Mookie Betts saved the day.
But Dodgers The bullpen made Thursday a lot harder than it should have been.
After leading the Dodgers five runs early and then losing to give up six straight runs to the San Francisco Giants in the seventh and eighth innings, Betts went to the plate tied at the end of the eighth inning.
There were two runners and two strikeouts.
And at a critical moment of the night, the former MVP stepped up.
Betts hit a three-point home run to left field, giving the Dodgers the lead. 9-6 win.
The moment the ball left his bat, 53,165 Major League Baseball spectators at Dodger Stadium jumped to their feet. Long before he landed without a doubt in the left field pavilion, all the fans knew that he was no more.
“That’s why,” manager Dave Roberts said, “he’s one of the best in the game.”
However, at the beginning of the second half, such heroism should not have been needed by the Dodgers (61-30).
After three innings, the team took a 5-0 lead, with Freddie Freeman hitting a single home run in the first, an RBI double from Trace Thompson in the second, and a missed flyball from Giants outfielder Luis Gonzalez in the third. third.
Until the top of sixth, the Dodgers didn’t turn down a hit, and Mitch White threw in five scoreless innings in a rotation that already had the lowest ERA in the majors.
But then, in the seventh, Phil Bickford gave up a single home run to Evan Longoria and let two more runners make it to base without recording a single out.
He was replaced by left-hander Alex Vesia, who hit a batter to load the bases and then threw a two-out, two-hit fastball to the center of the plate to Darin Rufus.
The kicker of the giants didn’t miss. His line kick to the left cleared the wall for the Grand Slam that equalized.
In the eighth inning, frontman Evan Phillips, a right-hander who, despite injuries to Blake Trinen, Tommy Kanle, Brucedar Graterall and Daniel Hudson, has recently become the most reliable helper in the bullpen, was called out.
The right-hander entered the game with a 1.50 ERA. He hasn’t given up in his previous 11 matches.
But after a kickoff from Wilmer Flores, a double from opposite field Jock Pederson, and an intentional free pass to Gonzalez that loaded the bases, Phillips was unable to capitalize on a right leg against Tyro Estrada.
He missed the zone with three sliders and a fastball with a third walk that made a home run and put the Giants ahead 6–5.
“I thought we put the guys in the right places,” Roberts said. “They just didn’t make passes when they should have.”
Roberts downplayed any bigger concerns facing the bullpen, who hope to bring Graterol back in the not too distant future – he’ll be out with shoulder inflammation for at least another week, but Roberts stated “it shouldn’t be much longer” than that – plus Trainan, Kanle and Danny Duffy throughout the season.
“I think we’ve done a good job of uniting [the bullpen]Roberts said. “So I’m not going to make too much of tonight.”
In the next half, the composition helped to remove the sting.
With one out, Gavin Lux doubled down the left field line.
With two batters later, Thompson hit the decisive three from the wall in center field.
“I thought it was going to come out,” he said, adding with a laugh, “I need to do an extra workout tomorrow or something.”
Cody Bellinger extended the half in the next at-bat by scoring four consecutive balls to put runners up for corners.
Betts then went to plate, received a 1-and-1 substitution down the center from Yarlin Garcia, and sent his 21st home run of the season over the left wall.
“Seeing the ball go into the crowd and the crowd goes crazy,” Thompson said. “These are great moments.”
A more reserved Betts added: “I was just looking for a good pitch and I got it. … This is a big win for us.”
The right fielder, who also had a walk and a stolen base in the game, didn’t finish either, recording an offside final with an all-out catch on a ball batted by Jock Pederson in the ninth.
Brilliant completion of the victory of the bullpen almost gave away.
Turner out with abdominal injury
Justin Turner pulled out after the start of the eighth inning with what the Dodgers said was abdominal tightness. Roberts was unsure how Turner got injured, but said the third baseman thinks “we beat him.” He is doubtful to play on Friday.
Starters are coming back
On Thursday, Roberts had encouraging news about several injured starting pitchers.
Andrew Heaney began rehab on Thursday, allowing him to return from a shoulder injury as early as next week.
Dustin May is scheduled to rehab on Friday, a major step in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, allowing him to keep up with his season debut in mid-August.
Walker Buehler is expected to return from a flexor tendon injury sometime in September, his recovery still “going in the right direction,” Roberts said, although the right-hander has yet to resume throwing.