LOS ANGELES -- Trent Grisham lined a two-run single off Brusdar Graterol in the seventh inning, giving the Padres a commanding 9-5 lead over the Dodgers. The crowd of 45,366 in attendance at Dodger Stadium grew restless and let their displeasure be heard.
The Dodgers had committed two errors, Max Scherzer looked mortal for a second consecutive start and their hopes of winning a ninth consecutive National League West title were disappearing right in front of their eyes.
But then the improbable happened. The Dodgers hit four homers in the eighth inning, including Corey Seager’s two-out, two-run homer to get past the Padres, 11-9, on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. The last time the Dodgers hit four homers in an inning was Sept. 5, 2016, against the D-backs.
With the win, the Dodgers stayed two games behind the Giants, who beat the D-backs on Wednesday, in the NL West race with four games remaining in the regular season. The Giants’ magic number to win the division is down to three.
“That’s a huge morale win for us,” Seager said. “We’re still trying to accomplish a goal and we’re still fighting for that and to be able to show that grit, that drive and that will to come back there and win that game, that’s huge for us moving forward.”
When Mookie Betts stepped up to the plate to lead off the bottom of the seventh, trailing by four, the Dodgers had a six percent chance of winning the game, according to Baseball Savant’s win probability metric.
After Betts led off the inning with a solo homer to cut the deficit to 3, those odds increased to 12 percent. Following the homer, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said bench coach Bob Geren turned to him and told him the Dodgers were going to win the game.
But after the next three batters were retired, the Dodgers had just six outs to work with in order to complete the improbable comeback. In the eighth, the Dodgers got the four biggest swings of their season, completing Geren’s prediction.
Max Muncy and AJ Pollock opened the eighth by smashing back-to-back homers. The deficit was down to one, turning the earlier boos into deafening “Let’s Go Dodgers” chants.
Then, Cody Bellinger, who has had a nightmare season and was only in the game because Gavin Lux left with an injury, erased some demons by turning on an Emilio Pagán 96 mph four-seam fastball, sending it over the right-field wall. Just like that, it was a tie game.
“It felt amazing. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t,” Bellinger said. “That was the craziest inning. Maybe the craziest I’ve been a part of.”
That crazy inning got even more wild as Seager hit a two-run homer to help the Dodgers take the lead. Seager let out a roar as he stepped on first base and used the adrenaline to race around the bases. It was pandemonium inside the home dugout.
“Just a ton [of emotion],” Seager said. “To hit that many homers, then a double, then another homer, score five runs to go up by two, that’s a whirlwind in a short period of time.”
The comeback helped the Dodgers bail out Scherzer, who has been outstanding since joining the Dodgers, but has allowed five earned runs in back-to-back starts for the first time since May 21-27, 2014, a span of 222 regular season starts. The three-time Cy Young Award winner didn’t have his best command, recording just nine swings-and-misses, the second-fewest in a start this season.
“He didn’t have good command,” Roberts said. “It’s part of the game. He’s picked us up many times over and we picked him up. He was one of the happiest guys after we won the ballgame.”
Before the game, Roberts repeatedly said he wanted to see better production out of his lineup before the end of the regular season. On paper, it’s the most talented lineup in baseball. But despite winning 102 games, the offense has been inconsistent for most of the season.
The Dodgers responded by showing glimpses of how intoxicating their lineup could be when it all clicks.
“I don’t think anyone expects that, to be honest, but that’s the kind of talent that we have,” Bellinger said. “Our lineup is really deep and it was a crazy inning. Not many words to describe it. It’s good to be a part of it and it’s a huge momentum shift right there.”