There would be no late-inning magic for the Dodgers for a fourth consecutive night. Instead, it was the Mets who would take a lead in their final at-bat, with a three-run home run for Brandon Nimmo off the bench.
New York held on for the 4-2 win, meaning a third different leader at the top of the NL West in the last three days. With the loss, the Dodgers move a half-game behind the Rockies.
With Kenley Jansen unavailable and the game knotted at one apiece, Kenta Maeda was asked to get two innings. After a clean eighth, Maeda ran into some trouble in the ninth, allowing a leadoff double on the first pitch to Jay Bruce.
A sacrifice bunt and a hit batter later and the Mets had the winning run 90-feet away with one out and Brandon Nimmo coming on to pinch-hit. Nimmo locked in on Maeda’s fastball, causing the right-hander to go to an 84-mph slider. Maeda hung it and Nimmo sent it to the right field seats for three runs.
The Dodgers tried to make it interesting in the bottom half of the ninth, in one of the more interesting replay reviews. After Alex Verdugo singled to start the frame, Cody Bellinger smashed a ball down the first base line that was called foul. Only it was fair, hitting the chalk behind the bag.
The challenge was an easy call, but the placement of the runners was the most important part. On a play like that, it’s up to the discretion of the umpires where the runners go. This umpiring crew sent Verdugo to third and held Bellinger to a single.
If the play is called correctly, the Dodgers have second and third with no outs.
Yasmani Grandal would bring Verdugo home on a sacrifice fly to center, cutting the lead to 4-2 and bringing Matt Kemp off the bench in another hero role. The same Robert Gsellman that gave up a pinch-hit grand slam to Kemp back in June, stood on the mound trying to get the last two outs.
The drama would quickly dissipate as Kemp grounded into a game-ending double play.
Monday figured to be tough as the Dodgers faced Jacob deGrom and his sparkling 1.68 ERA.
It was the same story that’s happened to Jacob deGrom all season long. The right-hander did almost everything for himself early on. After knocking in the only run in his last start, it looked as though it would play out in similar fashion.
After giving up a solo home run to Justin Turner in the bottom of the first, deGrom gave up a single and a walk. Thanks to two errors from his defense, the Dodgers had a runner on in five of the six innings deGrom was one the mound. But the Turner long ball would be the only run.
In the top of the fifth with two outs and a runner on third, deGrom lined an 81-mph breaking ball to right field for a single for one of his two hits Monday. It brought home the tying run, where it would stay until the ninth.
This was deGrom’s 12th no-decision of the year, having a 1.41 ERA in those games. On the season, the 30-year-old has now gone 25 straight starts allowing three or fewer runs, a major league record.
Random notes department
The Dodgers lost their first game when Max Muncy starts at second base, now 11-1.
This was also the first loss to the Mets since May 27, 2016, snapping a 12-game winning streak.
The Dodgers and and Mets play the second game of the series, sending Jason Vargas (5-8, 6.56 ERA) and Rich “D. Mountain” Hill (6-5, 3.59) in a battle of lefties.
Home runs: Turner (12), Nimmo (16)
WP - Drew Smith (1-0): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP - Kenta Maeda (8-9): 1 1⁄3 IP, 2 hits, 3 runs
SV - Robert Gsellman (10): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run