Bellinger: 2 HR, 1 record, 5th straight LA walk-off

July 4th, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- was talking about his first half of the 2019 season, but he could have been talking about the first half for his team. He could have been talking about the last five victories at home, all walk-offs, including the latest miracle on Vin Scully Avenue, his 29th home run in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday night that beat the D-backs, 5-4.

“I think I was feeling positive and confident going into the season, but I did not expect to do this,” said the starting All-Star outfielder, who is hitting .345 with 70 RBIs after a 2-for-5, two-homer game. “I don’t think anyone would expect to do this.”

Or that the Dodgers would be the first club with five consecutive walk-off wins since the 2004 Oakland A’s. Or that the Dodgers would be 14 games in front in the National League West, 30 games above .500 with an eight-game home win streak. The Dodgers are 36-9 at home, an .800 rate.

“It’s pretty crazy what we’re doing,” said Bellinger, who unloaded on starter Merrill Kelly for a 436-foot shot to center in the second inning, and then launched a 442-foot moonshot off Yoan Lopez to right-center with one out in the bottom of the 10th.

It’s pretty crazy to have Duke Snider and Gil Hodges looking up to you, but Bellinger leapt past both legends to top the franchise list for most home runs before the All-Star break at 29. He has reached base safely in 43 of 44 home games this season, the lone blemish when he went 0-for-1 off the bench on June 20.

On Tuesday night, Bellinger also turned the lights out with a bases-loaded walk, accounting for walk-offs Nos. 4 and 5 in the string, which began on the last homestand with walk-off home runs from rookies Matt Beaty, Alex Verdugo and Will Smith.

As bizarre as it sounds, it’s becoming a routine back page to the playbook.

“I love the result and appreciate the drama,” said manager Dave Roberts, “but we just don’t feel like we’re out of it. Get to the point where you expect to win. You play through eight [innings] and you expect a walk-off. We just wonder who’s going to be the next hero, and tonight it was Cody’s night. That’s why he’s an MVP.”

Bellinger has six of his homers in 10 games against the D-backs. Unlike the ridiculous walkathon of Tuesday night, Bellinger ended it with one swing, but only after both closers failed to get their jobs done.

Kenley Jansen allowed a one-out home run to Carson Kelly on a 2-2 cutter to give Arizona a 4-3 lead. But the Dodgers tied it off Greg Holland, who allowed four consecutive walks on Tuesday night and suffered a second consecutive blown save on Wednesday when Enrique Hernandez led off the bottom of the ninth with a double and was singled home by Beaty.

The Dodgers would load the bases on two walks by Yoshihisa Hirano, but missed a chance for a ninth-inning walk-off win when Verdugo bounced into an inning-ending double play.