Dodgers young catcher Will Smith may not have been born and raised in west Philadelphia and he may not have spent most of his days on the playground but Dodger fans consider him to be a prince right about now after he did just about the freshest thing on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. It was Smith’s first career home run in the bottom of the ninth, a walk-off blast to left field off of Hector Neris that broke a 3-3 tie and vaulted the Dodgers to a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in front of a raucous crowd at Chavez Ravine. The win gave the Dodgers their 40th of the season. The boys in blue now have the best record in baseball. For the record, Smith is actually from Kentucky. Let the Will Smith era begin!
Before the Smith walk-off it’s important to note how the Dodgers got there. Amidst all of the hoopla of Smith’s home run it can be easy to overlook Clayton Kershaw’s strong performance. The longtime Dodger ace tossed seven innings of one-run ball, striking out six and holding a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning.
Phillies 3 7 1
Dodgers 4 8 1
The Dodgers scored first in the bottom of the third after squandering a bases loaded rally in the bottom of the second. In the third Max Muncy singled, Cody Bellinger walked and Enrique Hernandez’s RBI single put the Dodgers up 1-0. Philadelphia tied it up in the fourth on a Bryce Harper single, a Kershaw wild pitch, a Muncy error at third (Justin Turner is still battling a sore hamstring) and an RBI single from J.T. Realmuto. The Dodgers retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth on a David Freese solo home run over the center field wall. The Dodgers added an additional insurance run in the bottom of the seventh when Matt Beaty singled, Joc Pederson walked, an errant pick-off throw and a sacrifice fly from Muncy. That made the score 3-1 Dodgers.
Unfortunately once again the Dodgers bullpen couldn’t hold a lead. The Dodgers had kept Harper quiet up until tonight. He broke that silence with a game-tying two-run home run off of Julio Urias in the top of the eighth frame. Everyone was understandably sick of the Dodger bullpen and frustrated. But that all washed away in the bottom of the ninth when Smith deposited a 3-2 pitch deep into the cool night air becoming the first Dodger catcher to walk-off in his first major league shot since Dioner Navarro in 2005. This kid is the real deal folks. The Dodgers go for the sweep tomorrow as Nick Pivetta will draw Rich Hill in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.