariners starter Taijuan Walker (0-2), who allowed nine earned runs in his first start of the season against Oakland, was tagged for five runs on Wednesday over four innings of work. Walker had gone 4-0 in seven Cactus League starts and posted a minuscule 0.67 ERA.
"Taijuan did not command the strike zone. He didn't execute. He will get better," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "This is not the end of the world. We'll be back."
It was Seattle that opened the scoring in the first two games of the series before the Dodgers made late comebacks to grab the first two games of the set. Los Angeles flipped the script on Wednesday, as Ethier slapped a two-out single to left that scored Yasmani Grandal in the first. Van Slyke followed with a double, plating Howie Kendrick and Ethier, for a 3-0 edge after one inning.
Gonzalez, who has hit safely in all nine games this season, ripped an RBI single to right in the second, then Pederson sent Ethier home in the third with a base knock that made it 5-0.
"That's a great team over there," Gonzalez said of the Mariners. "This was a team effort tonight. Our pitching did the rest once we got the lead."
Cruz kept up his sizzling start with a solo shot to right center in the fourth.
The Mariners threatened in the fifth, but Pederson threw a seed to the plate to nab Mike Zunino, who led off the inning with a ground-rule double, after Justin Ruggiano poked a single into center.
Kyle Seager cut Seattle's deficit to 5-2 in the sixth with an RBI groundout that scored Austin Jackson. J.P. Howell recorded the final two outs in the ninth for his first save of the season.
The two teams had patches on their hats to commemorate the Civil Rights Game ... Frank Robinson, the first African American manager in the MLB, was honored at the beginning of the game as part of the Jackie Robinson festivities. Jackie Robinson's wife, Rachel, then walked out with Dodger legend Sandy Koufax ... Actor and recording artist Tyrese Gibson sung the national anthem ... Los Angeles outfielder Yasiel Puig missed his second straight game with left hamstring tightness ... Anderson entered the game with a 7-4 record and 1.83 ERA in 14 starts entering the game ... Cruz hit homers in four straight games in 2011 while with Texas.