The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to stride towards the postseason. It once looked like the MLB team with the second highest payroll would be a disappointment this season, however they have came storming back since the emergence of Yasiel Puig. Needing a little magic Friday night in order to get the win, the Dodgers found it in the ninth inning, putting up four runs to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6.
When you’re hot, you’re hot. That rings true for a team that has cruised to a 5.5 game lead in the National League’s Western division and now is safely in control of its own destiny. Things just seem to break your way no matter how bleak it may look when you’re on a hot streak. Coming back from a 6-0 deficit over the last three innings of a ball game showcases that point.
Reigning American League Cy Young Award Winner David Price of the Rays held the Dodgers offense in the palm of his hand, controlling them throughout his stellar seven innings on Friday night. Shutting out the team through six innings, he allowed an unearned run in the seventh before departing for the evening with the game firmly in control.
Despite looking as if their hot streak had been cooled off, the Dodgers woke up late on Friday and found a way to come alive against the relief pitching of the Rays.
The significance of such an unlikely comeback was not lost on the Dodgers.
“By far the sickest win I have ever been a part of!!” tweeted Dodgers pitcher Ricky Nolasco.
“Best win so far,” utility man Skip Schumaker said. “Lot of games to go, but this is one of the best comebacks I’ve been a part of. No doubt.”
Coming back from a six run deficit tied the team mark for biggest comeback since the team moved to LA in 1958, according to team officials.
In the eighth inning, the Dodgers began their comeback, putting up two runs against three relief pitchers from the Rays.
The ninth saw an explosion of offense. Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney strode to the mound with a comfortable 6-3 lead. All he needed was three outs and his team would earn the victory.
Schumaker led off with a single, however a Dee Gordon strikeout put a damper on the Dodgers’ momentum. No need to worry for LA fans however, as the next three batters all connected for extra bases. Mark Ellis tripled home an RBI, Nick Punto drove home Ellis with a double, and Adrian Gonzalez doubled home Punto to tie the game at 6-6.
Yasiel Puig was then walked intentionally to create a double play opportunity to save the game for the Rays.
Jerry Hairston Jr. gave the Rodney the ground ball the Rays hoped he would. Rodney fielded the ball and wheeled around to throw to second to force out Puig, however the throw sailed over the second baseman’s head and allowed the winning run to cross the plate, completing the comeback.
“It was unbelievable, really; it just kind of happened so fast,” Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said. “Mark’s ball, then Nick hits first pitch, Adrian didn’t waste any time. Jerry didn’t either. It was like boom. These were just quick.”
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express