Cody Bellinger hits a grand slam in Dodgers win over Giants

There was an explosion from the crowd. Air horns over the public address system. And in a dramatic scene in the bottom of the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, the Dodger hitter experienced the cathartic relief that perhaps needed him most.

With bases loaded and bills tied, shades of old Cody Bellinger finally reappeared in the Chavez Gorge.

At 0 and 2 with two strikeouts, the former MVP and once-terrible southpaw unloaded on the steep above the plate, blowing up the monumental—and, the Dodgers hope, landmark—grand slam that sent the team to victory. a 5-1 win above San Francisco Giants.

“I won’t lie,” Bellinger said with a big smile after the game, “I feel pretty good.”

Up to this point, Bellinger had had another bad night, which became another bad season.

He was hitless on three previous trips to the plate. His average fell to .206. And he continued to look like a very different player than the one who burst onto the big league scene half a century ago by winning Rookie of the Year in 2017 as well as MVP during campaign with 47 home runs in 2019.

Despite Bellinger facing a left-on-left matchup against Giants pitcher Sam Long, Roberts left him almost by default, unable to turn to injured right-handed forward Justin Turner and not wanting to risk the Giants calling the right pitcher if he hit Hanser Alberto with a pinch.

So, the decisive moment belonged to the 27-year-old center forward.

Bat started ugly.

Bellinger hit a fastball for the first shot. He unsuccessfully demanded time on the next inning, showing frustration with the plate umpire when a curl ball on the outside was called for the second hit.

“He quickly knocked him down” manager Dave Roberts said. “Try to ruin his time.”

Bellinger, however, buckled up. He fouled on the inside hardball, outside fastball and middle substitute.

He didn’t particularly enjoy swings of any kind – “I rolled a few balls around,” he said – but at least he kept the fight going.

“Losing 0-2 and not returning that bat says a lot about Cody,” said Roberts.

On the next pitch, Bellinger produced one of the biggest moments of his quiet season.

Cody Bellinger ends his Grand Slam in Friday's eighth inning.

Cody Bellinger ends his Grand Slam in Friday’s eighth inning.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

Long threw another pitch at speed into the heart of the plate. Bellinger landed a powerful blow that didn’t miss. The ball jumped off his bat at over 103 mph. He hooked a right foul post in his seventh career Grand Slam.

“It’s nice to swing the ball right and see the results,” said Bellinger.

“He trained all year,” added Roberts. “So when you have those moments, you should enjoy them.”

Bellinger did.

He threw his bat as he jumped over the first base line. Back in the dugout, Turner and bench coach Bob Guerin coaxed him into catering to a roaring crowd of 51,316 by drawing a curtain on the top step.

When Bellinger ran into center field in the ninth round, his teammates stepped back for a moment to give him the stage again – chanting “Bell-eee! Bell-uh-uh! continuing to echo through the night.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Bellinger said, laughing. “I looked around and it was only Freddie [Freeman] there first. But it was a great moment.”

For Bellinger this season, or even last year, when he was battling injuries and batting just .165, there were a few times he looked this close to his old best.

“This guy is a former MVP,” Roberts said. “He knows the moments and comes out victorious in those moments. So you just have to keep chasing these guys and trust that things will change.”

Prior to Bellinger’s explosion, Friday’s highlight came after just four pitches.

During the opening at-bat, play was stopped when Dodgers pitching coach Mark Pryor came to the mound to face starter Tyler Anderson.

The Dodgers dugout believed that Giants first base coach Antoan Richardson was attempting to pass signs on the field, claiming to the umpires that Richardson stepped out of the coaching box near the base and several steps up the foul line, allegedly trying to peek into Anderson’s game. gloves.

“Just a bit of playing skill,” said Robert. “We wanted to put this coach in the box and let Tyler do his thing.”

After Pryor returned to the dugout, all four judges huddled before one of them went to chat with Giants manager Gabe Kapler.

After a few moments, the game finally resumed.

“I think that’s part of the game,” Anderson said. “They just thought maybe he was doing something there, so they just tried to pull themselves up a bit.”

Dodgers pitcher Tyler Anderson pitches against the Giants.

Dodgers pitcher Tyler Anderson had another strong game, allowing four hits and striking out six of six innings.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

The rest of Anderson’s start went off without a hitch. In six innings, he gave up only one unearned run. He struck out six and only walked two. He lowered his seasonal ERA to 2.79.

In contrast to Thursday night’s near-disastrous series opener, the Dodgers’ bullpen also held him together, with Alex Vesia eliminating the Giants’ biggest threat by jamming a couple of runners in the top eight.

Moments later, the Dodgers loaded the bases for Bellinger.

In a heroic moment, reminiscent of the brighter days of his career, he struck with a thunderous and decisive blow.

“I’m sure I would have been pleased either way,” Bellinger added. “But [facing an opponent] in the division, big game, it was pretty good.”