Adrian Gonzalez #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates as he runs home to score the winning run in the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Dodger Stadium on August 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 7-6.
Usually by the end of a long game like the near-four-hour one the Dodgers played on Friday, most of this post will have been written. When they are losing 6-0 and look completely down-trodden, the final innings are spent starting the recap.
Well, this time the Dodgers did not go down that easily, pulling off a magical, late-inning comeback to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-6, and requiring a complete re-write.
The early narrative to this game was about the team arriving in Los Angeles at 2:30 a.m. on Friday, after playing eight games in a row, with a day game to come on Saturday. It was under these circumstances that Don Mattingly decided to play his reserves.
With Skip Schumaker in right field for Andre Ethier, Jerry Hairston in right for Carl Crawford, Tim Federowicz catching for A.J. Ellis, and Nick Punto in at short for the injured Hanley Ramirez the Dodgers lineup was filled in with: the backups, the B-team, the reserves, the replacements. And it was this lineup that created the inspiring comeback.
Enter the seventh inning of the 6-0 game with David Price cruising along for Tampa Bay. With two outs and Jerry Hairston on third, Skip Schumaker doubled him home for the first Dodger run of the game.
Price was pulled after seven innings, and the Tampa Bay bullpen responded by going into full meltdown mode. With two outs in the eigth and Mark Ellis on second, Yasiel Puig hit a ground-rule double into the right field bleachers for an RBI. At this point only in the game, Puig and Ellis were the only Dodgers with multiple hits.
Jerry Hairston was given a free pass and Juan Uribe hit a single to score Puig, moving Hairston to third. With the score 6-3, Carl Crawford came in as a pinch hitter for Tim Federowicz with runners on the corners, but hit a little blooper to shortstop to end the inning.
So the Dodgers were still down by three runs in the ninth to face Tampa Bay closer, Fernando Rodney, who has only given up six earned runs in his last 28 games. But that did not stop the Dodgers as Skip Schumaker singled to lead off the inning. With one out Mark Ellis drive one down the line that got past left fielder Ben Zobrist on a diving attempt, giving Ellis a RBI triple.
Nick Punto doubled Ellis home and all of a sudden the score was 6-5 with the tying run on second base. Adrian Gonzalez hit one down the left field line to tie the game at six.
Yasiel Puig was walked to put runners on first and second with Jerry Hairston at the plate. Hairston grounded to the mound, giving Fernando Rodney the inning-ending double play to send this game into extra innings.
Except as Rodney made his throw, he completely missed his target, sending the ball into centerfield! Adrian Gonzalez motored home for the winning run completing the Dodgers 6-0 comeback, walkoff victory.
It was magical night at Dodger Stadium. This feel of this game went being completely downtrodden to a magical ending where every play went the Dodgers way.
Dodger Stadium was packed with 51,000, and it felt like most were basically just hanging around for the post-game fireworks show. The show got canceled due to how late the game ran and curfew laws, but fans sure got treated to something so much better with this 6-0 comeback, walkoff victory.
Tweets From #Dodgers Nation
Not quite what you were expecting, eh, Adam?
Its only the 3rd inn. 3-0 deficit. Plenty of time for the #Dodgers to come back.
— Adam (@JoyAdam_85) August 10, 2013
Some fans were calling for the comeback before the seventh inning even came!
#Dodgers down 6-0 in what will either be a truly forgettable game or an unforgettable classic come back
— Rick Mantz (@DRMustang22) August 10, 2013
Comeback? I think yes! #dodgers
— Robbie Hilton (@robbiehilton99) August 10, 2013
Or how about tonight?
— Alen (@heartlesslion) August 10, 2013
Dodger Stadium is THE place to be in Los Angeles right now.
— Frank Gamboa (@ixAmxAhAb) August 10, 2013
I'd put it second to the back-to-back-to-back-to-back+2-run walkoff, but yeah still awesome!
Best. Comeback. Win. Ever. #Dodgers
— Matthew Calderon (@himynameismattx) August 10, 2013