The Dodgers led for no part of this game until they actually won it with a walk-off hit from Max Muncy, driving in Mookie Betts on a two-out single to win it 3-2.
Muncy’s nine-game hitting streak was in danger after going hitless in his first four at-bats. But the game-winner stretched Muncy to 10 and set the Dodgers up for what could be their second straight sweep.
There's no quit in this team! pic.twitter.com/jkYVcf0dcY— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 20, 2023
It was a low scoring affair as Ryan Pepiot dominated the Tigers, coming on after Caleb Ferguson allowed a solo homer in the opening frame. The Dodgers found it tough to drive in runs off the Tigers’ bullpen for most of this one, but a couple of late runs were enough to secure the victory.
There is nothing more important to the Dodgers right now than setting themselves in the best possible situation for a deep October run. That statement opens up the window to highlight specific things that are almost as significant as the result of the game.
Chief among these things is to give and have a vote of confidence in the young arms who’ll inevitably take on a much larger role than in previous postseason runs.
On this journey, perhaps no arm is a bigger Wild Card than tonight’s bulk arm in Pepiot, and nothing like another strong outing in a close game to show what he can do.
The 26-year-old retired 13 of the first 15 batters he faced, with the only blemish coming on a solo home run from Parker Meadows in the third, which at the time upped Detroit’s lead to 2-1.
Not receiving a whole lot of support from the offense, Pepiot came out for the seventh inning with the Dodgers trailing 2-1, and responded well to a pressure situation.
The first two hitters reached with softly hit singles, leaving runners at the corners before a failed squeeze bunt and a pair of fly balls ended the threat. Pepiot would finish with six solid innings, allowing a run on five hits, walking one and striking out four.
Those efforts weren’t immediately rewarded, with the game remaining at 2-1 into the bottom of the eighth. That’s when the Dodgers made their move.
A two-out single from J.D. Martinez — already with a solo homer earlier in the game — put the tying run on to give the home team a chance. Chris Taylor came off the bench as a pinch-runner for Martinez, stole second and came around to tie the game on a ground-rule double off the bat of David Peralta, setting the stage for the ninth.
Brusdar Graterol had the most special night in the stadium, as the right-hander finally pitched in front of his mother in the big leagues, for the first time ever. Graterol’s mother lives in Venezuela, but was present at Dodger Stadium.
Freeman continued his incredible effort to be the first player in nearly a full century to reach 60 doubles in the same season. The Dodgers’ superstar first baseman hit his 56th two-bagger of the year.
The double came against right-hander Miguel Díaz, upping Freeman’s tally against right-handers to 36. A number which would lead all the National League, and only trail old friend Corey Seager (41).
If you only counted Freddie Freeman's numbers against right-handers this year, his 38 doubles would still lead the National League, and trail only Corey Seager (41) in the majors— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) September 20, 2023
Home runs: J.D. Martínez (29) & Spencer Torkelson (29)
WP —Alex Vesia (2-5): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP —Alex Lange (7-5): 1 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk
The two clubs will wrap up the three-game series with a battle of young arms. Bobby Miller will face off with Reese Olson at 7:10 pm PT as the Dodgers go for the sweep.