LOS ANGELES – "I don't believe what I just saw." -- Vin Scully
Yasiel Puig scored the game-winning run in the most unlikely of finishes as an error-aided single became a de facto inside-the-park home run and the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Washington Nationals, 4-3, in walk-off fashion for their sixth-straight win on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
After a one-out single by Howie Kendrick, Puig singled up the middle to centerfield. Nationals outfielder, Michael Taylor, took his eye off the ball and it rolled under his glove, all the way to the wall, allowing Puig to score a little-league home run of epic proportions.
"I was happy for the hit," Puig said at first of the play as it unfolded in front of him. "Nobody thought the ball would go through, so when the ball did go through, I had to talk to my hamstring to tell it go all the way home."
The Dodgers were two outs away having their season-high five-game win steak snapped before Taylor's error saved the day, giving LA a six-game wining streak and one of the most improbable walk-off victories you will ever see.
"That was a crazy game," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said. "That was the last thing on my mind. I took my eye off the ball so I didn't really see what happened, but it was a fun finish."
With the game tied 2-2, Pedro Baez entered the game in the eighth inning and surrendered his seventh home run of the season to Wilson Ramos who clobbered a changeup 422-feet into the left field pavilion.
"He hung a changeup," Roberts said of Baez, matter of factly. "It seems like whenever Petey [Baez] gets in there, he's the victim of the homer."
All seven home runs allowed by Baez this year have come in the seventh, eighth or ninth innings, typically costing the Dodgers leads, or giving the opponent go-ahead runs.
The back-and-forth battlle began when the Dodgers opened up the scoring on Chase Utley's 1000th career run scored. Utley became just the 13th active player in the major league to cross the plate 1000 times when he scored on a wild pitch by Joe Ross in the bottom of the first inning.
"It's a cool accomplishment," Utley said of the milestone. "I've been fortunate to be on good teams who constantly drive guys on base in, so it's more of a team accomplishment than an individual accomplishment."
Ross made up for his mistake in the second inning when he doubled home Danny Espinosa to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. It was the first RBI of Ross' career. The right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits in 6 and 1/3 innings.
Julio Urias struggled in that second inning in an otherwise sensational start for the 19-year-old star. Outside of the second inning, the "Teenager" scattered just three other hits in five strong innings.
"I struggled a little bit. The curve and the fastball just weren't there," Urias said through a translator after the game. "It was only in the last three innings that my curveball started working and I was able to incorporate it. The good thing is that the team was able to win."
Urias is still in search of his first career victory after receiving a no-decision in his sixth career start allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts, throwing a career-high 94 pitches.
Corey Seager hit his 16th homer of the season to tie the game in the bottom of the third inning. Seager's blast was the 13th consecutive game the Dodgers have homered, and the rookie is just two long balls shy of Hanley Ramirez's team record for most homers by a shortstop.
Nobody feels worse tonight then Taylor who struck out five times--otherwise known as "the olympic rings"--before the game-ending error in centerfield.
"It was a tough day for Michael [Taylor] period. It was probably one of the toughest days he'll have the rest of his career," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "He struck out five times. I'm sure he feels terrible. Right now, he feels like the loneliest guy on earth."
The three-game sweep of the Nationals was the first time the Dodgers have swept Washington at home since April of 2012.
Players of the Game:
Corey Seager: 3-for-4 with a home run.
Wilson Ramos: Solo home run.
Chase Utley: 1000th career run scored.
1. 1000 Club: Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman, Chase Utley, became just the 13th active player in baseball to record his 1000th run scored when he crossed the plate on a wild pitch in the first inning. Utley became the first Dodger player since Devon White on May 5, 1999 to score 1000 runs in their carer.
After scoring his 1,000th career run, publicity-averse Chase Utley was coaxed into making a curtain call by the cheering home crowd. — Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) June 23, 2016
2. Dusty's Trail: The Los Angeles Dodgers organization welcomed back Nationals manager Dusty Baker to the city he played eight seasons of his Major League career with. Baker was a two-time All-Star with the Dodgers and is one of seven active MLB managers to have played for the Dodgers (Brad Ausmus, Craig Counsell, Chip Hale, Mike Scioscia, Robin Ventura and Dave Roberts). To honor Baker, the first 40,000 fans in attendance received a Dusty Baker Bobblehead presented by Security Benefit.
3. Lucky 13: Thanks to Corey Seager's third inning solo shot, the Los Angeles Dodgers have now homered in a season-high 13 straight games. It's the first time the Dodgers have homered in 13 or more games since July of 2001. They are one home run shy of the 2016 Major League mark of 14 consecutive games set by the Washington Nationals earlier this year.
Nationals (43-30): Washington has a travel day as they head to Milwaukee for a three-game series with the Brewers.
Dodgers (41-33): The Dodgers will have an off day on Thursday as they travel to Pittsburgh to open a four-game set with the Pirates.
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