After two improbable and agonizing losses on Friday and Saturday, the Dodgers somehow found a way to avoid another on Sunday. A two-run single by Yasiel Puig keyed a four-run rally in the 17th inning giving the Dodgers a 9-5 win over the Padres in the longest emotional roller coaster of a game they have had this season.
Puig, who earlier in the game stood still at second base when he should have advanced, utilized his chance at redemption in the 17th inning with a two-run single with the bases loaded and one out against Luis Perdomo. For good measure, when the Dodgers added another run on a wild pitch (it's what they do, after all) Puig never stopped and advanced from first base to third on the play, and eventually scored.
Puig's average bases advanced for the game are now in order— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) May 23, 2016
The game lasted so long, 10 minutes shy six full hours, that the sprinklers in right field went on before the game ended in the bottom of the 17th.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out in the 14th inning but failed to score, with Carl Crawford hitting into a double play followed by a Chase Utley strikeout.
The Padres had a bases loaded situation of their own in the 11th, with one out, but Adam Liberatore was able to wiggle out of the jam. Liberatore was the seventh of nine pitchers used on Sunday by the Dodgers, who played their longest game since a 17-inning game on April 29, 2007, also a win over the Padres in San Diego,
The ninth pitcher was Ross Stripling, who started and lost on Thursday in Anaheim, and pitched three scoreless innings on two days rest to earn his second major league win.
For the second time in three days, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen entered in the eighth inning with a runner on base, trying for a four-out save. On Sunday, his first batter faced was Melvin Upton, Jr., who ended Friday's game with the first walk-off shot allowed by Jansen in his career.
This time, Upton tripled to right center field, scoring Wil Myers from second base. It was the second straight blown save for Jansen after converting 25 straight opportunities dating back to 2015. Upton was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Jansen before his seven total bases and three RBI against him this weekend.
Jansen did recover to retire his next four batters to get the game to extra innings.
Two of the biggest moments of the game involved a person stuck in one spot on the field. In the fifth inning, home plate umpire David Rackley laid on the ground for several minutes after taking a bunt ground ball to the groin. In the ninth inning, it was Puig who stood in the base path just off second base as A.J. Ellis bunted a ball to the third baseman that should have advanced Puig to the unoccupied base ahead of him.
Instead, Puig watched the play, perhaps seeing somewhere in the distance Ellis demonstratively and rightfully yelling "Come on!" with his hands in the air in disbelief that Puig didn't advance.
It came just one pitch after Puig alertly advanced to second base on a wild pitch, which made his inaction on the would-be sacrifice - whether the call by Dave Roberts was the right move strategically or not - even more jarring.
Almost heroes, earlier
Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick have had agonizingly slow starts to their seasons, two of the main reasons the Dodgers offense has been so bad this year, but Sunday was the culmination of an upward trend for both of late.
Turner entered the weekend with one home run, but hit two in San Diego. He hit what was nearly a game-winner in the eighth inning on Friday, until Upton had other ideas. Turner's shot on Sunday was the second pinch-hit home run by the Dodgers this season, along with Trayce Thompson 's walk-off shot on May 10.
It was Kendrick's first home run of the year, but he also added two doubles, including the hit that started the 17th-inning rally, a double that had it not bounced over the center field wall likely would have been the triple Kendrick needed for the cycle. He is hitting .318/.352/.439 with eight RBI in his last 17 games, after starting the year 8-for-56 (.143) with no extra-base hits and no RBI in his first 19 games.
The teams combined for just one hit in the first four innings.
There was a 15-minute delay in the top of the fifth after Rackley took a foul from Joc Pederson directly in the nether regions, and immediately collapsed to the ground. Rackley eventually left the game, with second base umpire Alfonso Marquez shifting from second base to home plate in a new, three-umpire format the rest of the game.
Then the game got bizarre.
Kenta Maeda took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth, but Upton ended those thoughts with a single up the middle to open the frame. He stole second then advanced to third base on a ground out, so the Dodgers brought the infield in, trying to keep the game scoreless.
It didn't work, as Christian Bethancourt singled out of the reach of Corey Seager at shortstop, then with two outs was joined on the bases when Maeda allowed a single to pitcher Colin Rea and a walk to Jon Jay.
Wil Myers then lofted a short but high fly ball to right field that, off the bat, looked surely like the final out of the inning. Then suddenly, as the camera switched to a broad field view, Puig was nowhere near the play, running in from presumably El Cajon to try to make the catch. Puig dove, but the 224-foot pop fly instead landed for an improbable three-run triple. Just like that it was 4-0 Padres.
Ain't that a kick in the nuts?
But a funny thing happened on the way to the pity party.
The Dodgers had a rally of their own in the sixth inning, using a walk, three singles and a wild pitch (the "other" in base running) to score three runs of their own. Rea had allowed just one hit before that frame.
In the seventh inning Turner pinch hit and hit a ball to the second deck in left field to tie the game at 4-4.
Kendrick then ripped a first-pitch fastball on a liner over the center field wall to start the eighth inning, giving the Dodgers their first lead of the day.
The Dodgers return home for a quick three-game series against the Reds, with Clayton Kershaw on the mound in the first game on Monday night. It's a battle of southpaws in the opener, with Brandon Finnegan on the hill for Cincinnati.
Home runs: Justin Turner (3), Howie Kendrick (1)
WP - Ross Stripling (2-3): 3 IP, 2 hits, 1 strikeout
LP - Luis Perdomo (1-1): 5 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 6 walks, 2 strikeouts