In a game originally highlighted by a drone delay during the second inning, the Dodgers won with another late scoring surge.
A three-run 7th inning broke a 2-2 tie, and a trio of 8th inning homers put the Dodgers back in front again for the 10-6 victory after Kenley Jansen closed out the game in the 9th.
As a result of the late-game madness/bullpen meltdowns, the Dodgers improved to 30-10 this season. That matches the best 40-game start since the team moved to Los Angeles and is still a ridiculous 45/121.5-win pace.
They did have to come from behind to tie the mark, albeit not by much the three times it was needed.
Raimel Tapia started the scoring off on just the third pitch of the game, hitting a solo homer off a 92 MPH cutter from Dustin May that caught too much of the plate. He proceeded to get through the first with two strikeouts, limiting any damage.
Those strikeouts would be a welcome sight for May, who’s K% stood at 16.1% entering the day.
Finishing the day at 5 Ks, May reached at least 5 in a game for just the second time this season. With just six strikeouts combined in his past three starts, May altered his approach a little in the game. Throwing his cutter just twice Friday night, May leaned a little heavier on his off-speed stuff
Sitting at 32.9% usage for the cutter entering the night, May instead relied on the sinker (59.5%) and curve (25%).
After sitting down 10 straight Rockies, May gave up his second homer of the night to Sam Hilliard in 5th off of a 99 mph fastball. It is the first time in his very brief major league career that May has given up two homers in a game.
As seen below, May hit 99/100 on the gun 15 times (plus another 13 sitting 98.5+) with the fastball and sinker. Throwing 56 of his 84 pitches for strikes, it did seem like May was getting squeezed a little at times but still finished his day with just one walk and three hits allowed across his 5 2/3 IP. He’s still allowed 2 or fewer runs in all eight of his starts this season.
It wouldn’t be a Dustin May start without something like this. Thankfully he got his glove up for that.
The first homer was canceled out pretty quickly, though it wasn’t as impactful as it could have been. Mookie Betts opened the game with a leadoff single, but a double play on a Corey Seager grounder left the bases empty for Max Muncy.
And of course Muncy sent a 94 mph fastball 104 mph off the bat and about 400 feet to tie the game with his 10th of the season.
It took awhile, but the Dodgers would finally get on the board again against Antonio Senzatela in the 6th.
While a runner reached base in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th, the Dodgers failed to do much until an error and a perfectly placed ground ball off of Seager’s bat in the 6th.
After Betts put one in the gap, the recently acquired Kevin Pillar bobbled the ball enough to allow him to reach 2nd. Seager sent the very next pitch to left field at 86 mph to score Betts and tie the game 2-2.
Returning for another inning of work, Givens didn’t have quite as much success.
Following a leadoff single for Chris Taylor, Will Smith put the Dodgers ahead with a two-run dong in the 7th. A walk, a wild pitch and a fly ball let Gavin Lux reach third, with Seager driving him in on a sacrifice fly to take a 5-2 lead.
As is routine at this point, the bullpen appeared to follow up May’s start with a strong night.
While Graterol hit the first batter he faced, a groundout and fly out left a man at second with two away. Despite getting ahead 0-2 on Nolan Arenado, Graterol lost control of the zone and walked him with the next four pitches.
As luck would have it, no one could get to the ball in time to end the inning. And naturally I mocked Pillar here and on Twitter, so he drilled a Ferguson fastball for a grand slam and the 6-5 lead.
Of course that wasn’t the end of the scoring. The first three Dodgers to come to the plate in the 8th scored as Carlos Estevez had a truly terrible outing.
Having allowed just one homer in 17 2/3 IP this season, a Bellinger single was followed by a AJ Pollock two-run shot and a Pederson solo homer off of Estevez.
Replacing Estevez with two out in the inning, Jeff Hoffman needed just one out to send the game to the 9th.
Instead, Betts brought himself and Lux home with the third dong of the inning.
Somehow Betts managed to hit the same cutout Smith killed earlier this season, temporarily lifting his head back up.
Back before this game fell into madness, a much more normal thing happened as the game was halted with a drone flying above the field.
Enrique Hernandez happened to be on the headset at the time, and it went about as you’d expect. To be fair, it was not the oddest game delay of his career as Hernandez reminisced to the sewage lake creation from March 2018.
The NL West lead is still at 6 games over the Padres, as is the NL advantage over the Cubs and Braves. They are also 2.5 games up on the Rays for the best record in baseball.