LOS ANGELES -- Cody Bellinger drew a bases-loaded walk with none out in the 10th inning to give the Dodgers a 5-4 walk-off win against the Royals on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.The Dodgers (60-29), who have won 25 of their last 29 games, are the first team to 60 wins
LOS ANGELES -- Cody Bellinger drew a bases-loaded walk with none out in the 10th inning to give the Dodgers a 5-4 walk-off win against the Royals on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers (60-29), who have won 25 of their last 29 games, are the first team to 60 wins this season. They reached the mark before the All-Star break for the first time since 1974, while also becoming the third team in franchise history to get to 60 wins prior to the end of the first half of the season since 1933 -- joining the 1973 and '74 teams.
"I think any team playing well, there's that 'uh oh' moment for teams that are opposing," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about late-game situations. "For us, the Royals are a very good ballclub, they were playing well coming into this series. There's a little bit that, but more so for our guys the confidence that as long as there's still outs left to be had, we're going to find a way to play the end."
Royals reliever Scott Alexander walked Chase Utley to lead off the 10th, and after Utley stole second, Alexander walked Corey Seager and Justin Turner to load the bases. Closer Kelvin Herrera replaced Alexander and walked Bellinger to force in the winning run.
Bellinger was 2-for-3 and forced a 10th inning with his tying homer in the eighth off reliever Joakim Soria. That homer came after Salvador Perez went deep to give the Royals a short-lived 4-3 lead in the top of the frame.
"The kid's got no heartbeat," Seager said. "Calm, cool and collective under pressure. He didn't get out of his game and didn't try to do too much, and took his walk."
The Dodgers raced out to an early lead against Royals starter Ian Kennedy, who gave up seven hits and three runs, scattered across six innings. But he left a curveball hanging over the plate to Pederson, who homered for a 2-0 lead in the second before Turner added a sacrifice fly in the third to make it 3-0.
Dodgers right-hander Brandon McCarthy tossed six innings, allowing six hits and two runs in his first start off the disabled list. He cruised through four innings, but allowed some traffic in the fifth as he struggled with his command, throwing a wild pitch to score a run and issuing a walk. However, after a chat with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, McCarthy got out of the inning.
Hard-throwing righty Brandon Morrow replaced McCarthy for the seventh, but he allowed a tying hit to Whit Merrifield and loaded the bases, prompting Pedro Baez to come out of the bullpen and extinguish the Royals' threat, striking out Lorenzo Cain and inducing a groundout by Eric Hosmer.
"He just throws hard," Hosmer said of Baez. "You've just got to be ready to hit anything in the zone. We got in a couple good counts, just couldn't do damage on them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Saving runs: Pederson's bat gained attention in the second with his two-run shot, but his arm garnered notice also. Pederson saved a run by nailing Jorge Bonifacio at the plate, after Hosmer ripped a single to center. According to Statcast™, Pederson's 237-foot throw home at 93.7 mph ranks as his hardest of the season.
Roaring back: After the Dodgers raced out to a 3-0 advantage in third, the Royals chipped away by posting runs in the fourth and the fifth. The Dodgers sent out Morrow for the seventh, where the Royals jumped on the righty, racking up three hits to tie the ballgame. Baez escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, but Perez belted a leadoff homer to straightaway center in the eighth.
"If anything it's a message. When you're playing teams like this, teams this good, you just can't make mistakes, you can't give away opportunities. I think we definitely learned from that today. It's a good team over there, they're playing really well, [and] we can definitely see why." -- Hosmer
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers have a +160 run differential, which sits best in Major League history heading into the All-Star break, and surpasses the 1944 St. Louis Cardinals' mark of +159 for best run differential in the National League before the break.
Cain was ejected in the seventh inning after arguing with home-plate umpire Bill Miller. Cain still appeared frustrated by a called third strike thrown by reliever Baez with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. More >
Royals: Left-hander Danny Duffy will start the series finale against the Dodgers on Sunday at 3:10 p.m. CT at Chavez Ravine. Duffy will be making his second start since coming off the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle.
Dodgers: Lefty ace Clayton Kershaw will take the mound against the Royals on Sunday at 1:10 PT in the finale before the All-Star break. Kershaw is 9-0 in his last 12 starts with a 1.98 ERA, and he has not allowed a run in his last three starts.
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Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles and covered the Dodgers on Saturday.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles and covered the Royals on Saturday.