Muncy's walk-off slam the perfect end to perfect homestand

May 4th, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- After dropping the series to the Pirates in Pittsburgh, the Dodgers flew back to Los Angeles searching for answers. Their record was 13-13, a .500 clip that was nearly nonexistent over the past two seasons.

Given the new faces on the team and a quiet offseason that saw two of the club’s veterans sign elsewhere, the questions from outside the clubhouse continued to mount. Maybe the Dodgers were headed for a down season after winning a combined 217 games from 2021-22.

But the Dodgers remained confident they would turn things around sooner than later. They felt they just needed to get healthier and hit a successful stretch to get back on track.

A perfectly timed six-game homestand fell right in their laps, and the Dodgers responded with their best baseball of the season, winning the first five games against the Cardinals and Phillies with ease. But the Dodgers saved their best trick for last, erasing a five-run deficit on Wednesday, with ’s walk-off grand slam securing the 10-6 victory over the Phillies for a second straight series sweep at Dodger Stadium.

“We’re still finding out our personality, our identity and knowing who we are as an offense, as a pitching staff,” Muncy said. “It just takes time to get all the guys in the clubhouse. You go on road trips. You’re hanging out with the guys. You start learning who everyone is. … Once you do that, you start finding your identity as a team. We really did that on this homestand.”

When the Dodgers are at their best, Muncy always seems to be in the middle of the action. He draws the most walks on the team, and he now leads the Majors with 12 homers this season. With some of the struggles Muncy went through last season, he’s often an overlooked member of the team. Now, he’s reminding everyone why he’s a two-time All-Star.

On Wednesday, Muncy became the first Dodger to hit a walk-off grand slam since Andre Ethier on May 6, 2010.

“It’s a chip that I think he should carry with him throughout the season. And I expect that,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “But you got to let your play do the talking, and that’s what he’s doing right now.”

While Muncy was the ultimate hero, the Dodgers used just about every player on the roster to win.

, the organization's No. 4 prospect, got the start in his Major League debut. Stone showed flashes of what has made him a top prospect, but a four-run third inning made it a rough introduction to the Majors.

Despite trailing 5-0, the Dodgers’ offense chipped away, something they’ve excelled at over the past few weeks. opened the scoring for L.A. with a single in the third to cut the deficit to 5-1.

In the fourth, the other two Dodger rookies made sure Stone came away with a no-decision. doubled off right-hander Aaron Nola and continued his hot stretch, smacking a two-run homer to straightaway center field.

After pulling to within a run in the seventh, the Dodgers were tasked with facing left-hander José Alvarado in the eighth. Alvarado was one of baseball’s most dominant relievers in April, but that didn’t seem to faze Los Angeles.

, who pinch-hit for , started the rally with a one-out single. Outman followed with a double on the first pitch he saw. , who is in the worst stretch of his career at the plate, was also given the opportunity to pinch-hit against Alvarado and delivered with the biggest hit of his season, a two-run single that just sneaked under the glove of third baseman Edmundo Sosa.

“He’s been one of the best relievers in the game and we were able to do what we did today. I think that says a lot about what kind of club we want to be,” Rojas said. “We’re never going to say, ‘OK, this game is over.’ It’s never going to be over until we fight to the last out.”

Things took a slight detour in the top of the ninth as the Phillies mounted a two-out rally against that ended with Bryson Stott’s game-tying single. But in the ninth, the Dodgers quickly jumped on Kimbrel, with Muncy clearing the bases to end the game.

It was the perfect cap to what could ultimately be a season-defining homestand for Los Angeles. At least for a week, a lot of questions were answered, and the Dodgers looked like themselves once again.

“The makeup [of the team] is really starting to show itself,” Roberts said. “For me, it’s coming together like it’s supposed to.”