LOS ANGELES—This game had it all. Grand slams, stolen bases, costly errors, clutch hitting, a late game rally, heroic late game pitching, basically everything BUT outstanding pitching from the starters. This see saw game ended up in the Dodgers favor thanks to a five run 9th inning in which Taylor hit a grand slam, putting the Dodgers up 10-8.
“This game had everything. It was a crazy game,” said Roberts. “You just wanted to get this one over. There were great at-bats, great pitching, bad pitching, big hits. Can’t say enough about the at-bat C.T. put on Torres. But the leadup to that, to take the walks, and the way we were all over the bases today, to get that big hit was huge.”
As was aforementioned, unlike Clayton Kershaw and Jimmy Nelson’s pitching duel in the series first game, this game did not feature strong performances by either starting pitcher. Rich Hill (2-2, 4.15 ERA) and Matt Garza (2-2, 3.83 ERA) both had short days, both exiting after the fourth inning. Hill was knocked around for three runs, two earned, while giving up three hits and four walks. Garza gave up three hits and four walks as well, but only surrendered two runs, one earned.
It was a back and forth game from the beginning. Gonzales opened the game with a first inning RBI double. Then an error by Kike Hernandez and a wild pitch by Hill each gave the Brewers a run, making it 2-1 Brewers after the first. Another error, this time by the Brewers, allowed Chase Utley to score, but the Brewers quickly responded in the form of a Jesus Aguilar solo homer that made it 3-2 after the third inning.
After a couple of dry innings that experienced a pitching change on both sides, the scoring resumed in the 6th inning when yet another wild pitch allowed Taylor to score. Puig added an RBI single and the Dodgers entered the seventh inning with a 4-3 lead that wouldn’t last long. A grand slam by Travis Shaw and a solo homer by Hernan Perez quickly erased the Dodgers lead and put them in a 8-4 deficit heading into the 8th inning. Puig brought them into striking distance with a fielders choice that scored Taylor. Heading into the 9th inning it was 8-5.
Oh what a 9th inning it was. Corey Seager opened it with a walk. Yasmani Grandal hit a grounder to first baseman Jesus Aguilar who should have stepped on the bag for an easy out, but instead chose to throw to second, hitting Seager on the back. Another costly error. Pinch hitter Austin Barnes proceeded to take a walk which loaded the bases. Cody Bellinger, the hero in Friday’s series opener, came through again. He took a walk that forced in a run, narrowing their deficit to 8-6. That’s when Chris Taylor stepped to the plate, and as they say the rest is history,
“Once I got two strikes, I was just thinking about shortening up and putting the ball in play, hopefully in the outfield,” Taylor said. “He left one over the middle and I put a good swing on it.”
Kenley Jansen, who wasn’t supposed to pitch due to throwing 33 pitches in two innings on June 2, managed to make an appearance to ensure the Dodgers victory. Despite throwing on short rest, he notched another save for the club.
“I just talked to him (manager Dave Roberts) and said, `Listen, if something crazy happens, I’m still available and I’m going to be mentally ready,” Jansen said. “He understands. He knew I was mentally ready so he called down to get me going.”
The Dodgers win on Friday marks the third time in the last eight games that Milwaukee has wasted a 9th inning lead.
“We’ve got to play better against these teams to beat them,” said Brewers Manager Craig Counsell. “We did some really good things, but to beat teams like this, we’ve got to do more.”
On the flip side, the Dodgers have come from behind in nearly half of their victories this season, 16 of 35. If the next game is anything like the previous two, it should be quite exciting. Kenta Maeda (4-2, 5.21 ERA) will look to finish off the sweep of the Brewers as they send Zach Davies (5-3, 5.18 ERA) to the mound in Sunday’s series finale.