If you think the title of this recap is misleading I’m here to tell you that it’s the truth. I can understand your skepticism. So for the people who did not watch the Dodgers come from behind to defeat the Pirates 3-1 on Saturday night to take the series at Dodger Stadium, allow me to paint the picture for you. Pedro Baez was indeed the hero of the night coming into the game with the bases loaded nobody out in the top of the eighth and the Dodgers clinging to a 3-1 lead. Baez induced two pop ups and a strikeout and the Dodgers escaped the inning without allowing any runs to score.
Before that decisive frame it’s important to note how the Dodgers got there. The first seven plus innings of the game were a pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and big strapping right hander Joe Musgrove. Both pitchers were very effective early on and the Dodgers were not able to figure out Musgrove until a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh sent Musgrove to the showers.
Even before that, Kershaw was pitching fantastically, but the Dodgers were losing 1-0. The Pirates squeezed across a run in the top of the third. Pablo Reyes singled, and after Cole Tucker struck out and Musgrove sacrificed Reyes to second, Adam Frazier singled past the overshifted Dodger infield into left field to plate Reyes. Kershaw continued to pitch well. He had retired 12 consecutive Pirates until Bryan Reynolds’ two-out double in the top of the seventh. Overall Kershaw allowed just one earned run on four hits across seven innings while striking out eight. He walked none and made 101 pitches.
Pirates 1 5 0
Dodgers 3 7 0
Meanwhile the Dodger hitters rallied in the seventh thanks to consecutive singles from Max Muncy and Alex Verdugo and a Chris Taylor sacrifice fly followed to score Muncy and tie the game at 1-1. The Pirates tried to challenge the call at the plate claiming home plate collision rules were violated because Muncy accidentally brushed Francisco Cervelli on the way into home plate. But I mean come on, he barely touched him. Austin Barnes would single and Joc Pederson triples into the gap to score Verdugo and Barnes and put the Dodgers ahead 3-1. Remember that Joc had seen Musgrove when he was pitching for the Astros in the 2017 World Series homering off of him in game 6. As a matter of fact Joc had hit three home runs and drove in six runs against Musgrove previously. Make that eight runs to date.
In the top of the eighth, Caleb Ferguson entered and gave up two walks and a single to load the bases and potentially cause me to break even more of my furniture. Dave Roberts removed him and went to Pedro Baez to get the Dodgers out of the mess. What followed was something of legends. Melky Cabrera the first hitter against Baez popped out to shallow left field. Far too shallow for the runners to go anywhere. Colin Moran popped out to third with the infield fly rule in full effect. Justin Turner tried to get a double play by dropping the ball but the ball is ruled dead and the batter automatically out. It was a nice try. Finally, Baez whiffs Josh Bell for the third out. He pumps his chest and points while walking off the mound.
Baez’s work may not show up in the box score, rest assured it was vital to the Dodger win tonight. Kenley Jansen would then come in and give the Dodgers a clean top of the ninth to preserve the win. The heroic efforts from Baez (and Co) helps Kershaw grab his first win of the season. The boys in blue go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon. Rich Hill is slated to make his return in the series finale. If you don’t believe in heroes, Pedro Baez should make you one now.