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Taylor's slam propels Dodgers past Brewers

June 3, 2017

MILWAUKEE -- Travis Shaw hit a go-ahead grand slam in the Brewers' five-run seventh inning, but Chris Taylor and the Dodgers had a very loud answer.Taylor smashed a go-ahead grand slam of his own off Brewers fill-in closer Carlos Torres in the ninth, as the Dodgers scored six runs in

MILWAUKEE -- Travis Shaw hit a go-ahead grand slam in the Brewers' five-run seventh inning, but Chris Taylor and the Dodgers had a very loud answer.
Taylor smashed a go-ahead grand slam of his own off Brewers fill-in closer Carlos Torres in the ninth, as the Dodgers scored six runs in the final two innings of a 10-8 win on Saturday at Miller Park. The National League West-leading Dodgers won for the 13th time in 17 games, while the NL Central-leading Brewers have lost nine of 13, including back-to-back heartbreakers.
"I knew he had a good cutter and I was just looking for a pitch over the middle and not expand away. That's where he gets his outs," said Taylor. "When it got to two strikes, I just shortened up and wanted to put one in play in the outfield. He left one over the middle and I put a good swing on it. That's the funny thing -- sometimes, the best swing is the two-strike swing, your batting-practice swing, when you don't have a tendency to do more, because that's when you get in trouble."
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
Taylor didn't make the club out of Spring Training, but since being recalled on April 19, he has seven homers -- two of them slams -- and a .985 OPS.
"For Chris and players that quote-unquote are good in the clutch, it's just not being afraid to fail," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "When balls are close to the zone, he can differentiate and not panic and stay in the zone. Fortunately, we're getting him in those spots and he's coming through."
With top relievers Corey Knebel and Jacob Barnes off-limits after pitching each of the previous three days, Brewers manager Craig Counsell turned to veteran Torres to protect an 8-5 lead in the ninth. The inning came apart after Torres issued a one-out walk to Corey Seager, first baseman Jesus Aguilar committed a costly error on a Yasmani Grandal grounder and Austin Barnes loaded the bases with a single. Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers' hero in a 12-inning, 2-1 win the night before, took a bases-loaded walk to make it 8-6.

The Brewers' bullpen remained still as Torres pushed past the 20-pitch mark against Taylor, who saw a cutter in the middle part of the plate and didn't miss. Taylor's third career grand slam left his bat at 106 mph, according to Statcast™, which projected the baseball would have traveled 430 feet had it not been met by the batter's eye in straightaway center field.
"The team fought back hard and played hard the entire game," said Torres. "I lost it for them."
Roberts before the game said closer Kenley Jansen was unavailable after working two innings on Friday and managed this game with that in mind, trying to milk his middle relievers after Rich Hill's short start. But during the seventh-inning rally, Jansen phoned pitching coach Rick Honeycutt from the bullpen to say he could throw an inning, and he pitched around an infield hit in the bottom of the ninth for his ninth save and first since May 18.

A pitchers' duel this was not. After Clayton Kershaw and Jimmy Nelson combined for 15 brilliant innings on Friday night, Hill and Matt Garza were both out of the game by the fifth. Garza exited after four innings with a bruised chest caused by a collision with Aguilar near first base, and Hill allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits, four walks and a run-scoring wild pitch, while navigating four innings on 97 pitches.
"This game had everything. It was a crazy game," said Roberts. "You just wanted to get this one over. There were great at-bats, great pitching, bad pitching, big hits. Can't say enough about the at-bat C.T. put on Torres. But the leadup to that, to take the walks, and the way we were all over the bases today, to get that big hit was huge."
Aguilar in the spotlight:
Six-foot-3, 250-pound Aguilar usually stands out, but that was especially true on Saturday. His screaming ground ball past Enrique Hernandez in the first inning produced the Brewers' first run, and Aguilar added a solo home run off Hill in the third for a 3-2 lead.

But in the fourth, Aguilar collided with Garza as the two converged on first base, leading to Garza's exit a half-inning later after 64 pitches. The Dodgers couldn't score in that inning despite collecting a hit, two walks and three stolen bases against a wounded Garza. In the ninth, with the Brewers ahead by three runs and a runner aboard, Aguilar fielded Grandal's grounder and could have stepped on first base. Instead, he threw toward second and hit Seager in the back for an error that helped L.A. load the bases.
"That's just a mistake," Counsell said. "If anything, step on the bag and throw it, but take the out there at first for sure. … If we take that out, that's a different inning. I believe that for sure."
"That's definitely a mental error on my part," Aguilar said.

Shaw slam: The Dodgers had a 4-3 lead when right-hander Chris Hatcher headed to the mound in the seventh for a second inning of work and loaded the bases with a trio of walks and a costly balk mixed in. That prompted a change to Josh Fields, who was greeted by Shaw with a grand slam that sneaked over the right-field wall for a 7-4 Brewers lead. Two pitches later, Hernan Perez homered to left to extend the advantage. Fields had allowed only one home run in 22 previous appearances this season and had gone 19 games without allowing a run on the road, dating to last Aug. 22 at Cincinnati. More >

"You're up 8-4 in the eighth, that's a game we expect to win 10 out of 10 times," Shaw said. "This one [stings] a little bit."

"We've got to play better against these teams to beat them. That's the bottom line. We did some really good things, but to beat teams like this, we've got to do more. -- Counsell
The Dodgers had seven steals in a game for the first time since Aug. 23, 1999, also against the Brewers.

Dodgers: Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda (4-2, 5.21 ERA) has yet to surpass five innings since he returned from the 10-day DL with a hamstring injury on May 25. He will seek to extend his outing in his 10th start of the season at 11:10 a.m. PT on Sunday.
Brewers: Over his two-year MLB career, Brewers right-hander Zach Davies (5-3, 5.18 ERA) has given up four home runs to this Dodgers team. He'll hope to avoid giving up a fifth when he takes the mound in the series finale, beginning at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday at Miller Park.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for