It was anything but an easy save for Kenley Jansen in the bottom half of the ninth as he came on to protect a two-run lead. Maikel Franco led off the frame with his second homer of the ninth, tightening an already wild game.
But the big man settled in to get the next three batters and nail down the Dodgers 13th win in 18 games this month. It also means their third win in four games to start the grueling stretch of 32 straight games against potential playoff teams.
Fresh off the plane from Oklahoma City, Alex Verdugo led off the ninth with a pinch-hit walk against one of the best relievers in the game, Seranthony Dominguez. The right-hander had allowed just six walks in 34 innings this year, with a 1.59 ERA. But this would not be his night.
Joc Pederson followed Verdugo’s walk with a base hit to left, giving the Dodgers the tying run in scoring position with the heart of the order coming up. After Manny Machado struck out, Max Muncy walked to bring Yasmani Grandal to the plate with the bases full of teammates.
Verdugo came home three pitches later on ball to the backstop to give the Dodgers a 6-5 lead. Matt Kemp would later single in another run to give his team the much-needed insurance.
The game might have been different if it weren’t for a gutsy move from Machado in the seventh inning. With the Dodgers down by a run, Machado slapped a ball down the right field line and didn’t stop running until he reached third.
On the very next play, Muncy lifted a ball to shallow center in what seemed like it would be too short to score Machado from third. But the newest Dodger challenged Odubel Herrera’s arm and snuck in with a head-first slide.
If this was a preview of what to expect in October, the National League is in for one heck of a ride. Each team hit four homers in a closely contested game.
The Dodgers jumped on Phillies’ starter Zach Eflin early, hitting back-to-back homers in the first inning with two outs. Muncy and Grandal did the honors to put their team ahead 2-0 before taking the field on defense.
Chris Taylor started the third with his 12th homer of the year, giving the Dodgers their third homer of the game. Not surprisingly, Los Angeles is now 16-0 when they hit three or more home runs this season.
By the time the Dodgers loaded the bases in the third inning, Phillies’ manager Gabe Kapler had seen enough. Eflin faced 16 batters in 2 2⁄3 innings, walking three to go with five hits. The Philadelphia bullpen managed to keep the Dodgers off the board until the seventh.
Ross Stripling was one strike away from ending his night with a 4-1 lead after five innings, mostly cruising outside of a Franco solo homer. But Rhys Hoskins didn’t cooperate with those plans, smoking an 82-mph curve over the wall in left field for a three-run homer to tie the game.
Five pitches later, Odubel Herrera made sure Stripling’s night was over when he slugged a homer of his own to put the Phillies on top by one.
Stripling would be charged with five runs over 4 2⁄3 innings, allowing seven hits while striking out six and walking none.
Outside of Franco’s homer in the ninth, the Dodger bullpen picked up the slack again striking out six and walking none in 4 1⁄3 innings of work.
Marching and Chowder Society
Chase Utley received plenty of love from Philadelphia fans before the game and during every at-bat Monday. Watch the warm reception here.
Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.12) draws one of the best starters in the game this year in Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.30) as both pitchers make their first start after the All-Star break.
Home runs: Muncy (23), Grandal (14), Taylor (12), Pederson (14), Franco 2 (15), Hoskins (17), Herrera (18)
WP - Scott Alexander (2-0): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP - Seranthony Dominguez (1-3): 1⁄3 IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
SV- Kenley Jansen (29): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 strikeouts