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Dodgers walk off on Rockies in extras

Drew Creasman Avatar
September 19, 2018

LOS ANGELES – More than a week before Tuesday night’s game between the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers took place, the marquee was already lighting up for the starting pitching matchup.

Clayton Kershaw, maybe the single greatest pitcher of this generation, would take on Kyle Freeland, Denver’s favorite son and a second-year player who has vaulted himself into Cy Young conversation.

And the match lived up to the hype.

Both men were great in a game that held a ton of postseason implications for both clubs. Ultimately, though, they played each other to a stalemate, leaving the game in the hands of the bullpens.

The ‘pens pitched well for both sides, but in his second inning of work, Adam Ottavino surrendered a walk-off home run to Chris Taylor, finishing off one of the most frustrating losses of the season for Colorado who now falls to 1.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

Freeland caught a few tough breaks throughout the game, meaning he couldn’t quite mirror Kershaw’s seven innings but did record his ninth consecutive quality start.

The first-inning bug bit the Rockies once again when, after recording two quick outs, Freeland gave up a double to Manny Machado on a pitch that was well above the strike zone but nonetheless driven to right field with authority. He then walked David Freese. He threw a good 0-2 pitch to Matt Kemp but the Rockie-killer went out and poked it into right field for an RBI single.

But Kemp overran first base and was thrown out by Gerardo Parra trying to get back to the bag, making the third out in the same play he plated the first run of the game.

The Rockies tied it up in the third without the benefit of a hit. Garrett Hampson, starting for the injured Trevor Story, drew a one-out walk and stole second. Charlie Blackmon, after Freeland struck out, came up with another walk and DJ LeMahieu hit a ball toward third that Justin Turner was unable to handle, going down as an error that led directly to a run. A second error on the play, by left fielder Chris Taylor, allowed LeMahieu to reach second but Nolan Arenado grounded out to strand a pair in scoring position.

Colorado had another chance in the fourth when a one-out single from Ian Desmond finally got them into the hit column. Desmond swiped second, his 20th stolen base of the year, giving him his fifth 20/20 (home runs/stolen bases) season in his MLB career. He moved to third on a Parra groundout and Chris Iannetta drew a walk but Hampson’s groundball to the left side couldn’t quite find the hole and the game remained tied.

But they appeared to be seeing Kershaw better and finally got to him in the fifth when Blackmon saw a mistake fastball and did not miss it. He tagged the pitch for a no-doubt home run, flying 447 feet and into the right-center field bleachers at 108 mph. That’s the longest home run hit off of Kershaw since 2015.

It was his 27th home run of the season and gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead. That also extended his hit streak to 11 games.

That also gave the Rockies their first pair of players with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season with Story having also accomplished the feat.

But the Dodgers came right back to tie it up, catching three big breaks in the bottom of the fifth. It actually might qualify as four breaks if you count Freeland walking the eight-hole hitter in Austin Barnes to begin the frame. Then, on Kershaw’s sac bunt attempt, the ball fell right in front of Iannetta and he looked primed to start a double play but bobbled the ball, settling for one out at first.

Then things got crazy when Chris Taylor mistimed a pitch but ended up with a swinging bunt down the third baseline. There was no play at first for Arenado who spun around looking to make a creative out at third on Barnes. He might have had it, too, but the third base ump, Lance Barrett, was caught in an awkward position that would not allow Hampson to get into the right space. In fact, the Rockies shortstop was knocked to the ground on what looked like a perfect NBA screen play.

This had disastrous results when the ball skipped down the third base line allowing Barnes to score. Freeland worked out of the jam without any further damage.

The Dodgers got an unusual start to the seventh when Barnes reached on a throwing error from Arenado on what should have been a routine out. That gave the five-time Gold Glover his first two-error game since 2016. But Freeland rebounded with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Max Muncy and by getting Taylor to pop up to second base.

At 103 pitches, Bud Black decided that would be the night for Freeland who gave way to Scott Oberg. Barnes managed to steal second during his encounter with Turner but Oberg induced a weak grounder to third, stranding the tying run at second.

Kenta Maeda struck out the Rockies in order on 10 pitches in the eighth and Oberg nearly matched him by staying on for another inning and getting two punchouts and a weak grounder to shortstop, sending the tie game to the ninth.

The Dodgers brought on closer Kenley Jansen. The Rockies got a leadoff runner when Parra singled to left and he got into scoring position by stealing second before an out had been made. But Chris Iannetta struck out swinging and a pair of pinch-hitters, David Dahl and Ryan McMahon, made weak outs to strand him there.

The clubs traded blank innings before Taylor’s dramatic walk-off in the bottom of the 10th.

Final Stats:

Kyle Freeland: 6.2, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K

Scott Oberg: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Adam Ottavino: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

 

What’s Next:

The final game of the series will see Tyler Anderson, who bounced back in his last outing, face off against young fireballer Walker Buehler.

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