It was a showcase of shorstops
Corey Seager hit not one, but two homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied past their rivals, the San Francisco Giants, in dramatic fashion, 6-4, for their sixth straight win on Friday Night at Dodger Stadium.
The reigning Rookie of the Year started off the battle of the best shorstops in baseball with a solo shot to left field in the first inning as the Dodgers jumped out to an early lead.
But San Francisco's Silver Slugger, Brandon Crawford, responded with a solo shot of his own to tie the game in the second inning.
"I really enjoy watching him play," Seager said of his rival at shortstop. "Every part of his game is great. He's really good, and won a bunch of awards, so it's a fan experience for me to watch guys like that play."
Los Angeles recaptured the lead in the bottom of the fifth with some textbook small ball:
Austin Barnes led off the inning with a walk, then stole second and advanced to third base on a wild throw by Giants' catcher Nick Hundley. After a walk to Joc Pederson, Barnes scored on a swinging bunt to short by Alex Wood.
"I try to be as well-rounded as you can be as a baseball player," Barnes said of his walk and baserunning in that inning. "I pride myself on being a complete player, so baserunning I take very serious. We tried to be aggressive. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't."
Wood coughed up the lead in the top of the seventh as once again Brandon Crawford was behind the comeback for the Giants.
Crawford reached second base on a throwing error by Seager, and then scored three pitches later on an RBI single for Jae-guyn Hwang.
"At the last moment I tried to not throw it, but it slipped out of my hand," Seager said of the error. "It caused a run and a guy came to second. When it slips out of your hand, it hurts a little more."
However, Hwang's single was only the beginning, as San Francisco scored two more runs off Wood, taking a 4-2 lead into the final three frames.
Wood (12-1) earned the victory, despite leaving the game for a pinch-hitter with the Dodgers trailing. The All-Star left-hander allowed four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts in seven innings.
"There was a few I would like to have back, but overall I felt pretty good tonight," Wood said of his outing. "Corey's special, man. He's a lot of fun to watch. It's nice when you come out and you're losing 4-2 and you know that your lineup is going to go back out there and score a couple runs."
Despite the win, Wood struggled for the second straight start, and raised his ERA to 2.38 on the season. At Dodger Stadium this season, Wood is 8-1 with a 2.95 ERA and has limited opponents to a .208 batting average.
As they've done time and time again, the Dodgers rallied for their 30th come from behind victory of the season.
"It's special is the only way to describe it," Wood said of the team's comeback victories this season. "If the game is close, we always feel like we have a chance to win."
After allowing three runs to their rivals in the top of the seventh, the Dodgers responded with a four-run burst in the bottom half of the inning.
Chris Taylor tied the game with a two-out RBI double, and Seager put the exclamation point on the comeback with a two-run blast to right field that gave the Dodgers a 6-4 lead.
"That was a fun one," Seager said of his game-winning homer. "It was a curveball. They had been throwing them to me all game, so I was ready for it."
The go-ahead homer was Seager's second of the game, and the sixth multi-homer game of his young career.
"You don't see much emotion for him normally," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said of Seager. "For him to get the go-ahead home run, I know he was excited."
Matt Moore started for San Francisco, but did not factor in the decision, he allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks in six and 1/3 innings of work.
"I thought he threw the ball well," Giants' manager Bruce Bochy said of Moore's start. "That walk to start out the seventh hurt him, and then he hung a breaking ball for a double. Great effort, he left the game with the lead."
Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the top of the ninth for his 26th save of the season. Jansen has tossed scoreless innings of relief in 38 out of 43 appearances this season and sports a record of 5-0 with a 1.39 ERA.
The Dodgers improved to 72-31 on the season, 41 games above .500 for the first time in franchise history since 1974. The only other team in history to reach the 40 games over .500 mark faster was the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
The Dodgers have won 37 of their last 43 games, the best 43-game stretch in franchise history. Their 41 games over .500 is more games than the Giants (40-64) have won all season.
"They're pretty good aren't they?" Bochy said of the Boys in Blue. "This is one of the best teams in recent history. The number of wins, the pitching, the offense, the bullpen, this is a pretty good team."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the victory was the Dodgers 51st consecutive win when leading at any point, the longest streak in MLB history.
Dodgers' catcher Kyle Farmer was promoted from Triple-A OKC before the game. Farmer was college roommates with Friday night's starting pitcher Alex Wood at the University of Georgia. Farmer did not appear in the game and will have to wait to make his MLB debut.
"He's pitching better here than he did at Georgia," said Farmer of his friend and roommate Alex Wood. "I got to warm him up in the game. It was a great experience. I'm glad to call him my good friend."
Saturday features a rare early game as LHP Ty Blach starts for San Francisco opposite Rich Hill for the Dodgers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10PM PST.