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'Don't leave early!' Dodgers get 9th walk-off win

@kengurnick
August 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Starting pitcher Kenta Maeda allowed five runs and didn’t get out of the third inning, the bullpen followed by allowing five more runs and Padres cleanup hitter Eric Hosmer had five RBIs. But it still ended in an infield dogpile with the Dodgers celebrating an 11-10 walk-off

LOS ANGELES -- Starting pitcher Kenta Maeda allowed five runs and didn’t get out of the third inning, the bullpen followed by allowing five more runs and Padres cleanup hitter Eric Hosmer had five RBIs.

But it still ended in an infield dogpile with the Dodgers celebrating an 11-10 walk-off win on Sunday, Max Muncy deciding it with a two-run, one-out double in the ninth inning off Padres closer Kirby Yates and Alex Verdugo seizing the occasion to lend advice to Dodger Stadium fans.

Box score

“For everybody watching, don’t leave early,” Verdugo said after the Dodgers’ ninth walk-off win of the year and the first regular-season walk-off hit of Muncy’s career to go along with his 18th-inning homer to end Game 3 of the 2018 World Series.

“We can do something special at any given moment. If we’re down by three, four, as long as there’s a ninth inning, our guys can put up a crooked number real quick. Doesn’t matter what the score is after eight innings, we’ve proved the ninth can be a challenge.”

Verdugo scored from second base and Corey Seager from first on the double by Muncy, who homered in the second inning, doubled and scored in the fourth and singled and scored in the fifth.

The winning rally started with a Joc Pederson double, snapping an 0-for-24 slide. He was thrown out at third on Verdugo’s fielder’s choice grounder to first baseman Hosmer, then second baseman Luis Urias booted Seager’s potential game-ending double-play grounder to bring up Muncy.

“We’ve seen Max do it many times,” said manager Dave Roberts. “He has a great way of staying in the strike zone. We showed a lot of resilience there.”

It was the Dodgers’ 32nd comeback win, but only their third when trailing after eight innings. The walk-off hits have been spread around -- two for Cody Bellinger, two for Verdugo, two for Will Smith and one each for Muncy, Pederson and Matt Beaty.

Russell Martin and A.J. Pollock (returning from a tight groin) also homered for the Dodgers, who scored twice against flamethrower Andres Munoz in the eighth inning and twice in the ninth off Yates, who seemed to be sideways with catcher Francisco Mejia, especially during the final at-bat.

“It didn’t seem like they had the same set of signs or couldn’t get on the same page,” said Muncy, who fouled off a pair of 3-2 splitters before lacing a fastball into the right-field corner. “Maybe kind of froze him. Seemed to be taking a lot of time.”

Added Verdugo: “When you see their closer taking so much time between pitches and being methodical and calling out the guys to have meetings, for us as hitters -- all right, he’s worried, doesn’t want to make a mistake.”

The Padres’ bullpen blew a pair of three-run leads. It was only the third blown save of the season for Yates, an All-Star with 32 saves.

“We were just trying to get on the same page, make sure we were doing the right thing,” said Yates. “We got it figured out, and then I didn't make a pitch.”

Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez pitched the ninth inning with two strikeouts for the win.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.