Chris Taylor started the Dodgers comeback on Tuesday night, and Will Smith ended it with a pinch-hit, three-run home run off Tyler Rogers to stun the Giants, 8-6 in the second game of the latest showdown series between these two teams.
Taylor, filling in for a second straight game in the leadoff spot with Mookie Betts out of the lineup, doubled and scored in the first inning for an early lead, but four San Francisco home runs put the road team up 6-1.
Taylor hit a solo home run in the fifth, then his two-run shot in the sixth pulled the Dodgers to within a run.
“My swing was in a good place tonight,” Taylor said.
San Francisco still led 6-5 entering the ninth, when Rogers opened the frame with two walks in nine pitches, setting the stage for Smith.
THE PRINCE. pic.twitter.com/e9aqWzsca7— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 21, 2021
“That’s probably our biggest win of the year,” Taylor said.
Alex Wood was effective but also all over the place against his former team. Albert Pujols grounded out to end the first and third innings, but none of the eight batters in between put the ball in play. Wood hit AJ Pollock to start the second inning, then struck out the next five Dodgers before hitting Justin Turner and Max Muncy back-to-back in the third.
Turner was hit on his left knee, and after a long conference with Dave Roberts and a trainer, Turner remained in the game. But only for two more innings, as Turner left the game with a left knee contusion after playing two more innings at third base.
Muncy batted again after his hit by pitch, flying out to end the sixth. But he left the game before the top of the seventh with a right shoulder contusion.
Turner won’t start on Wednesday. Muncy’s availability will depend on how he feels on Wednesday morning. Coupled with Mookie Betts’ hip irritation and Corey Seager’s activation not yet set in stone, plus Muncy’s wife due to give birth at any moment, the Dodgers could use some help for the 12 position players currently on the active roster.
“We’re going to bring a couple guys to taxi, a couple position players for tomorrow,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’ll see how the guys come in tomorrow, and how they feel, and if we have to make the move accordingly we will.”
The new guy
The stuff was evident for Josiah Gray in his major league debut, though with mixed results.
He is the first Dodgers pitcher ever to allow three home runs in his major league debut. Amazingly, the last one to allow even two home runs in a debut was Terry Wells in 1990. But Gray’s seven strikeouts were the most by a Dodger in his debut since Jose De Leon in 2016.
Gray did not start Tuesday’s game, but followed opener Darien Núñez, who allowed a two-run home run in his two innings of work. But all eyes were on Gray starting the third.
It was perhaps fitting that Alex Wood was the first batter Gray faced in the majors, since the two were traded for one another. But that at-bat was a harbinger of rough sledding for Gray, as Wood fouled off three two-strike pitches before flying out.
Gray needed 25 pitches to get through his first major league inning, and didn’t get a swinging strike until his fifth batter of the frame. He got two of them to strike out Wilmer Flores for his first strikeout.
Save that ball.— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 21, 2021
Congratulations @JGrayy_ on your first MLB strikeout! pic.twitter.com/Bfadj6ZJ9y
Gray settled down after that, striking out all three batters he faced in the fourth, his second inning. He struck out seven in his four innings. Gray induced 15 swinging strikes, including eight on the slider, finishing off four strikeouts with the pitch.
The rude awakening came in the fifth, when both Thairo Estrada and Mike Yastrzemski took Gray deep, widening the Giants advantage. Gray allowed four runs in his four innings.
“I know the linescore probably wasn’t what he hoped for, but there was a lot of good stuff,” Roberts said.
Home runs: Chris Taylor 2 (13), Will Smith (12); Alex Dickerson (9), Lamont Wade Jr. (9), Thairo Estrada (2), Mike Yastrzemski (15)
WP — Jimmie Sherfy (2-0): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts
LP — Tyler Rogers (1-1): 0 IP, 1 hit, 3 runs, 2 walks
Julio Urías gets the start for the Dodgers on Wednesday night (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with right-hander Logan Webb starting for the Giants.