Thanks to Trea, LA stays alive in NL West
LOS ANGELES -- Through four innings on Friday night against the Brewers, it looked like the Dodgers’ chase for a ninth consecutive National League West was going to fall just short.
The Dodgers were down four runs and had been forced to watch Clayton Kershaw walk off the mound with left forearm discomfort in the second inning. To make matters worse, every time they looked up at the out-of-town scoreboard, they could see the Giants closing in on another win against the Padres.
But these Dodgers have shown that they just won’t go down without a fight. They proved that again on Friday as Trea Turner continued his late bid for NL MVP with two homers, including a game-tying grand slam, in the Dodgers’ 8-6 comeback win over Milwaukee at Dodger Stadium.
With the win, the Dodgers stayed two games behind the Giants in the NL West with two games remaining in the regular season. San Francisco would win the division with a win or a Dodgers loss. In order for the Dodgers to win the division, they would need to force and then win a Game 163 on Monday at Oracle Park.
“At this point, I’m just assuming they’re winning because they win a lot, and so do we,” Turner said. “Like we keep saying, we have to take care of our own business and we did that tonight. It was a good start to the series and we’ll get back at it tomorrow.”
Kershaw got the start for the Dodgers on Friday, but the future Hall of Famer was taken out of the game after Kolten Wong’s RBI double in the second. From the beginning, Kershaw didn’t appear to have his best stuff, allowing five balls in play with an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher.
About an hour later, the Dodgers announced that it was a left forearm injury for Kershaw, the same injury that sidelined him for two months back in July. Kershaw will undergo further testing on Saturday, but the left-hander made it sound like he won’t be available to pitch in the postseason. That is a big blow for the Dodgers, who were expecting the likely future Hall of Famer to serve as one of their top three starters.
“This team is special, you saw it tonight, you saw what Trea did and what this team is capable of doing,” said an emotional Kershaw. “I’ve known that. I know that we’re going to do something special this year and I wanted to be a part of that. That’s the hardest part for me right now is just knowing that chances are that it’s not looking good [for me] in October right now.”
Losing Kershaw to injury is certainly a blow on and off the field for the Dodgers. The shock lingered inside the dugout for a few innings. The sold-out crowd of 51,388 were also in clear disbelief. The Dodgers desperately needed a spark or their fate was going to officially come down to a Wild Card Game against the Cardinals next Wednesday.
That’s when Turner stepped up.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the fifth and had the right guy due up to hit in Corey Seager, who was the team’s hottest hitter in September. Seager didn’t come through, however, popping up to third baseman Luis Urías for the second out. Luckily for the Dodgers, Turner has been just as hot as anybody in the Majors and delivered in a big way, launching Lauer’s first-pitch changeup into the left-center-field seats. It was Turner’s fourth career grand slam.
“I’m feeling much better,” Turner said. “The last week or two, I’ve started to feel a little bit more normal. I feel like I’m making the right adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. It’s kind of what I pride myself on, is kind of adjusting and trying to be consistent.”
Once Turner tied the game, the rest of his teammates finished off the rally. Matt Beaty connected with a go-ahead pinch-hit homer in the seventh to give the Dodgers a 6-5 lead. The Dodgers went on to score two more runs in the seventh to give them some cushion. Kenley Jansen, who entered with two outs in the eighth and a two-run lead, recorded his 350th career save with a four-out save.
It was an emotional day at Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers stayed alive with their third comeback win in the last two weeks.
“It’s the mark of a champion,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “There’s a lot of championship players in that clubhouse. We play 27 outs regardless of circumstances. It was a really good win.”