Both teams got tons of practice with the free runner on second base in extra innings, each getting four cracks at extra offense. Both teams scored single runs in the 11th inning. This was the first major league game this season to make it past 11 innings.
Kiké Hernandez started out the 13th as the runner on second base, after making the final out of the 12th. Rios followed with a shot into the right field stands, the first leadoff two-run home run in major league history.
That Rios had the chance to deliver the power was the product of a Dodgers bullpen in overdrive to start the season.
Eight Dodgers relievers combined for the final 29 outs Wednesday, allowing only a single run, and that only came with the benefit of the free runner in scoring position.
The Dodgers got scoreless innings from Caleb Ferguson, Blake Treinen, and Kenley Jansen, each for a second consecutive night, and Dennis Santana got the final five outs to earn the win.
“They’ve been phenomenal, they’ve been lights out,” said starter Dustin May on a postgame conference call. “Being able to shut the door for, what, 10 innings almost, was phenomenal to watch. We have some really good arms out there. It’s exciting to have them behind our backs if we do only go a short amount.”
Dodgers relievers have pitched 31⅔ innings in six games this season, allowing only five runs. It’s not as if the starters have pitched poorly, with a 3.08 ERA so far. They just haven’t lasted deep into games, totaling only 26⅓ innings.
Part of this was likely because of the brief summer camp, with pitchers scampering to build back the arm strength to go deep into games, with varying results. Only two times in six games has a Dodgers starting pitcher completed five innings.
The latest short start came from May, who allowed only one run for a second consecutive outing, but only lasted 3⅓ innings. The stress came in a 31-pitch second inning, which included two hits and a walk against him, and a run facilitated by the blazing speed of Myles Straw on an infield single, beating May who hesitated slightly in covering first base.
The other aspect is the 30-man roster for the first two weeks, including 16 pitchers, allowing for a more frequent hook. The Dodgers have averaged exactly five relief pitchers per game so far, including eight relievers in Wednesday’s extra-inning affair.
Home runs: Corey Seager (1), Edwin Rios (1)
WP — Dennis Santana (1-0): 2⅓ IP, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP — Cy Sneed (0-1): 2⅓ IP, 2 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers move on to Phoenix to face the Diamondbacks for four games, with Ross Stripling starting the series opener on Thursday night (6:40 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA). Left-hander Robbie Ray starts for Arizona.