LOS ANGELES — Sometimes in baseball, it’s all about a gut instinct. It may pay off, and it may cost you. On Tuesday night, Dodgers third-base coach Dino Ebel’s gut instinct cost the Dodgers, as Cody Bellinger was gunned out at the plate, ending the ballgame and giving the Angels the 5-4 win.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Bellinger stood at second base representing the tying run. Enrique Hernandez stepped to the plate, looking to be the hero and extend the game. He did his job, scorching a liner to right field. Kole Calhoun played the hop perfectly, fielded it, and threw a perfect throw home to nab Bellinger.
AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE BECAUSE STONE KOLE SAID SO pic.twitter.com/kwcpNHeKub— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 24, 2019
“For me it’s a good send,” Ebel said following the game. “You got to take the chance there and be aggressive. Any time you get a guy thrown out at the plate I’m responsible. I’ll take that one.”
Following the loss, manager Dave Roberts had some high praise for his third-base coach, and said that he made the correct call in the moment. “There’s nobody better,” Roberts said of Ebel. “It’s easy to look back when a guy gets thrown out. I trust his instincts.”
It seemed as if everyone in the stands and at home was surprised that Bellinger got waved home. Roberts wasn’t, and neither was Bellinger. When asked if he was shocked he got the green light to go home after the hit, he subtly replied with “No, not at all.”
Prior to the last-second drama, it was the Angels who jumped on the board first in the second inning. Using an opener, they turned to Shohei Ohtani in an early pinch-hit situation. He singled to right, giving his team the early lead.
Corey Seager tied things up in the fourth with a sacrifice fly. With runners at the corners and one out, he flew out to left field. Cody Bellinger beat the play at the plate, tying the game at one a piece.
After getting the first out of the fifth, Kenta Maeda would fail to record another one. He allowed a 454-foot home run to Mike Trout, then a double that nearly went out of the park to Justin Upton. “I thought he really couldn’t get a rhythm,” Roberts said of Maeda. “He wasn’t in sync. I don’t think he was that sharp.”
He was relieved by Julio Urias, who struggled to get outs as well. The first two batters recorded a hit, and then a groundout made it 4-1 Angels.
The Dodgers rallied in the sixth, and put themselves in prime position to take the lead. Max Muncy walked, and Seager singled after barely missing a home run. Russell Martin would bring in Muncy with a single, and Matt Beaty followed with a walk to load the bases. Joc Pederson stepped up to the plate, and singled on the first pitch of the at-bat, cutting LA’s deficit to only one.
With only one out, the bases remained loaded for Alex Verdugo. He grounded to first baseman Albert Pujols, who gunned a throw to home, just getting it there in time to beat the runner and save the run. Justin Turner came up, but failed to tie the game or give his team the lead, grounding out to third to end the inning.
The Dodgers had a chance to tie the game in the ninth, but fell just short.
WP: Felix Pena (8-3) 3 2⁄3 IP, 1 ER, 5 SO
LP: Kenta Maeda (7-7) 4 1⁄3 IP, 3 ER, 7 SO
Home runs: Mike Trout (33) Kole Calhoun (22)
The Dodgers will send Ross Stripling to the mound tomorrow for the final game of the two-game series. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. PT.