Tonight was supposed to be special for Yu Darvish. It was his first time pitching in Dodger Stadium. He wore the home whites for the first time, and it was his birthday. However, it was Yasiel Puig who stole the show.
Darvish wasn’t particularly awful. He pitched six innings and wasn’t really in big trouble during any one inning. That said, Yu and that darn red mitt of his gave up three solo home runs. It was enough to keep the Dodgers behind all night, and it also kept him out of the win column on his special night.
The Dodgers sent out a special lineup as well. Cody Bellinger got a rest for the first time since he joined the squad on April 25th, Austin Barnes started over Yasmani Grandal, Chris Taylor played in CF, and Enrique Hernandez batted clean up. Oh, and the skipper batted Yasiel Puig in the seven hole. Those decisions that looked strange at first, looked like genius when all was said and done.
The White Sox came out looking for blood right from the start. For the second night in a row, they deposited the first pitch they saw in the bleachers and took a fast one run lead. The Dodgers came right back in the second when Logan Forsythe doubled, advanced to third on a ground out, and came home to tie the score on a wild pitch with Puig at the plate.
Both teams scored in the fourth on solo home runs. Kike blasted his third career home run off Sox starter Rodon. The percentages and match ups paid off on that one.
Darvish gave up his third solo home run in his final inning of work, the sixth, and Tony Watson gave up another solo dinger when he came in to start the eighth inning. The White Sox were up 4-2 heading into the ninth, and there wasn’t a faithful Dodger fan who wasn’t sitting on the edge of his seat wondering who would be tonight’s ninth inning hero.
Cody Bellinger came off the bench and delivered a golf shot, one out single to get the Dodgers faithful roused. The Sox changed pitchers and Logan Forsythe continued clawing his way out of his slump with a clutch double to score Bellinger and bring the crowd to its feet. The boys were only down by one run and everyone could feel a comeback starting to take shape.
Austin Barnes singled Forsythe to third and Joe Davis let out with a Scully-esque, “And look who’s coming up!”
Dodger Stadium erupted into loud cheers as Yasiel Puig stepped to the plate. He had a strike out and a walk already in the books, but everyone – including the Sox – absolutely knew Puig wanted nothing less than the game winning hit.
Puig took the count full, everyone in the stadium was on their feet, and fans at home like myself had their eyes glued to their televisions and ears to their radios as the payoff pitch arrived. The mighty Puig swung smoothly and blasted a double over the shortstop’s head and toward the center field wall.
Chavez Ravine exploded in cheers as Forsythe ran home with the tying run and Barnes slid home with the winning run. Yasiel Puig stopped at second base, raised his arms to the sky, and the rest of the Dodgers spilled on the field to embrace him, and jump for joy at yet another incredible come from behind win.
The Dodgers are off tomorrow for a travel day. They’ll open a weekend series on Friday against the Detroit Tigers, 4;10 pm PST. Don’t Yu miss it!