PHOENIX -- Chris Taylor had the game of his life Friday night. On Saturday, he'll show up not knowing if he'll even play.The dugout is his primary workplace. His job is mostly to sit and watch and be ready, just in case. On Friday night, it was in case Trayce
PHOENIX -- Chris Taylor had the game of his life Friday night. On Saturday, he'll show up not knowing if he'll even play.
The dugout is his primary workplace. His job is mostly to sit and watch and be ready, just in case. On Friday night, it was in case Trayce Thompson was hurt, triggering a ripple effect that had Taylor, as the starting second baseman, drive in six runs and fall a single shy of the third cycle in Los Angeles history as the Dodgers outslugged the D-backs, 13-7.
In only his 11th game as a Dodger and 97th in the Major Leagues over three seasons, Taylor made a gallant bid for the first cycle of his life at any level. He followed a second-inning strikeout with a fourth-inning two-run triple, a fifth-inning double, a sixth-inning grand slam and attempted a bunt single in the eighth that was close enough to the mound for pitcher Josh Collmenter to make a difficult play.
Taylor became the first Los Angeles Dodger, and only the fourth in franchise history, whose first Major League home run was a grand slam. The others are Chico Fernandez (1956), Irv Palica (1950) and Preston Ward (1948).
"That's pretty cool, that's awesome," Taylor said.
While bunting for a personal achievement with a five-run lead might leave the opposition feeling shown up, manager Dave Roberts said he gave Taylor the green light.
"We're up five runs in that situation, but you look at the scoreboard and see a five-run inning, a four-run inning, two three-run innings and to try to win in this park, you've to play by different rules," said Roberts. "I thought it was a heady play and if executed better he'd have hit for the cycle."
The only previous Los Angeles Dodgers with cycles are Wes Parker in 1970 and Orlando Hudson in 2009. Parker got his triple in the 10th inning.
"I thought it was a good time," said Taylor. "They had the third baseman back and it's always been part of my game, regardless of the hits. In that situation again, I'd try it again. Unfortunately I didn't have good angle and the pitcher made a nice play."
Taylor couldn't remember the last grand slam he hit. He said he learned he was starting Friday night an hour before batting practice and knows against right-hander Archie Bradley, Chase Utley will probably be back in the starting lineup Saturday.
"I try to come to the field every day expecting to play," he said. "Every day I prepare mentally I'm expecting to start. I understand the role. The whole team is swinging really well. Chase had six hits like a few games ago. I'll just come here expecting to play, like I always do."
Taylor was acquired June 19 from the Mariners in a trade for former top pitching prospect Zach Lee. Taylor went from Seattle's Triple-A club to the Dodgers affiliate at Oklahoma City, where he played three games before getting called up and has taken the playing time that would have gone to the injured Enrique Hernández.
He sees his Friday night outburst as the ultimate ice breaker.
"Mentally, it's big to have a game like this, especially early in my season as far as the big leagues," he said. "The biggest thing is for my confidence and to help me relax and play free like I did at Triple-A."
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.