LOS ANGELES -- After another ridiculously clutch moment, this one pulling out a 10-6 win over the Marlins that almost got away, rookie Matt Beaty finally found a moment he wasn’t prepared for: a curtain call.
But if he keeps this up, he’ll get more practice. His tiebreaking three-run home run shortly after entering the game in the eighth inning took big segments of his club off the hook.
Like the bullpen, which blew a six-run lead and let a Clayton Kershaw victory evaporate. Like the suddenly porous Dodgers defense, which added three more errors to its soaring total. And even manager Dave Roberts, who removed MVP candidate Cody Bellinger with a comfortable lead and two innings to play to parlay a planned day off on Sunday and scheduled team day off on Monday. Fortunately for Roberts, he removed Bellinger in a double-switch that inserted Beaty, who launched a 1-1 changeup from Elieser Hernandez that won the game.
Beaty has been shuttled three times from Triple-A Oklahoma City to the Dodgers, most recently on Monday. Since then, he’s 6-for-7 with three homers, two doubles and seven RBIs. He has five homers and 24 RBIs in 115 at-bats with the Dodgers. That’s more productive than he’s been in the Minor Leagues this year in more at-bats – three homers, 17 RBIs.
“For a guy that doesn’t have a lot of service time, you just see it, he wants to be that guy,” said Roberts. “He isn’t afraid of that moment. The little time we’ve seen him, he’s just a pro. The pulse is pretty special.”
While Beaty excels at drama, his theatrics are strictly old school. Beaty barely flicked his wrist as the bat slid out of his hand, he toured the bases without a smile and had no planned dance moves when he reached the dugout.
“That’s about as much as I’ll do right there. I don’t do much bat flips and things like that,” said Beaty.
The sold-out crowd, which booed the Dodgers in the five-run top of the eighth inning, had jumped back on the bandwagon and teammates encouraged Beaty to oblige. Max Muncy actually pushed Beaty up the dugout steps for the first curtain call of his career.
“I’ve never had a curtain call. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first,” said Beaty. “Then I thought, this is pretty cool.”
Beaty was the ultimate diversionary tactic for the Dodgers, who saw the bullpen cough up another big lead, this one so painful in its cost that even Kershaw acknowledged being disappointed he wasn’t allowed to stay in the game.
Roberts defended removing Kershaw at 97 pitches.
“Where we’re at, for me, it makes no sense to push him,” Roberts said, an oblique reference to the team’s 14 1/2-game division lead. “I’ve been very consistent with that for four years. But I appreciate him wanting to go back out there.”
After Kershaw pitched a 10-strikeout, two-hit shutout for six innings, reliever J.T. Chargois allowed a solo home run to Starlin Castro in the seventh inning. Caleb Ferguson didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced in the eighth and all three of Ferguson’s inherited runners scored while Yimi Garcia was on the mound. Two more runs scored when second baseman Enrique Hernandez’s attempt at turning a double play became a throwing error that allowed the tying two runs to score in the five-run eighth.
In addition to the error on Hernandez, Corey Seager and Muncy drew errors. The Dodgers have committed 16 errors in their last eight games and the last errorless game was July 12.
“I can’t recall the last time we played a clean game,” said Roberts. “It’s easy to point the finger at one person or one group, and I don’t think like that. A lot of this talk has been about specifically the relievers. We’ve got to play defense, too. We’ve got to make plays for these guys, as well. These are our guys and I’m going to keep using them.”
Roberts said he wanted to stay away from using Joe Kelly, who hasn’t pitched since Thursday after pitching four times in six days.
“Where we’re at, we’re trying to win every game, but you’re also trying to use your whole roster,” he said. “Acting like every single game is Game 7 is not responsible.”