Los Angeles

Justin Turner Delivers Latest Drama as Dodgers Sweep Twins

Justin Turner knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth and the Los Angeles Dodgers came from behind for their eighth walk-off victory as they swept the Minnesota Twins, 6-5, on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Just call them the Twin killers. 

Justin Turner knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth and the Los Angeles Dodgers came from behind for their eighth walk-off victory, as they swept the Minnesota Twins, 6-5, on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers won their fifth game in a row as they erased a five-run deficit against a Twins team that was just the latest L.A. opponent to witness the magic from the best team in baseball. 

"It's pick your poison against this team," said Minnesota manager Paul Molitor of the Dodgers. "In three days, losing a couple ball games they way we have is something we haven't had to deal with too much this year."

The five-run comeback victory matches the largest deficit the Dodgers have overcome as Los Angeles scored four runs in the final three innings to wash away the reeling Twins with their 13th sweep of the season, the most in the Majors.

"We knew there was still a lot of game left," Turner said of the comeback. "You knew something was going to happen, you just don't know who it is with this bunch. It's been really fun to be a part of."

Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer combined for four RBI for the Twins, and starting pitcher Ervin Santana gave the Dodgers fits on the mound, and at the plate, as he reached base safely because of an error in each of his first two plate appearances.

With Jason Castro on first base and one-out in the top of the third inning, Santana sacrifice bunted to catcher Yasmani Grandal who opted to throw to second base to try and get the lead runner.

Unfortunately, Grandal's throw was off target and the ball went into center field, allowing both runners to reach base safely.

Three batters later, Mauer hit a two-run single up the middle to give the Twins an early 3-0 lead.

"We got off to a good start, and got a couple big hits by Joe [Mauer] and Doz [Dozier]," said Molitor. "Ervin threw the ball really well, but they put together a rally. It's tough, we had a chance to win the game."

The 34-year-old Mauer owns the highest batting average (.529) against the Dodgers among all active players with a minimum of 45 at-bats. 

It was nearly déjà vu for the Dodgers in the top of the fourth, when again Santana came to the plate with Castro on first. This time, Santana hit a routine ground ball to second base that went through the legs of Logan Forsythe for the error.

One batter later, Dozier doubled to right field and the Twins led 5-0 without scoring an earned run in the game.

"We got behind the eight-ball a little bit early," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "It was uncharacteristic early with the defense."

Dodgers' pitcher Brock Stewart was unlucky in his first start of the season, originally leaving the game as the losing pitcher of record, after allowing five unearned runs on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts in just three and 2/3 innings.

Fortunately for Stewart, he would not get the loss in his first start since Sept. 17, 2016 as Los Angeles began to chip away at the lead with solo home runs by Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.

"You can't really put it into words," said Stewart of his team after the game. "It's like we know we're going to win every game."

Pederson got the Dodgers on the board when he sent a four-seam fastball from Santana into the seats in right-center.

An inning later, it was Puig, who watched his 395-foot shot fly into the bullpen after yet another four-seam fastball from Santana.

"It's really a lot of preparation," said Puig through a translator of his home run and the team's record overall. "We put a lot of work in before every game and it's paying off the on the field."

Two innings later, the Dodgers got within a run when pinch-hitter Chase Utley hit a clutch two-out double to the left-center gap that scored Forsythe and Grandal.

The Dodgers got the equalizer on a bizarre play in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on 1st and 3rd and one out, Forsythe hit a shallow pop fly to centerfielder Zach Granite.

Rather than throw home to get Justin Turner (who is not fleet of foo) at the plate, Granite threw to first to try and pick off Enrique Hernandez who was running on the play.

However, Mauer was not on first and the ball bounced into the stands, allowing Turner to score and Hernandez to head to third.

"It looks bad because we had nobody there," Molitor said of the play. "He [Granite] committed to the throw before he realized we had nobody there."

Despite all his efforts, Santana did not factor in the decision, allowing four runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 6 and 2/3 innings.

The Dodgers picked the perfect time to win the game as they used their final position player when pinch-hitter Austin Barnes singled up the middle with one-out in the bottom of the ninth.

Chris Taylor followed with a single and Corey Seager moved the runners over for Turner who hit an RBI single to right-field to walk-off the Boys in Blue.

"I was just trying to battle and stay in the strike zone," said Turner of his fina at-bat. "I got a sinker up and tried to pull it and luckily it found a hole."

The game-winning single was Turner's first walk-off hit of the season, and third of his career. At Dodger Stadium, Turner is batting .363 with 23 runs, 12 doubles, seven home runs and 26 RBI this season.

"Any time the game is on the line, I'll take my chances with J.T. [Turner]," added Dave Roberts. "This is who we are. We play 27 outs and play til the end."

All-star closer Kenley Jansen earned the win by pitching a scoreless ninth, despite allowing a leadoff double to Max Kepler. 

Los Angeles is 71-31, and are 40 games over .500 for the first time since 1974. They are 36-6 in their last 42 games and 12-4 against the American League this season, the most wins in MLB during interleague play.

The Dodgers have an MLB-best 29 comeback victories this season and for all the cause for concern, with the latest injury to Clayton Kershaw, are 51-31 in games the three-time Cy Young Award winner doesn't pitch, including 4-0, since he went on the disabled list with a lower back strain.

Speaking of Kershaw, it was Clayton Kershaw bobblehead night at the Ravine as his daughter, Cali Ann, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.

Up Next: 

The Dodgers are off on Thursday and will compete in a charity ping-pong tournament hosted by Clayton Kershaw. The rival San Francisco Giants come to town for a three-game weekend series on Friday night.

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