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Bellinger makes 3 incredible plays in 1 game

@kengurnick
May 28, 2019

LOS ANGELES – The Cody Bellinger MVP Tour returned to Dodger Stadium on Monday night with the slugging outfielder unleashing his boundless talents and leaving his manager, as well as the opposition, at a loss to explain it. Bellinger homered, threw out one runner at home plate and another at

LOS ANGELES – The Cody Bellinger MVP Tour returned to Dodger Stadium on Monday night with the slugging outfielder unleashing his boundless talents and leaving his manager, as well as the opposition, at a loss to explain it.

Bellinger homered, threw out one runner at home plate and another at third base to prevent another run, cutting off an eighth-inning comeback as the Dodgers rallied, then held on, for a 9-5 win over the Mets in the homestand opener.

Box score

“Words are tough to come by,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I don’t know if they give out Gold Gloves in May, but it’s hard to see it play out any other way.”

Roberts said there’s only one comp to what Bellinger can do to impact a game and he used the name – Mike Trout – with trepidation.

“You’re talking about slug, average, on base, first-to-third, stolen bases, catching the baseball, outfield assists, all that stuff,” said Roberts. “To do what he can do, to check all those boxes. You’ve got to be careful when you’re talking about Mike Trout. That’s longevity, too. For a two-month span, that’s kind of what you’re talking about.”

In the first inning, Bellinger charged Todd Frazier’s slow bouncer and threw a strike from shallow right field to catcher Russell Martin, who made a swift tag on Michael Conforto to help hold the Mets to one run off Clayton Kershaw that inning.

Bellinger’s 19th home run came off Jacob deGrom in the third inning and gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

But the play that Roberts called “the game-changer” came in the top of the eighth inning. With a six-run sixth inning, powered by slumping pinch-hitter Enrique Hernandez’s three-run homer, the Dodgers gave a five-run lead in the eighth to Joe Kelly, who had been activated earlier in the day from the bereavement list. But Kelly served up a two-run homer to Adeiny Hechavarria to cut the lead to 8-5. Dylan Floro retired one of three batters, and Roberts called on Kenley Jansen for a five-out save with the bases loaded and J.D. Davis up.

Davis, who homered off Kershaw in the fifth inning for a 3-2 lead, hit a fly ball to medium-deep right field. Bellinger initially broke in, backtracked and decided not to even try for catcher Tomas Nido tagging from third to home. Instead, with Carlos Gomez tagging from second to third, Bellinger uncorked a missile to third baseman Justin Turner, who slapped the tag before Gomez could touch third base or Nido could reach the plate to end the inning on a double-play.

“The mentality,” said Bellinger, “was to throw it as hard as I could.”

"It was just an unbelievable throw,” said Mets manager Mickey Callaway. “You're going to see that on highlights for the next 30 years. They're going to be playing that over and over. It's kind of like one of those throws Vlad made 20 years ago. It was just an unbelievable play."

It was Bellinger’s second outfield assist of the night, seventh of the season and it gave the Dodgers three outfield assists in a game for the first time since April 2, 1998, against St. Louis. The other outfield assist came on a relay from left fielder Joc Pederson to shortstop Corey Seager to Martin, erasing Nido, who tried to score from first on Amed Rosario’s second double of the game.

“We saved ourselves an inning of baseball with the assists,” said Roberts.

Bellinger came to bat in the eighth inning. The crowd began chanting “M-V-P, M-V-P.” Bellinger heard it.

“It was cool,” said Bellinger, who added a single that at-bat. “I stepped out for a second because it got in my head a little bit. Then I got the focus back. It was special.”

Kershaw, now 5-0 on the season and 9-0 in the regular season for his career against the Mets, ticked off a few other high achievers he’s seen in drawing comparisons to Bellinger.

“I’ve seen a few stretches here,” said Kershaw. “What Matt Kemp did in 2011 and 2012. Manny [Ramirez] when he first got here in 2008. [Andre Ethier] had a few good runs. Justin Turner. But this is really special and he’s doing everything. He’s the best player for us, that’s all that matters.”

Hernandez’s home run off Daniel Zamora came three batters after Chris Taylor’s tying home run off Tyler Bashlor. Hernandez, who was hitting .217 after losing playing time to Taylor, sent an 0-2 pitch the opposite way for his eighth home run of the season and second in May.

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