LOS ANGELES -- There was almost no indication of what was to come, barely a hint that the baseball Earth was about to move.The Dodgers entered the ninth inning Saturday night trailing the Phillies, 5-2, and owners of exactly five hits.And then lightning struck Los Angeles -- three times.Three consecutive
LOS ANGELES -- There was almost no indication of what was to come, barely a hint that the baseball Earth was about to move.
The Dodgers entered the ninth inning Saturday night trailing the Phillies, 5-2, and owners of exactly five hits.
And then lightning struck Los Angeles -- three times.
Three consecutive home runs, sudden blows that left the Phillies reeling and the game tied. All to ultimately be decided on a tricky bouncer that deflected off third baseman Maikel Franco's glove, redirecting it just enough to get past shortstop Freddy Galvis as the Dodgers' Austin Barnes ran home for the 6-5 win.
"What's amazing is we hit five homers tonight and you see a 22-hopper through the infield wins it for us," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
The Dodgers already owned two solo home runs entering the ninth, Alvin Toles hitting one in the first and then prized rookie Cody Bellinger hitting his first Major League homer in the seventh.
All of it was a mere prelude for what was about to unfold in the ninth.
Yasiel Puig led off against Philadelphia closer Hector Neris. Puig, hitless in his first three at-bats and not always a hitter to work the count, found himself quickly down 0-2 to Neris.
But Puig worked the count full, fouling off two pitches, before crushing his fourth home run of the season half-way up the left-field pavilion.
Up came the 21-year-old Bellinger, who destroyed the first pitch he saw, hitting the right-field foul pole half-way up.
"I don't even remember what I did," Bellinger said. "I just saw a white ball at my chest, so I swung."
Next up was Justin Turner, who had been given the night off. He was hitting .381 but had yet to hit a home run this season.
By now, though, the Dodgers were starting to believe.
"It happened pretty quickly when Cody went deep again," Roberts said. "I was looking at the foul pole doing the Carlton Fisk trying to get it to stay fair. Once we got that one, I knew we had a really good chance."
Turner the pinch-hitter crushed a third consecutive home run and Dodger Stadium was rocking.
It was the first time the Dodgers had hit back-to-back-to-back home runs since Aug. 12, 2012. The Dodgers had not hit a single home run in the ninth inning or later all season.
One out later, Barnes singled and that finally ended the night for Neris. Joely Rodriguez took over and got Toles to fly out, but Corey Seager singled with Barnes stopping at second.
Up stepped Adrian Gonzalez, who said he had never faced Rodriguez before. He fell behind 1-2 in the count, fouled off the next three pitches and then sent his chopper toward Franco.
"It was a down and away fastball I was just trying to put in play," Gonzalez said. "One hop was close to the plate and the second hop was close to him, so it just had that like that top spin. The in-between hop is really tough for infielders."
The ball went past Galvis and into left field as Barnes scored and the Dodgers rushed the field.
"I don't know what I just saw," Bellinger said. "I've never been a part of anything like this. It was a crazy moment."
The Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs in the ninth to tie the Padres in 2006, winning on a Nomar Garciaparra home run in the 11th. In the dugout that night for the Padres was Gonzalez.
"It's better to be on this side of this one," Gonzalez said.
Steve Dilbeck is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.