Few words can describe what we’re all feeling right now. It’s been a trying day for me to be honest. I’ve had a busy day. Running errands, dealing with health issues and to top it off trying to fix the technical problems that have been plaguing this place over the last couple of days. However the dark skies cleared around 10:25 PM PST on September 18. Those problems all melted away when Chris Taylor’s beautiful massive walk-off home run landed into the left field pavilions. I am beside myself with the joys. I know you are all too.
The Rockies were at a distinct disadvantage without shortstop Trevor Story, who is still nursing an elbow injury he suffered the night before on a throw to first. The Dodgers sensed blood in the water like a shark. But the Rockies had their top pitcher on the mound in Kyle Freeland. The Colorado ace matched Clayton Kershaw nearly inning for inning during what was a tight tense affair as the two teams battled for first place. Sloppy defense on both sides resulted in runs, and the game went into extra innings. When Yasmani Grandal’s deep drive in the bottom of the ninth couldn’t get the job done, Chris Taylor’s in the bottom of the tenth did.
The Dodgers walked-off in the bottom of the tenth inning over the Rockies in the second game of the three game series when Chris Taylor smacked a solo home run off of Colorado right hander Adam Ottavino. The score is 3-2 and again the time is 10:26 PM PST. The Dodgers have a 1.5 game lead in the National League West. Perhaps the Dodgers still have a little bit of mojo left in them this year? You’re god damn right they still do.
Rockies 2 4 2
Dodgers 3 6 2
But what’s also important is how they got there. Before Taylor’s emotionally uplifting walk-off shot, the Dodgers held no advantage in the game. Clayton Kershaw and Kyle Freeland were dueling for the majority of the night, and neither team took control.
The Dodgers scored first in the bottom of the first frame. Manny Machado’s two-out double bounced off the top of the wall just inches from going out, and inches from Gerardo Parra’s stupid outstretched glove. David Freese worked a walk and Machado moved to third on a ball four wild pitch. Matt Kemp’s slicing RBI single into right scored Machado, but Kemp took too wide of a turn towards second and was thrown out trying to get back to first. The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile Kershaw breezed through the first two frames but then faltered in the third and fourth innings as his command disappeared. The Rockies evened it up in the top of the third. Garrett Hampson, the young player who is replacing the injured Trevor Story walked. After Freeland struck out, Charlie Blackmon walked as well. DJ LeMahieu’s chopper to third goes under Turner’s glove into left field and Taylor overran the ball allowing Hampson to score and Colorado tied the score.
The Rockies took the lead in the top of the fifth when Charlie Blackmon launched a home run (his 27 of the season) into the right field seats to put the Rocks up 2-1. The Dodgers would come charging back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. Austin Barnes walked and Kershaw’s sacrifice was not well placed, but Iannetta bobbled and dropped the ball which allowed Barnes to scamper into second. That was key because Taylor’s swinging bunt along third flummoxed the charging Nolan Arenado. He picked up the ball and tried to nab Barnes coming into third, but he threw the ball away and the costly error plated Barnes to tie the score at 2-2.
Kershaw didn’t have his best command but was able to keep the Rockies at bay most of the night. Clayton allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits, walked five and struck out three over seven innings. Freeland didn’t have his best stuff either but limited the Dodgers to two runs on five hits across 6.2 frames. Freeland walked four and struck out four as both pitchers were not involved in the decision.
Justin Turner made up for his mistake with this awesome diving stop in the seventh inning to keep the tie intact. That was a huge play with runners at first and second for Colorado and the meat of their order coming up. Kershaw’s pitch count was rising too, which made the play even bigger. Check it out.
Move to the top of the eighth. With the score still tied, Kenta Maeda entered the match and triumphantly struck out the side. Scott Oberg who had recorded the last out in the seventh also retired the Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth. Enter Kenley Jansen for the top of the ninth. Parra singled and stole second base putting the Dodgers instantly in trouble. Kenley recovered to strike out Iannetta and get pinch-hitter David Dahl to pop out. Ryan McMahon grounded out and the Dodgers headed to the bottom of the ninth with the opportunity to walk-off.
And they nearly did. Adam Ottavino got Cody Bellinger and Chase Utley quickly, and then Yasmani Grandal hit a long drive to deep left field. It appeared to almost everyone that it was heading into the left field pavilions. Unfortunately the ball died in the cool night air of Chavez Ravine and Parra caught it right against the left field wall. It was nothing more than a loud out in the box score.
The Dodgers used Scott Alexander and Dylan Floro to get through the top of the tenth. Alexander got a grounder and Floro whiffed LeMahieu and Arenado. In the bottom of the tenth with Ottavino still on the mound, Muncy started the inning with a line out to Dahl. Taylor then strode to the plate and did what Grandal almost did the inning before. He homered deep into the Chavez Ravine September night to win the game for the boys in blue and send Dodger Stadium into Pandemonium. Dodgers win it!
The Dodgers go for the sweep tomorrow. Colorado will send another left hander to the mound as Tyler Anderson counters Walker Buehler in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM PST. The Rockies are on the ropes and the Dodgers can increase their division lead to 2.5 games with another win.