Roberts: 'The Fresh Prince delivered again'

Rookie Will Smith breaks open 0-0 game with three-run homer in ninth

August 1st, 2019

DENVER -- The upside to rejecting trades that cost a ransom in prospects is watching one of those prospects, Will Smith, slug a three-run homer to trigger a five-run ninth inning in a 5-1 win for the Dodgers over the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.

“The Fresh Prince delivered again,” said manager Dave Roberts, who made Smith the primary starting catcher when he was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday. “He just keeps taking good at-bats. Just comes up in big spots and big hits.”

Smith slugged a three-run walk-off homer against the Rockies on June 23, and he has three last-at-bat, game-winning home runs in only 13 Major League games, so late-inning clutch is already a given. This one came off a 1-1 fastball from Colorado closer Wade Davis, and it landed a projected 449 feet away in left-center field. 

“Just trying to get something to the outfield, and it worked out and went over the fence,” said Smith, who has five homers and 15 RBIs.

Before the ninth inning was over, Alex Verdugo had his fourth hit of the game, and Kristopher Negron had homered for the second time since his acquisition from the Mariners on Sunday night.

Smith just as seamlessly has taken over for Austin Barnes defensively. He caught Hyun-Jin Ryu for the first time this year, and Ryu pitched six scoreless innings, allowing three hits and lowering his MLB-best ERA to 1.66.

“Both sides of the baseball, just really good,” Roberts said of Smith. “It speaks to his character and makeup, and internally we really understand that.”

A shutout got away with a ninth-inning run allowed by J.T. Chargois, prompting Roberts to bring in closer Kenley Jansen in a non-save situation. Jansen got three outs while facing two batters.

Ryu’s shutout lasted as long as it did because of right fielder Cody Bellinger, who threw out catcher Tony Wolters at the plate trying to score from second base on a two-out single by Charlie Blackmon in the third inning. It was Bellinger’s ninth outfield assist this year.