'That's baseball': Dodgers' streak halted by atypical walk-off
PHILADELPHIA -- "That's baseball."
After running the gamut of emotions from a season-long five-game losing streak followed immediately by a season-best seven-game winning streak, the Dodgers experienced all the highs and lows in the span of an inning in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Los Angeles twice came within one out of completing a sweep -- and extending its winning streak to eight games in the process -- but a wild 10th inning instead snapped the Dodgers' run at seven games. Clinging to a one-run lead following Trea Turner's go-ahead single in the top of the 10th, reliever Evan Phillips found himself in a two-on, two-out jam when he forced Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm to chop a ball to the right side of the infield for what figured to be a game-ending groundout.
But with temperatures sitting in the 90s for a second straight day in Philadelphia, the ball kicked up off the hard infield and squirted through Max Muncy's legs. The second baseman quickly whirled around and gathered the ball, but his throw to the plate was too late to get the speedy Roman Quinn, who raced home from second base to score the winning run.
"I just didn’t give myself enough space knowing that the ball is gonna bounce a little higher on a drier field," said Muncy, still sitting at his locker in full uniform nearly a half-hour after the final out. "The ball hopped on me. I just didn’t make the play."
Muncy's miscue came after he also missed out on a chance to add on in the top half of the inning. Though Turner helped the Dodgers reclaim the lead with a go-ahead RBI single, Muncy had an opportunity to blow it open two batters later when he stepped in with the bases loaded and only one out.
Instead, he went down swinging to cap an 0-for-4 day at the dish. An All-Star just a season ago -- one in which he spent much of the year in the NL MVP conversation -- Muncy is hitting just .156 with a .610 OPS this season. He hasn't homered in his last 16 games, going 8-for-49 (.163) with just two RBIs during that stretch.
"It's one of those things where I go out there every day and I try to at least throw something in the bucket -- try to do whatever I can to help the team win, whether it's get a walk, get on base, make a play," Muncy said. "Unfortunately today, I took something out of it and I didn't add to helping the team win. That's my own fault and I've got to own up to that."
Of course, it's not all on Muncy.
The Dodgers were also within one out of winning the game in the ninth before Nick Castellanos roped a two-out double and -- after an intentional walk to Kyle Schwarber -- scored on a Jean Segura single off Yency Almonte, who got the first crack at the save with Craig Kimbrel and Daniel Hudson both unavailable.
"We just didn't make a pitch here, didn't make a play there," manager Dave Roberts said. "That's baseball."
While that may be the ugly side of baseball, the silver lining is that the next chance comes quickly -- especially with the Dodgers in the midst of playing 31 games in 30 days.
"That's baseball," Muncy echoed. "Once one day happens, whether it was good or bad, once the uniform comes off, you've got to forget about it and move on to the next day."
Though the series certainly didn’t end the way the Dodgers had hoped, there was still plenty to like on Sunday for a team that sits atop the NL at 27-13 – and remains on pace to win 109 games.
Tony Gonsolin tossed six innings of one-run ball, marking the first time in his career he’s completed six innings in consecutive outings. Mookie Betts homered for the second time in as many days – and over his last 10 games, is hitting .357 with 11 extra-base hits, 11 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Even in that fateful 10th inning, Justin Turner made a must-see play when he deked J.T. Realmuto into thinking a throw had gotten past him before tagging a confused Realmuto for the first out of the inning.
Three batters later, it was Muncy and the Dodgers who were left stunned.
"The best teams got to kind of ride those ebbs and flows and just continue to focus on playing good ball,” Roberts said. “We've got to turn the page on this series, realize it was a positive series and try to win tomorrow."