THE IMPOSSIBLE HAS HAPPENED!
THEY DID IT!
THE STREAK IS OVER!
The Dodgers and Mets played in one of the most exciting games of the 2021 season. It truly had it all. After a wild nine innings, the game was meant for extras. Entering tonight, the Dodgers were 1-12 when the game headed to extra innings, historically one of the worst records in Major-League Baseball history.
However, that is just a number. It didn’t matter tonight, as Will Smith connected on a two-run home run in the 10th to put the Dodgers on top, 6-4. With the count full, Smith crushed an inside sinker into the left field bleachers.
“I like them,” Smith said when asked about his history with clutch hits. “I’ve had success late in the game. I’m confident, I know what I’m doing. You’re not always successful, but when you are it’s pretty enjoyable and fun.”
“I’m just confident with Will,” Dave Roberts said. “You’ve seen it time and time again. The pulse and heart beat. He doesn’t run from it. You can just tell when a player embraces those moments. There’s big spots when he can take a walk and big spots where he can hit a homer. For being a young player, he’s right there at the top.”
Things got very close in the bottom of the 10th inning, as the Mets were able to bring in a run, cutting their deficit to one run. With two outs, Roberts opted for Kenley Jansen to intentionally walk James McCann, putting the game-winning run on first base. Tomas Nido stepped up to the plate with the game on the line. On the first pitch, Nido flew out to left field to end the game.
Jansen helped secure LA’s second extra-inning victory of the season. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning and didn’t allow a hit in the 10th. It was his first six-out outing since May 8, 2018.
“It was incredible,” Roberts said. “This is a guy we’re leaning on. He doesn’t run from it. He wants to pitch the back of that outing. We wouldn’t be where we’re at without that big fella.”
The Dodgers are now 2-12 in extras this season, but this truly does feel monumental.
“Every win is important, but this was a really gutty performance,” Roberts said.
A disastrous seventh inning
Everything that could go wrong for the Dodgers went wrong in the seventh inning. With LA leading 4-0, Brusdar Graterol quickly retired the first two batters with strikeouts. He then allowed a double, which seemed to be no big deal. Roberts opted to go with matchups instead of letting Graterol finish the inning, turning to left-hander Justin Bruihl with two outs.
“Looking at the next three or four hitters, they were left-handed,” Roberts said on his decision to keep Bruihl in the game. “[Brusdar] has pitched three [games] in four [days]. To not push Brusdar was the best chance to get through that inning. It’s baseball. If I had to do the same thing over again I’d do it over again.”
With two strikes, Dominic Smith hit a bloop single into center field, bringing in New York’s first run of the game. With two strikes yet again, Bruihl issued a walk, putting two runners on base. Instead of pitching to Pete Alonso, the Dodgers opted to put him on and intentionally load the bases for Jeff McNeil.
Blake Treinen was warming up in the bullpen, but Roberts stuck with Bruihl. On a 2-0 pitch, McNeil hit yet another bloop single to center field, this time bringing in two runs to cut LA’s lead to a run. Treinen was then brought into the game to get out of the inning.
Treinen and Smith weren’t on the same page and a passed ball brought in the tying run from third base. J.D. Davis drew a walk, putting the go-ahead run on base. Treinen managed to get out of the inning, and also threw a scoreless eighth inning as well.
A mixup at the plate
You know how in baseball they say you’ll see something you’ve never seen before, well this was certainly something that qualifies. Billy McKinney hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, making the lead 4-0 for the Dodgers. With two outs and nobody on base, Matt Beaty stepped to the plate.
The only problem was, it shouldn’t have been Beaty.
Julio Urias was at only 82 pitches and Roberts wanted Urias to hit to preserve a bat. Beaty was on deck in case McKinney got out and they needed a pinch-hitter. Instead, Beaty stepped up to the plate anyway, although the entire Dodgers dugout was yelling at him to come back.
You could hear even on the broadcast that they were calling from the dugout for Matt Beaty to come back. He wound up walking. pic.twitter.com/PfpjSMAS5k— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) August 14, 2021
Roberts tried to argue that Beaty shouldn’t be up there, but he had to remain in the game, ending Urias’ night. Beaty ultimately reached base with a walk, but was thrown out trying to steal second.
“I didn’t wave him in,” Roberts said. “[The umpire] thought he saw me wave him in. Once he was in the batters box I tried to call him back so we could let Julio hit, who was done for the night. Ideally I would have used Julio in that spot.”
It put an end to a great night from Urias, who threw five scoreless innings for the Dodgers. He issued only two hits and two walks and had five strikeouts.
The Mets only did any damage in the fifth inning, when they had back-to-back runners reach base with one out. Urias settled down and recorded back-to-back outs, ending the fifth and sending the Dodgers to the sixth with the lead.
WP: Kenley Jansen (2-4) 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 SO
LP: Jeurys Familia (6-3) 1 IP, 1 ER, 2 R
HR: Will Smith (16)
The Dodgers and Mets will play the second game on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. PT. Walker Buehler will take the mound for LA and face Taijuan Walker for New York.