From Down to Their Last Strike to a Sweep for the Dodgers
Top of the ninth inning the Dodgers were down to their final strike trailing the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2. Yasiel Puig was standing on first base having been walked by Casey Janssen to lead off the ninth inning. Both Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez couldn't move Puig at all, both striking out.
It was a 1-2 count on Andre Ethier. Jannsen threw a cutter down the heart of the plate, and Ethier hit a sinking line drive to center field. With two outs, Puig was running on the play.
For a split second, it looked like center fielder Colby Rasmus would be able to catch up to Ethier's line drive. As he kept charging in to the infield, the ball bounced right in front of him. In any normal park that's a single and Puig would be standing on third base.
This is Toronto where they have AstroTurf. The ball bounced straight over Rasmus' head behind him, Puig kept running to the plate and Ethier arrived safely on second base.
The Dodgers coming into the game were 1-39 when they trailed after eight innings. This Dodger team isn't one of those teams from earlier in the season when they racked up that record.
This is a Dodger team that used Brandon League for two innings and survived. In fact he replaced a surprisingly ineffective Ronald Belisario in the eighth inning. Of course Belisario wasn't helped by the defense, a throwing error by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez on Joey Bautista's grounder allowing Rajai Davis to score the go-ahead run.
League, in fact, was also stricken by third baseman Juan Uribe's throwing error on J.P. Arencibia's grounder to lead off the ninth. But he was able to pitch out of that error.
This is a Dodger team that threatened to use Carlos Marmol for a second straight game. I'm pretty sure manager Don Mattingly was tempting fate with that one, trying to skate by with using League and Marmol on consecutive games. I'm sure the baseball gods would have smote down from above, even in Canada.
But it didn't come to that. Against reliever Juan Perez it was Mark Ellis who provided the heroics, a two-run homer to the second deck in left field. But they didn't stop there. Yasiel Puig hit a solo shot, his first home run since July 2. Adrian Gonzalez walked and Hanley Ramirez doubled, then Andre Ethier's double cleared the bases.
This is a Dodger team that had to put Matt Kemp back on the disbled list and brought up Ted Lilly to fill out the bullpen. But they headed out of Toronto with an 8-3 victory.
They left Canada with a six-game sweep on their roadtrip, their first since 2010. They have won 10 straight road games, the first time they did that since 1955. They have won 23 of their last 28. And most importantly, they remain in first place in the NL West.
It's unknown if former AEG bigwig and current Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke was at Rogers Centre to watch the Dodgers dismantle the awful Blue Jays. Oh nevermind. Toronto isn't a baseball town anyhow.
Dodgers scorecard: (click to embiggen)
Blue Jays scorecard: (click to embiggen)