Dee Gordon soared, the bullpen wobbled, the game went – naturally – to extra innings, and then came the unexpected hero.
Slumping Carl Crawford and his .185 batting average had been benched against a right-handed starter Saturday, but he became a late-inning replacement.
And then in his first at-bat, he hit a two-run homer off ex-Dodger Carlos Marmol in the 11th inning to lead the Dodgers to a 9-7 victory over Miami at Marlins Park.
It was the first home run of the season for Crawford, who carried a 4-for-47 slump to the plate. Marmol threw him three consecutive fastballs, the last of which Crawford lined over the right-field wall.
The Dodgers broke out to a 6-1 lead, but with closer Kenley Jansen never warming up, relievers Brian Wilson and Chris Perez gave the lead back.
Gordon continued to play second – his latest position -- well, and went as berserk offensively as that crazy Miami thing beyond the Marlins’ outfield wall. He had five hits in six at-bats, drove in two runs, scored two runs and stole three bases.
Yasiel Puig added a monstrous three-run home run and left-hander Paul Maholm gave the Dodgers six solid innings.
After Matt Kemp doubled and scored the Dodgers’ first run on a Juan Uribe single in the second, Gordon singled and scored on a Hanley Ramirez base hit in the third.
In the fourth, after singles by Uribe and Miguel Olivo and a Maholm sacrifice bunt, Gordon lined a run-scoring hit. After Gordon stole second, Puig unloaded his home run to center. He sort of knew he got it, less flipping his bat after the swing than throwing it for a new Olympic record.
In the sixth, Olivo again singled and was moved to second on a Maholm sacrifice bunt. Gordon slapped a single to center to score Olivo.
Maholm was charged with three runs in his six innings, allowing eight hits and two walks, with three strikeouts.
He turned over a 7-3 lead in the seventh to Wilson, who suddenly reverted back to his struggling form. Wilson had not allowed a run and struck out four in his last two innings, but quickly got into trouble Saturday.
He hit Adeiny Hechavarria with a pitch and then walked Giancarlo Stanton. Center fielder Marcell Ozuna then fouled off five pitches before unleashing a three-homer to pull the Marlins within one.
Chris Withrow added some suspense when he loaded the bases on a double and a pair of walks in the eighth to bring up Stanton. He must like a challenge, as he struck out the slugger on three pitches.
The Dodgers did not call on Jansen in the ninth, instead going to Perez, which proved a problem.
Jansen is one of the Dodgers overcoming the flu, and he had labored in throwing 34 pitches to save the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader. But he did not pitch Friday and told broadcaster Rick Monday during Saturday’s pregame show he felt fine, just that his legs had felt heavy in Minnesota.
Perez came in hoping to earn his second save, but he loaded the bases with one out on a double, a walk and a single. He then walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia to force in the tying run. Perez kept it a tie, however, when he struck out Christian Yelich and got Derek Dietrich to fly out.
Order in the bullpen was finally restored by Brandon League (1-1), the Dodgers’ beleaguered former closer, who threw the final two scoreless innings to earn the win.
The victory snapped a streak of seven consecutive home wins for the Marlins. The Dodgers are now 3-5 in extra-inning games.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times