Dodgers 9, Twins 8: Phil Bickford is a WAGON, Trayce Thompson walks for a walk-off

Following a sweep of the Padres, the series opener against the Twins seemed like a potential letdown game, especially with Noah Syndergaard on the mound. However, the Dodgers came out firing, though the pen was uncharacteristically shaky and blew the game twice late. Thankfully, after some help from the umpires, the Dodgers ended up winning on a literal walk-off in 12 innings by an 9-8 score.

The Dodgers have won six in a row, including 14 of their last 16, and they’ll be playing for six series wins in a row tomorrow.


As mentioned, Syndergaard was the on the mound to start things off, and he pitched arguably his best inning as a Dodger — and perhaps the best inning he’ll have all year — in the 1st. He got a 1-2-3 frame on a grounder hit less than 50 mph and a pair of strikeouts, including one of Carlos Correa, and more importantly gave hope by hitting 94 mph.

Things continued to go well for the Dodgers in the 1st when Freddie Freeman singled and Will Smith followed by somehow getting his hands in and hitting his 7th dong of the year to center for a 2-0 lead. Not one to be left out, Max Muncy got back in the groove with his 13th dinger of the year, a monster shot to right for back-to-back jacks and a 3-0 lead.

Well that optimism didn’t last super long, as Syndergaard came back out for the 2nd and started throwing batting practice. Around a pair of hard liners caught in the outfield, Syndergaard got lazy covering first on a great Freddie play down the line, which then led to a stolen base because he can’t hold runners, and a Kyle Farmer single cut the lead to 3-1. Another single in the inning followed, but he was able to not give up the big blow at least.

The Dodgers bats did get him the runs back and then some in the 3rd, and behind the usual suspects as well. A Dills single was followed by Muncy winning a nine-pitch battle for a homer to center and a 5-1 lead.

On the plus side, Syndergaard got a clean 3rd and struck out two more in the 4th. On the negative side, he gave up a monster dong to Jorge Polanco that cut the lead to 5-2.

Perhaps due to his finger being literally held together by glue, but also because he sorta sucks, Thor was done after four frames and 59 pitches. He gave up the two runs on four hits and no walk, striking out five.

Unsung pen hero Justin Bruihl took over in the 5th and worked around a single for a scoreless inning to keep things rolling. Shelby Miller did much of the same in the 6th, issuing a walk but nothing else. Miller also started the 7th and got the first two batters, but then gave up a single.

Things snowballed a bit after that when Caleb Ferguson entered, as he had a rare struggle of an outing. He walked a man to put the tying run at the plate, then gave up a single to load the bases and threw a wild pitch to plate a run and make it 5-3 (run charged to Miller).

Ferguson then went 3-0 to Correa, but got a breaking ball over for strike one before laying an absolute cock shot down the middle, which Carlos rolled over to end the inning. Sheesh.

The Dodgers offense was relatively quiet after the Muncy homer, as Lopez retired seven in a row and would’ve got eight if not for an error in the 5th that led to the end of the road for him. A single followed that to corner the runners, but nothing came of it, and a single in the 6th allowed by the pen was erased by a pick-off (Vargas again).

In the 7th, though, a Mookie Betts walk was immediately followed by a Freeman double off the wall in left to increase the lead to 6-3.

That would unfortunately prove important, as Yency Almonte entered in the 8th and gave up a single, double, and a rocket of a homer to Trevor Larnach that tied the game at 6-6 in three batters. Credit to him for rebounding from that beating to only allow a single the rest of the inning, but it was not great.

The Dodgers lineup then had an unlikely rally in the 8th, as with two outs Miguel Vargas doubled and then David Peralta followed with a double* of his own to make it 7-6.

*This is because … uh, well watch for yourself.

Anyway, a bit of luck for the Dodgers there, and Evan Phillips was in for the 9th. But that lead didn’t last long, as a walk by Correa (and a pinch-runner) was followed by a double into the gap for Byron Buxton to tie the game at 7-7. Phillips did rebound with two strikeouts to get out of the inning with the tie intact.

After the Dodgers went down in order to a dominant Jhoan Duran in their half of the 9th, it was Phil Bickford in extras because he was the only arm left alive. He started with a walk, then couldn’t decide which base to go to for an infield single and loaded them up, then he walked a run in.

However, he rebounded with a strikeout, then Phil Cuzzi basically gave him another strikeout, and he got a fly out near the track in center to escape the 10th with just a 8-7 deficit.

That would end up extending the game, as Duran continued in the 10th and gave up an 0-2 single to J.D. Martinez on an 88 mph hanger after Martinez looked like he could barely foul off 103 mph prior to that.

While it was unlikely they were going to score beyond that anyway, it didn’t help that Trayce Thompson pinch-ran and then got picked off. It’s like he’s trying to get designated.

Bickford continued in the 11th and he looked much better this time around, notching back-to-back strikeouts (legitimate this time) to begin the frame, issuing an intentional walk, and then got a lineout that was fortunately scorched right at Vargas.

After the Dodgers weren’t able to do anything but advance the Manfred runner to third in their half of the frame, it was Bickford for a third inning in the 12th, pushing past his career-high in pitches. Lo and behold, he got allowed just a walk in yet another scoreless frame. What a gritty performance from him, taking one for the team.

In the bottom of the 12th, Freeman was given an intentional pass with one out, and Muncy got one after a double steal with two outs. Thus, that double steal prove critical after Trayce played hero by just standing there at the plate and taking the walk-off walk.

What a game, jeez.


Diamondbacks24-18 (3 GB)
Padres20-22 (7 GB)

*Either still playing or will play later.

Same two teams, same time tomorrow at 4:10 PM HT/7:10 PM PT/10:10 PM ET with Clayton Kershaw (2.36 ERA/3.28 xERA/3.50 DRA) against Bailey Ober (1.85/3.61/5.86).

About Chad Moriyama

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"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times