One thing I’ve been criticizing the Dodgers for all year is their inability to win close games. But Chris Taylor put an end to my criticism (at least for now) when he slugged a walk-off home run in the tenth inning, sending the Dodgers to a 3-2 win over the Rockies. The Dodgers extended their NL West lead to 1.5 games with ten games left in the regular season.
The Dodgers and Rockies were tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the tenth inning. The Rockies decided to send Adam Ottavino to the mound for his second inning of work. Taylor came up to face him with two outs, then on a 2-2 count, Ottavino hung a slider. The rest is history.
In a way, the game began as expected. Clayton Kershaw and Kyle Freeland faced off in the battle of the southpaws. But then, it also was a strange game. Both sides made two errors and each pitcher struggled with command of the strike zone.
Kershaw allowed two runs (one earned) over seven innings, but he walked five and struck out four. In the other dugout, Freeland allowed two earned runs over 6.2 innings with four walks and four strikeouts.
Matt Kemp gave the Dodgers an early lead with an RBI single to right field. Manny Machado scored, giving the Dodgers the 1-0 lead. But Kemp took a wide turn off first base when Rockies’ right fielder, Gerardo Parra, lost his footing. Parra then recovered, threw behind Kemp, and Ian Desmond tagged him out.
The Rockies tied the game in the third inning on one of the ugliest plays of the series. DJ LeMahieu hit a ground ball under the glove of Justin Turner and into right field. That was the first error and it allowed Garrett Hampson to score. The ball then went under the glove of Taylor in left field for a second error on the play.
The Rockies took the lead in the fifth inning behind Charlie Blackmon. Kershaw threw a fastball over the middle of the plate and Blackmon didn’t miss it. When the ball hit the bat, everyone knew it was gone. This gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead.
The Dodgers scored the tying run in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a rare Nolan Arenado error. Austin Barnes was on second base with one out when Taylor hit a grounder to third. There was no play for Arenado, but he decided to try to catch Barnes off third base. His throw went down the left field line and Barnes scored, tying the game.
After this, neither team scored again until Taylor’s homer in the tenth inning.
The Dodgers will send Walker Buehler to the mound in search of a series sweep and the Rockies will combat him with Tyler Anderson. In his last start, Buehler held the Cardinals scoreless over eight innings. The game will begin at 7:10 pm.