Here's how Dodgers swung momentum with huge 7-run 9th inning

L.A. had 0.5% win probability entering frame down by 5 runs

June 19th, 2024

DENVER -- The Dodgers’ lineup might look a little different without Mookie Betts at the top. But on Tuesday, the Dodgers proved they’re still one of the most formidable units in the sport and can pounce at any given moment.

Down five runs going into the ninth inning, the Dodgers could have easily packed it up and chalked it up as a loss. Instead, they completed one of the wildest comebacks of the season, putting up a seven-spot against the Rockies’ bullpen to complete a stunning 11-9 win at Coors Field.

It’s just the sixth time in franchise history that the Dodgers pulled off a comeback win when trailing by five or more runs in the ninth inning or later and the first since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.

“We always talk about it here in the clubhouse: Don’t give away at-bats,” said Dodgers outfielder , who put the finishing touches on the comeback with a two-out three-run homer. “Fight through the at-bats, see a lot of pitches and try to get a good one.”

provided the first big swing of the inning, skying a pinch-hit grand slam to cut the Dodgers’ deficit to one run. Four batters later, it was Hernández’s turn to deliver the heroics. But outside of those two big swings, the Dodgers put together good at-bats up and down the lineup during that frame.

“Man, there’s a lot to unpack,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Yes, there is. So let’s take a look at one of the most impressive innings in recent memory.

The Dodgers' win probability vs. the Rockies, as measured by Baseball Savant

Setting the tone
Win probability entering inning: 0.5 percent

With the deck stacked considerably against them, the Dodgers got to work. Andy Pages got the inning started with a leadoff walk. That was followed by a Miguel Rojas single. Two batters later, Miguel Vargas worked a seven-pitch plate appearance to load up the bases.

Once Vargas drew the walk, you could feel the dugout start to get some extra juice. The stage was starting set for Heyward, who came in as a pinch-hitter for Chris Taylor.

The grand slam
Win probability before at-bat: 3.3 percent
Win probability after at-bat: 8.7 percent

Coming into the at-bat, Heyward said he knew right-hander Tyler Kinley pitched with some high velocity at the top of the zone in order to set him up with the slider later.

“I just told myself, ‘All right, you got a feel for the take, you got a feel for the swing,’” Heyward said. “Just right there, take your time. If it’s there, it’s there. If it’s not, tip my cap.”

The 2-2 slider turned out to be right at the perfect spot for Heyward, who lifted one down deep into right field. There was no question Heyward had gotten enough. It was only a matter of it would stay fair or not. In the end, the ball bounced off the foul pole in order to cut the Dodgers’ deficit to just one run.

“I think it was the Heyward grand slam,” Roberts said, when asked when he felt the momentum swing to the Dodgers’ side. “We were still building an inning and they had their closer in there. For me, I just wanted to get Shohei [Ohtani] up.”

Teoscar delivers … again
Win probability before at-bat: 14 percent
Win probability after at-bat: 91.6 percent

The Dodgers did, in fact, get Ohtani up in that inning, and the superstar designated hitter kept the rally going with a one-out single. Behind him, Will Smith struck out looking. After a wild pitch allowed Ohtani to reach second, the Rockies elected to walk Freddie Freeman intentionally.

With the way Hernández has fared in big spots this season for the Dodgers, that proved to be a very risky move. But it came with some drama first. With two strikes, Hernández checked his swing. Both Hernández and Roberts said the call could have gone either way. In the end, the only opinion that mattered was first-base umpire Lance Barksdale, who said Hernández checked his swing in time.

On the very next pitch, Hernández lofted one to deep right-center field. He immediately flipped his bat and pounded his chest. The Dodgers had completed the comeback, serving as one of the most memorable moments of the season and a perfect illustration of what they can accomplish when they’re all locked in at the plate.

“In those situations, I just want to get a good pitch to hit to tie the game with a man on second,” Hernández smiled. “I put a little extra and it went over the fence.”