In a game that featured quality starts from both starting pitchers, Cody Bellinger stole the show late in the game with a game-tying home run in the eighth inning and a walk-off walk in the tenth inning, leading the Dodgers to an exciting 5-4 win over the Royals. The Dodgers are the first team since the Braves in 2003 to reach 60 wins before the All-Star break.
Royals’ pitcher Ian Kennedy pitched well, throwing six innings of three-run ball and striking out seven. His biggest mistake came in the second inning when he hung a curveball against Joc Pederson with a runner on first base. There was very little doubt about it as the ball sailed into the right field pavilion and the Dodgers took an early 2-0 lead. Justin Turner took advantage of a smaller mistake by Kennedy in the third inning with runners on the corners and no outs. Kennedy threw a cutter to and would have hit his target perfectly, but Turner hit the ball into center field. When it was caught by Lorenzo Cain, Chase Utley tagged up and scored, making it 3-0.
Brandon McCarthy pitched a solid game as well, throwing six innings of two-run ball. His trouble began in the fourth inning when he allowed a leadoff single to Jorge Bonifacio. He then walked Cain and Eric Hosmer singled to center. It looked like the single would bring in a run, but Pederson saved McCarthy’s bacon with an impressive 93.7 mph throw. Yasmani Grandal tagged Bonifacio, saving a run. Salvador Perez then came to the plate and hit a single to center field. This time, Pederson was unable to throw out the runner and the Royals got on the board. The Royals took advantage of a wild pitch and a passed ball in the fifth inning, making it 3-2.
Brandon Morrow entered the game in the seventh inning and got into trouble immediately. He allowed a single to Alcides Escobar then walked Brandon Moss. He then allowed a single to Whit Merrifield and Escobar scored, tying the game. Bonifacio then singled, loading the bases. Pedro Báez entered the game and struck out Cain before getting Hosmer to ground out and end the inning. After being struck out, Cain continued to argue with home plate umpire Bill Miller and was ejected from the game.
Báez stayed out to pitch the eighth inning and allowed a home run to the first batter, Salvador Perez. The ball traveled to the wall in center field and Pederson gave chase. He leaped at the wall but the ball hit the top of the wall and bounced into the stands.
The Dodgers have played come-from-behind a lot this year, and they have won a lot this year. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Cody Bellinger came to the plate with nobody on and one out. It had been twelve games since his last home run so he was clearly due for another. He showed off his opposite-field power with a home run that landed two rows into the left field pavilion. It tied the game and the fans at Dodger Stadium went wild. The inning ended with the two teams tied 4-4.
Nothing happened in the ninth inning but things got interesting in the tenth. The Royals went down in order in the top of the inning and the Dodgers did anything but that in the bottom. Utley led off with a walk, then stole second before Corey Seager walked. Turner then walked to load the bases and force a pitching change for the Royals. Kansas City brought in their closer Kelvin Herrera to face Bellinger. The battled and worked the count full before Herrera threw a pitch outside for ball four. The crowed went wild as Utley stepped on home, Seager stepped on third, Turner touched second, and the rookie, Cody Bellinger, reached first base with a walk-off walk.
Keys To The Game:
Not only did Joc Pederson drive in two runs with a home run, he also saved a run with a terrific throw. Nobody knows how this game would have turned out if Pederson had not saved a run with his 93.7 mph throw.
Danny Duffy will make his second start off the DL for the Royals and Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers, making him ineligible to pitch in the All-Star game. Kershaw and Dave Roberts talked about whether or not the Dodgers should change Kershaw’s pitching schedule for the game but Kershaw decided that he would rather pitch for the Dodgers. It is sad that Kershaw will not start the All-Star game, but it is also good to know that Kershaw wants to do what is best for the Dodgers. The game will start at 1:10 pm PT and be televised on SportsNet LA.