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Game. Over. Cannon throw rescues Dodgers

@kengurnick
August 6, 2020

Ross Stripling fired a season-high 95 mph fastball Wednesday night, but he was more impressed with the velocity of the Dodgers’ third-string left fielder, Chris Taylor. “CT93.3!” tweeted Stripling, after “CT3” Taylor saved the Dodgers’ 7-6 win over the Padres with a double-play catch and throw in the bottom of

Ross Stripling fired a season-high 95 mph fastball Wednesday night, but he was more impressed with the velocity of the Dodgers’ third-string left fielder, Chris Taylor.

“CT93.3!” tweeted Stripling, after “CT3” Taylor saved the Dodgers’ 7-6 win over the Padres with a double-play catch and throw in the bottom of the ninth, hauling in Manny Machado’s line drive and nailing Trent Grisham as the potential tying run at the plate with a Statcast-verified 93.3 mph one-hop strike to catcher Will Smith.

Box score

“Manny hit it pretty low, so I got a pretty good jump. I don’t think he really got into it,” said Taylor. “Luckily, my momentum was already taking me in and I just tried to get rid of it as quick as I could and make it easy on Will on one hop.”

Smith made a sweep tag on Grisham and the initial out call was confirmed on review for a walk-off double play.

“I don’t think I’ve ever ended a game on the defensive side like that,” said Taylor. “It was pretty exhilarating. Especially coming through for Kenley [Jansen].

“It was an exciting series, back and forth and hard-fought, and they have a lot of talented players, young players. I think they’re trying to make a statement and it was a big win, especially in that fashion. They fought back all the way to the last out, got to give them credit.”

No regrets from Padres manager Jayce Tingler.

“Manny squared a ball up to left field, and they made a hell of a play,” Tingler said. “It had to be a perfect throw, and it was a perfect one-hop throw and tag. We're going to tag 10 out of 10 times on that.”

Taylor saved Jansen’s save of Striping’s third win. On a pitching staff with Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and, initially, David Price, Stripling leads the staff at 3-0.

“I was in the locker room, man. I went nuts,” Stripling said of the game-ending play. “C.T. is such a gamer, catching that ball and the throw home. That was really cool.”

Most of the production was supplied by a pair of Joc Pederson home runs for five RBIs, but he seemed just as thrilled with Taylor’s impact.

“Incredible,” Pederson said. “You couldn’t have wrote it up better. That was huge, got us out of a jam and won the series for us.”

With the win, the Dodgers hit the one-fifth mark in the schedule with a 7-2 record on their longest trip of the season, winning all three series, and this series without Mookie Betts starting any games because of an injured finger.

“Solid 'A,'” was manager Dave Roberts’ grade of the trip. “A lot of expectations, noise going into Houston, a team that’s played us tough like Arizona in their place, to win three of four there, then a team that’s on the come in San Diego and they gave us all we could handle. To come in here and win two of three, the off-day is certainly welcome.”

Taylor, Pederson and Stripling are just further examples of the Dodgers’ depth. Taylor is not atop the depth chart at any of the three outfield spots, but he plays plenty and in this game also tripled, singled and scored two runs before unleashing his game-saving throw.

“Chris has done so much to help us win baseball games,” said Roberts. “He’s a manager’s dream, always ready when called upon and seems to impact the game every time he’s in there.”

Taylor started in left and Pederson started in right because Betts, who probably has the strongest arm of all Dodgers outfielders, still can’t bat because of the left middle finger he hurt in Arizona on Sunday.

Whether it’s Taylor or Pederson or Stripling, the Dodgers keep throwing wave after wave of talent at the opposition. And the Dodgers thought they had Pederson and Stripling traded to the Angels in February as part of a trade that originally was tied to the acquisition of Betts from the Red Sox, but the Angels reportedly pulled out of the deal because the Dodgers wouldn’t complete it until the players in the Betts deal had been finalized.

Now Pederson remains a key component in the Dodgers’ slugging offense, while Stripling has taken on a role of significance with the uncertainty of the rest of the starting rotation.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.