It was a long and twisting 15-inning tale of desert dongs, blown saves, 15 runs, 33 hits and 17 different pitchers. The D-backs finally got to the fatigued Wilmer Font and walked off in the bottom of the 15th inning with the 8-7 win in the marathon of a series opener, the longest game in Chase Field history (5 hours and 46 minutes).
Because Dodger baseball.
It started off so well, and the Dodgers’ offense wasted no time in this one. Joc Pederson, leadoff hitter, snapped his hitless start to the season with a booming double to left field off right-hander Taijuan Walker. Then Corey Seager, who had only one hit on the season coming into the series opener, smacked a RBI single to give the Dodgers an early lead in the first.
The Chase Field humidor era was then officially ushered in by a two-run Yasmani Grandal dong near the pool in right-center.
Ryu was lucky the humidor was in play for this one. His five walks and three runs on six hits (five of the extra-base hit variety) in three and 2/3 innings wasn’t great. Then again, Coors Field West isn’t much fun to pitch in.
He took the mound in the bottom half of the first with a three-run lead and retired David Peralta and Ketel Marte on two groundballs. With two outs, the D-backs struck back. Professional Dodger bully Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock hit back-to-back doubles to put the Snakes on the board. Logan Forsythe, who committed an uncharacteristic three errors in Friday’s game against the Giants, finally made a great play at third … in right field. Logie Bear got Jake Lamb from shallow right field, throwing to Ryu covering first. Just like it was drawn up.
Is that … Logan in right? #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/5khvZLOuYS
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 3, 2018
The D-backs pulled within one run of the lead when they cashed in a triple by Marte despite Matt Kemp‘s great defensive play in left field in the bottom of the third. Yes, I wrote “Kemp” and “great defensive play” in the same sentence. Somehow he caught up to a sharply hit ball to left field by Peralta, the former center fielder slamming into the outfield wall. At that moment, all the terrible 2012 flashbacks popped back up. I believe Kemp crashing into the Coors Field wall is an image ingrained into all our collective Dodger memories.
¡ATRAPADÓN! 😱 @TheRealMattKemp se lució con esta joyita en el jardín izquierdo. 🙌🙌 #LosDodgers pic.twitter.com/0hXlXQT8Lz
— Los Dodgers (@LosDodgers) April 3, 2018
It looked like No. 27 hit his left knee on the play, but he remained in the game after sacrificing his body once again for the Dodgers.
Marte then proceeded to triple, a ball that got by Pederson in center field. The D-backs ended up picking up their second run off Ryu after he walked Goldy and Chris Owings to load the bases. Ryu then walked a run in with a free pass to Lamb of all people who notoriously struggles against left-handed pitching.
The national nightmare ended when Forsythe finally got his first base hit of the year, a one-out single in the fourth. But the D-backs tied it up in the bottom of the fourth. Marte chased Ryu from the game with his second triple of the night against the roughed up southpaw.
It would be up to the Dodgers’ bullpen from here on out. Pedro Baez retired Goldschmidt to end the inning, and that should remind us that Petey can do good. He also retired the heart of the order 1-2-3 in the fifth to preserve the 3-3 tie.
Every time Baez faces Goldy my reaction is to anticipate disaster, but he does have the numbers against him. Now 1-for-16 with two walks and seven strikeouts.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) April 3, 2018
Forsythe broke the tie in the sixth with a go-ahead home run in the sixth off reliever Yoshihisa Hirano. Coincidently the third Dodger dong of the year came right after Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser agreed that the ball wasn’t carrying as well with the new humidor usage.
The Dodgers added another run in the seventh thanks to a Grandal double and a Cody Bellinger RBI single. Grandal reached base five times tonight and went 3-for-6 with two walks and was a triple shy of the cycle.
The D-backs threatened in the bottom of the seventh when JT Chargois walked Goldschmidt with two outs, and Pollock doubled. Chargois, who has been impressive since joining the Dodgers during spring training, struck out Owings swinging to strand the runners and escape the jam.
The Dodgers added a sixth run in the eighth thanks to singles by Chris Taylor and Pederson, off left-hander T.J. McFarland no less.
THen Kenley Jansen, whose velocity has been noticeably down this season, had another troubling relief appearance. Jansen hit 93 mph on the gun which is better than 89 mph, but he didn’t look great. He blew the save after walking two and surrendering a game-tying three-run home run to Owings.
The Dodgers were looking to close this one out …@cowings5 had other ideas. pic.twitter.com/ZEofWo0njH
— MLB (@MLB) April 3, 2018
— Daniel Brim (@DanielBrim) April 3, 2018
Well, that doesn’t look good.
The #Dodgers have given up 8 runs this season.
Kenley Jansen has given up 4 of them.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) April 3, 2018
Welcome to the first free baseball and weird baseball of 2018, folks.
The Dodgers had the winning run on first with Bellinger in the 11th inning, but Kyle Farmer‘s failed bunt/reaction swing wasn’t ideal. Wilmer Font, the Dodgers’ eighth reliever of the night, pitched a very confident frame in the bottom of the 11th. He retired the side in order, striking out Goldschmidt and Pollock.
The game forged on and on. In what might go down as the “Wilmer Font Game,” the right-hander pitched admirably. He made 74 pitches in 4 1/3 innings and even laid down two successful bunt sacrifices. He was pegged with the loss, once again proving how meaningless win-loss records really are.
Goldschmidt nearly ended the misery in the 14th. Thanks to the humidor and Puig’s great catch, he came up just short of walking it off. Puig, who probably doesn’t sleep anyway, doubled up Marte at second with a trademark cannon throw from right field to take us to the 15th.
I hope you were still awake for that.
The clock struck midnight, and Chase Utley came through with a RBI single in the top of the 15th to put the Dodgers on the board for the first time since the eighth inning. Then the Dodgers turned into a pumpkin in the bottom of the 15th when Jeff Mathis walked off with a RBI single to center.
So close to Puig pitching.
Dave Roberts reiterated his belief that Kenley Jansen is healthy. He confirmed that a position player would have pitched if the game went into the 16th.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) April 3, 2018
The Dodgers are now (2-3) on the season (2-2 at home and 0-1 on the road). They’ll take on the Diamondbacks again today at 6:40 PM PST/9:40 PM EST. Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 1.50 ERA, 3.85 FIP) takes the mound for his second start of the year, and Arizona’s Zack Godley makes his season debut.