This game started off normally enough. Kenta Maeda was excellent through four no-hit innings — a good sign, considering his struggles with control throughout his past several outings — and the Dodger bats weren’t doing anything to back him up. Standard stuff these days, really.
Then, in the top of the fifth, Joc Pederson foul bunted a 1-1 pitch that home plate umpire David Rackley bore the brunt of:
As our friend Gumby noted:
We are in a 1 ball count
— Gumby #MannyForHoF (@stacher) May 22, 2016
It works on so many levels.
This delayed the game for about 15 minutes, as second base umpire Alfonso Marquez prepared to take over for his fallen colleague.
When the game resumed, Pederson struck out. Puig was hit by a pitch and got caught stealing second. Basically, the Dodger offense didn’t muster any runs. Surprise.
While we can’t definitively blame the delay for throwing off Maeda’s rhythm, the bottom of the fifth is certainly when things fell apart for him. He gave up a single on the first pitch he threw to Melvin Upton, who then stole second and reached third on a ground out. Christian Bethancourt singled to bring Upton in, then was erased on a force out. But a base hit by pitcher Colin Rea, a Jon Jay walk and a Wil Myers blooper misplayed into a triple by Puig made it 4-0, Padres.
Honestly, I couldn’t blame any Dodger fan who lost hope at this point. It’s not like this team has exactly set precedents for optimism:
The largest deficit the Dodgers have overcome to win this year is three runs.
— Dodgers Gameday (@LADGameday) May 22, 2016
But in the top of the sixth, the Dodgers rallied for three runs off of Kevin Quackenbush. Enrique Hernandez drew a pinch walk, and back-to-back singles from Chase Utley and Corey Seager brought him in to score. A wild pitch sent Utley across the plate to cut the Padres’ lead in half, and an Adrian Gonzalez base hit reduced the Dodger deficit to just a run.
Justin Turner, who hit a dramatic home run on Friday night to (temporarily) give the Dodgers the lead, came in as a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh, and proceeded to launch a ball 401 feet to left field to make it a tie game.
Howie Kendrick stepped to the plate to lead off the top of the eighth. Earlier, Myers made a great catch to rob him of a hit, and Howie felt rather frustrated about the whole thing:
Howie Kendrick's reaction after being robbed. pic.twitter.com/nzymYwaKlB
— Ryan Walton (@RyanWaltonSBN) May 22, 2016
This time, he drove one 406 feet over the center field wall. It was his first home run of the season, and it briefly gave the Dodgers the lead.
Louis Coleman walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the eighth, and after picking up two outs, was replaced by Kenley Jansen, going for the four-out save. It didn’t work. Upton tripled, Myers scored, and the game was tied.
Honestly, I couldn’t blame any Dodger fan who saw that coming. It’s not like this team has exactly set precedents for optimism.
Puig led off the top of the ninth with a base hit, and took second on a Fernando Rodney wild pitch. With Puig on first, A.J. Ellis had been given the bunt signal; for some reason, with Puig on second, Ellis was still bunting. And he got a good bunt down. But for reasons that are absolutely inexplicable and indefensible, Puig didn’t run from second to third on it.
How do you feel about that, A.J.?
Same, A.J., same.
Jansen pitched a clean bottom of the ninth, and we went to extras.
After two scoreless innings of work last night, Joe Blanton pitched a perfect 10th inning today. Adam Liberatore took the mound in the bottom of the 11th, and walked Yangervis Solarte. Then … uh … this happened?
Even if my brain wasn’t fried right now, I don’t think I could find the words to do that play justice, so the video will have to do.
Liberatore then intentionally walked Alexei Ramirez, proceeded to strike out Bethancourt, and induced an Alexi Amarista line out to escape the jam.
Meanwhile, for the Padres, Luis Perdomo pitched five innings. The most he’s pitched all season is three, and he did a good job holding the Dodgers for his first four innings, in spite of a few threats.
In the top of the 14th inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out. Then, Carl Crawford hit into a double play that got the lead runner out at home, and Utley struck out swinging.
In the top of the 15th inning, Kendrick doubled with one out, and Adrian Gonzalez drew an intentional walk. J.P. Howell, who had pitched three scoreless innings and already had an at bat, was due up, but instead, Clayton Kershaw pinch hit for him. He hit into a force out. Pederson then popped out to end that threat. (Kershaw did take second on defensive indifference, which was probably the most fun thing to happen in about seven innings.)
The Dodgers finally, mercifully, broke through in the top of the 17th inning. Two hits, three walks (two intentional), a wild pitch, and a force out gave the Dodgers four runs, making it 9-5 in L.A.’s favor.
Ross Stripling, who, at present, is scheduled to start Tuesday’s game, pitched the final three innings of the game, and held the Padres scoreless. After almost six hours, the game was, at long last, put out of its misery. But it seems like we were robbed of an opportunity.
That was going to be Stripling's final inning today no matter what, Roberts said. Which position player was in line to pitch? "Maybe Puig."
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) May 23, 2016
Could Puig have pitched? "It was up to me," he said, "and God gave me the opportunity to do it with my bat, so I didn't have to go pitch."
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) May 23, 2016
Yep, we were robbed.
Kershaw’s pitching tomorrow, so expect a game that lasts about one-third as long.